Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Saturday, Sept. 21 at noon ET (ESPN2)
It'll be the Mitch Liedner vs. David Fales show on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium, at least that should be how this one is billed, because it appears that in order for either of these two teams to win football games, their quarterbacks have to be the catalyst for victory.
This game will be very interesting because Fales and Liedner are so different as quarterbacks. Fales is more of the pocket-passer type, completing 60 percent of his passes for 441 yards in two games. Last week against a tough Stanford defense, he was 29-of-43 for 216 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
So, clearly he can get it done through the air against a very good defense. Problem for Minnesota is they have given up more than 200 yards through the air on average and did so against three subpar offensive football teams (UNLV, New Mexico State and Western Illinois).
The only way to keep Fales and the passing attack off the field is to play into the strength of Philip Nelson and the rest of the Gophers offense, and that's running the football.
Nelson leads the team with 221 yards rushing but won't be playing on Saturday due to a hamstring injury, and Roderick Williams, Jr. is barely behind him with 217 yards of his own. As a team, they are inside the top 40 in rushing offense, and that could be their advantage in this one.
If Minnesota can run the football and play solid enough pass defense, something we haven't seen a lot of thanks to three crappy opponents so far, then the Gophers will get it done in "The Bank."
If not, expect Fales to put up over 300 yards passing and have at least a TD, and San Jose State shows why they are going to be a tough out in the Mountain West Conference race.
Prediction: San Jose State 34, Minnesota 27