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TCU Horned Frogs vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Predictions, Picks, and NCAA Football Betting Preview – September 3, 2015

TCU Horned Frogs vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Predictions, Picks, and NCAA Football Betting Preview – September 3, 2015

The No.2 TCU Horned Frogs are no longer just eyeing a spot in the College Football Playoff because that is so 2014 for them. Instead, the Horned Toads are setting their sights on winning a national title. With an early Heisman Trophy favorite quarterback leading a high-powered offense, it’s only fair for TCU to dream that high. That said, they shouldn’t be too complacent when they pay the Minnesota Gophers a visit. After all, the Gophers are coached by one of the best minds in the nation in Jerry Kill, who might hold a grand design on how to beat TCU.

For more college football, click here for a preview of the match between No. 20 Wisconsin and No.3 Alabama.

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TCU Horned Frogs vs. Minnesota Gophers Preview

Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

When: Thursday, September 3, 8:00 PM ET

Line: TCU Horned Frogs (-14.5) at Minnesota Gophers (+14.5) – view all NCAA Football lines

Betting on the TCU Horned Frogs

[sc:NCAA240banner ]TCU has some axe to grind following a season in which the Horned Frogs were left out of the four-team College Football Playoff. Led by dual-threat quarterback Trevone Boykin, the Horned Frogs look to begin the season on the right foot as they head to Minneapolis to face the Gophers. TCU is 3-0 SU in its last three road games.

Last season, the Horned Frogs boasted a polished game on both ends of the field, as they ranked fifth in the nation in total offense (533.0 yards per game) and 18th in total defense (341.8 yards per game allowed).

The offense is expected to be a strength again of TCU this coming season with 10 starters back in the unit. That group includes the record-setting pair of the aforementioned Boykin and wide receiver Josh Doctson. Boykin tallied school-record numbers of 3,091 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns in 2014.

Doctson, on the other hand, set a single-season record for TCU last year by catching 11 touchdowns on a team-leading 1,018 receiving yards. The duo played well when TCU crushed the Gophers, 30-7 in Fort Worth, last September. In that game, Boykin passed for 258 yards (27-of-46) and two touchdowns to Doctson, who finished with 64 yards on six receptions.

Apart from TCU’s passing game, the Gophers will also have to worry about the Horned Frogs’ backfield. TCU was 36th last season with 206.8 rushing yards per game. The Horned Frogs figure to be even more potent this season on the ground with leading rusher Aaron Green (922 rushing yards, 9 rushing touchdowns) back along with B.J. Catalon (493 yards, 10 rushing touchdowns) and Boykin (707 yards, 8 rushing touchdowns).

TCU’s defense lost six starters from 2014, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem against  Minnesota, which averaged just 357.3 yards per game of total offense last season.

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Betting on the Minnesota Gophers

Head coach Jerry Kill and his Gophers are fixated on one thing at least for now—to serve an early season upset at the expense of TCU. It’s going to be easier said than done for the Gophers, however. Well for one, Minnesota enters the new season with a suspect offense that didn’t turn heads last year.

One of the questions Minnesota’s offense will have to address is whether they can form a decent passing game. Minnesota passed for just 141.8 yards per game last season with quarterback Mitch Leidner at the helm. Leidner returns this season, but he’ll no longer have top receiver Maxx Williams down field. Senior KJ Maye (298 receiving yards, one touchdown in 2014) and junior Donovahn Jones are poised to step up and mitigate the loss of Williams following a season in which they combined for only 551 receiving yards and three receiving scores.

The backfield also took a hit with the departure of leading running back David Cobb, who amassed 1,626 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns last season. That shouldn’t deter the Gophers from rushing the ball though, considering that they still have the likes of Roderick Williams Jr., Berkley Edwards, and Jeff Jones.

But if there’s one definite positive for Minnesota this coming season, it has to be its defense. The Gophers’ defensive unit will be the key against TCU, which will come to TCF Bank Stadium eager to test its seemingly more experienced and improved offense. With six returnees on the Gophers defense, including four seniors in the secondary, TCU may not find it as easy to stack up yards and points as they did in last season’s meeting at Fort Worth.

Briean Boddy-Calhoun could be the game-changer for Minnesota as the senior cornerback is regarded as among the best in the Big Ten. Boddy-Calhoun tallied five interceptions last season, tied for third in the conference last season.

The Gophers are 6-1 SU and 4-2 ATS in their last six games as the home team.

Writer’s Prediction

TCU (-14.5) wins, 31-14.

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Written by Rex

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