Friday, December 30, 2005

Music City Miracle?

Minnesota (7-4, 4-4) vs Virginia (6-5, 3-5) Nashville, TN 12:00 ET ESPN

Line: Minn –3.5; Total: 58.5
ATS: Minn 7-4; UVA 5-6
O/U: Minn 7-4; UVA 3-7-1
Games over 58: Minn- 7
Games over 58: UVA- 2

Minnesota is playing in its third Music City Bowl in four years, but this time they are facing an ACC opponent. The Gophers won both of their contests in 2002 and 2004 in this game. Virginia thought they might have been headed to the Emerald Bowl after two straight losses to end the season, but the Music City Bowl felt they were a good fit in what next year will be an ACC/SEC matchup. Minnesota brings in one of the best rushing attacks in the nation with Lawrence Maroney leading the way.

Key Players:
QB Brian Cupito (226.7 ypg, 15 TD, 58.7%)
RB Lawrence Maroney (255 Rush, 135.5 ypg, 10 TD)
WR Logan Payne (37 Rec, 48.1 ypg, 2TD

QB Marques Hagans (194 ypg, 12TD, 25.8 Rushing ypg)
RB Wali Lundy (51.5 ypg, 8 TD)
WR Deyon Williams (67.9 ypg, 6TD)

Minnesota Offense:
10th in Scoring Offense (36.2)
2nd in Rushing Offense (279.9)
5th in Total Offense (497.8)

Virginia Defense:
34th in Scoring Defense (22.5)
59th in Rushing Defense (146.9)
54th in Total Defense (368.0)

Minnesota Defense:
77th in Scoring Defense (28.5)
71st in Rushing Defense (160.4)
87th in Total Defense (407.6)

Virginia Offense:
62nd in Scoring Offense (26.0)
56th in Rushing Offense (146.2)
69th in Total Offense (357.0)

Minnesota: -0.18 per game
Virginia: +0.36 per game

Record vs Bowl Teams:
Minnesota: 2-4
Virginia: 2-3

Minnesota Best Win: @ Michigan (7-4) 23-20
Minnesota Worst Loss: @ Iowa (7-4) 28-52

Virginia Best Win: vs FSU (8-4) 26-21
Virginia Worst Loss: @ Maryland (5-6) 33-45

This game should be one of the better games this bowl season. Virginia could be compared as a poor man’s Ohio State on offense with their dual threat QB and balanced attack. Virginia will most likely stick eight players in the box to try and slow Maroney, but teams have been doing this all year. Virginia has faced teams like Boston College who have similar size up front, but not the caliber of back. One has to wonder in Minnesota is feeling a little down after being thrashed by Iowa in the last game of the season and then coming to a bowl three out of four years. The Cavaliers are probably thrilled they stayed on the east coast, but they did lose both offensive and defensive coordinators to head coaching jobs. Minnesota has been the more consistent team all year, so they should win…..but close.
Minnesota 30 Virginia 27

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