West Virginia vs


at Phoenix
Tue, Dec 28
7:15 PM Pacific
Rotation: 245
Odds: Minnesota -5, Total: 45

Game Analysis

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Minnesota (-5)  25   West Virginia  19

West Virginia is only a few points better than an average FBS team and Minnesota is clearly the better team. However, the Mountaineers apply to a 71-14-1 ATS bowl situation that tempers my enthusiasm for backing the Gophers here despite being the better team in every phase of the game.

West Virginia’s offense was 0.1 yards per play worse than average this season, averaging just 5.5 yppl against FBS teams that would allow 5.6 yppl to an average team and the Mountaineers come into this game a bit worse without leading rusher Leddie Brown, who thinks he’s bound for the NFL despite averaging just 4.8 ypr this season, which is worse than average. However, it is better than backup Tony Mathis, who averaged only 4.3 ypr. It’s possible that backup quarterback Garrett Greene, who is a good runner, could see more playing time than normal to try to get the ground game going (Greene ran for 235 yards on 32 runs in FBS games this season).

Minnesota’s defense yielded just 18.3 points and 286 yards per game at 5.0 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.7 yppl against an average defensive team and West Virginia is projected to gain just 284 yards at 4.9 yppl in this game even with the perfect dome conditions.

Minnesota’s offense picked up considerably after being embarrassed in an upset loss to Bowling Green as a 30-point favorite in which they managed just 10 points and 241 total yards at 4.2 yppl. Even with that outlier, the Gophers managed to rate at 0.2 yppl better than average for the season but they have the potential to be better if they decide to throw the ball more often. The Gophers are 0.1 yards per rushing play better than average running the ball, with each back that forced into duty due to injuries by the back ahead of him performing at the same mediocre level. Quarterback Tanner Morgan, however, has been 1.1 yards per pass play better than average for the season (7.0 yppp against teams that would allow 5.9 yppp) despite averaging only 1.3 yppp in that game against Bowling Green and being without top receiver Chris Autman-Bell for 2 games. West Virginia defends the run well and teams tend to throw the ball more in domed stadiums (or calm weather), so I expect Morgan to throw it more than he usually does (Minny runs it 67% of the time), which will benefit their offense.

West Virginia’s defense is only 0.3 yppl better than average overall, and Minnesota is projected to gain 358 yards at 5.8 yppl in this game.

Aside from being the better team on offense and defense, the Gophers are also better in special teams and are less likely to turn the ball over. It all adds up to a predicted margin of 9.6 points (and 45.0 total points), but that 71-14-1 ATS situation that applies to West Virginia will keep me off this game.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • West Virginia
  • Minnesota


  • Run Plays 30.2 30.6
  • Run Yards 144.9 154.7
  • YPRP 4.8 5.0


  • Pass Comp 22.9 19.7
  • Pass Att 34.8 30.4
  • Comp % 65.8% 65.0%
  • Pass Yards 249.2 234.0
  • Sacks 2.7 2.3
  • Sack Yards 21.0 14.7
  • Sack % 7.3% 7.0%
  • Pass Plays 37.6 32.6
  • Net Pass Yards 228.2 219.3
  • YPPP 6.1 6.7


  • Total Plays 67.7 63.3
  • Total Yards 373.1 374.0
  • YPPL 5.5 5.9


  • Int 1.0 0.7
  • Int % 2.9% 2.4%
  • Fumbles 0.6 0.3
  • Turnovers 1.6 1.0
  • Points 26.8 24.3
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