Minnesota vs. Illinois College Footbal Picks: Bet on a Much Better Gopher Squad

Joe Catalano

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 5:46 PM GMT

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015 5:46 PM GMT

The Illinois Fighting Illini (5-5, 2-4) will visit the Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-6, 1-5) there's definitely something at stake in this game. Check our college football pick in this Big-10 game.

Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, November 21st at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to 5Dimes, Minnesota is a 4.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 47. Minnesota could be missing two key defensive lineman in this game and the odds appear to be very appealing from an Illinois bettor's standpoint, but we shall see.

Their level of difficulty where their opponent is concerned has been brutal as Illinois is just 1-4 in their last 5 games. This is a game that's winnable and the Fighting Illini are in a must win situation. That said, Minnesota has faced the best and has just come up short. They might have an even greater argument.

 

Wes Lunt
Lunt has the running game to support him and an inconsistent, but talented receiver in Geronimo Allison as his main target and he needs to make it work this week. Thus far, Lunt has been a mere average quarterback at this level, but the one major positive to his game is that he knows when to eat the ball and not get careless. 

 

Ke'Shawn Vaughn Appears To Be Out
For the season, Lunt has thrown for 2241 yards with 12 TD and 4 INT. Lunt will be looking for the comboination of Ke'Shawn Vaughn (661 yards, 6 TD's) and Josh Ferguson (563 yards 3 TD).

Ferguson also catches the football out of the backfield and has 2 receiving touchdowns to his credit. As of Wednesday, Vaughn's status is uncertain, but it doesn't look good as all levels of football have been "tackling" concussions. Look for Josh Ferguson to be the lead back and get all of the work that he's capable of. Expect Ferguson to play well in a huge game.

 

Geronimo Allison
This will also mean more opportunities for the receiving core and Geronimo Allison must come up big in a game like this. For the season, Allison has 57 receptions for 794 yards and 3 TD's. Allison hasn't scored in his last 4 games and look for him to shake off a poor 1 catch, 30 yard performance against Ohio State as this is receiver with 3 -100 yard games to his credit this season. Look for Lunt to have more time to stand in the pocket and this will only benefit his receivers.

 

Underestimated?
We look at Minnesota and this is a team that has played the best teams in their last 3 games and gave each team a run for their money with a 29-26 loss to Jim Harbaugh's Michigan Wolverines, a 28-14 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes, and a 40-35 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes. Those are 3 tough pills to swallow as 2 of the teams were ranked in the top 5 in the nation.

 

Mitch Leidner
Minnesota is somewhat similar to the Illini offensively as there are no superstars, but starting quarterback, Mitch Leidner (2167, 11 TD, 7 INT) has many options offensively.

If you look at Leidner's past 3 performances, he played rather well against some of the top teams in the nation. Against the Buckeyes, Leidner threw for 281 yards with 2 TD and 1 INT and against Michigan's "tough" defense, he threw for over 300 yards.

Bowl committees could take a close look at Minnesota's schedule and if Leidner and the Golden Gophers put up a monster performance here and a win next week, a bowl appearance isn't out of the question.

One player to keep an eye on is running back Shannon Brooks. The freshman has only played 7 games this season, played well last week, and has 462 yards and 4 TD's on the season in limited work duty.

Illinois needs this game, but so does Minnesota and this is a drop in opponent for the Golden Gophers at home. Lay the points as your college football pick.

College Football Pick: Minnesota -4.5 at 5Dimes

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