The Guaranteed Rate Bowl kicks off Tuesday, December 28, between the West Virginia Mountaineers (6-6) and the Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4).
P.J. Fleck led Minnesota to a winning record for the third time in his tenure. Defense was the recipe for success, as the Golden Gophers held opposing offenses to a measly 18.2 points per game. Fielding a top-10 scoring defense against an offense like West Virginia’s means that we shouldn’t expect to see an overwhelming amount of points in this bowl game. The Mountaineers finished 80th in scoring offense at 26.8 points per game while mustering 5.5 yards per play. They bring nothing to the table that the Golden Gophers haven’t seen already.
Minnesota star running back Mohamed Ibrahim was lost to injury early in the season, and then back up, Trey Potts also was lost for the year. Despite being dangerously thin at the running back position, the Gophers still look to keep the ball on the ground with Ky Thomas and Mar’Keise Irving. Quarterback Tanner Morgan isn’t asked to do much, finishing the year with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
This has the makings of a low-scoring game. One side has the better defense and the better rushing attack, and that’s Minnesota. Despite featuring a solid running back in Leddie Brown, West Virginia still mustered only 3.6 yards per carry on the season. That won’t cut it against a Minnesota defense surrendering only 3.5 yards per carry.
All CFB game predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid
Sign up for Fanduel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk-free for up to $1,000!