Minnesota (2-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at Northwestern (1-2, 0-1), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Line: Minnesota by 11 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series record: Minnesota leads 56-36-5.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Minnesota looks to bounce back from just its second loss in 21 non-conference games under coach P.J. Fleck after falling 31-13 at No. 20 North Carolina. The Gophers entered that game in the top 10 in total defense and scoring defense, only to give up a season-high 414 yards passing to Drake Maye. Northwestern also lost in The Triangle last week, 38-14 to No. 21 Duke.
Minnesota RB Darius Taylor against Northwestern's defensive line. The Wildcats gave up 487 yards overall last week and got torched for 268 on the ground, with Duke rushing for five touchdowns. They figure to be tested again by a true freshman who is emerging as one of the Big Ten's top ball-carriers.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Minnesota: Taylor. He comes in with back-to-back Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors. Taylor ran for 138 yards and a touchdown after going for 193 yards and a score against Eastern Michigan. He ranked 10th nationally and tops among freshmen with 334 yards.
Northwestern: QB Ben Bryant. The rough start continued at Duke, with the Cincinnati transfer completing 17 of 34 passes for 123 yards. He threw a touchdown and an interception. Bryant has 408 yards and two TDs while being picked off three times.
FACTS & FIGURES
Minnesota has won three straight against Northwestern, including the past two at Ryan Field. ... The Gophers have allowed opponents to convert a league-high 52.6% on third downs — 20 of 38. ... Northwestern looks to win back-to-back home games for the first time since the 2021 season, when it beat Ohio and took out Rutgers three weeks later. The Wildcats lost eight straight at Ryan Field before beating UTEP two weeks ago. ... LB Bryce Gallagher leads the Big Ten with 37 tackles. ... DL Anto Saka has two sacks after recording one in each of the past two games.
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