The 2019 Minnesota at Fresno State free pick is an interesting one as the Golden Gophers head to the West Coast as -3 favorites. Sure the Bulldogs lost their opener, but they were over 2 TD underdogs at USC and had chances at the upset. P.J. Fleck’s team is 1-0 after squeaking out a home win over South Dakota State, but it’s always tough heading West.
Can Golden Gophers Get Off to 2-0 Start?
Minnesota heads into year three of the Fleck regime which is when the first batch of recruits start molding into their own. The Golden Gophers won a bowl game over Georgia Tech a year ago and look to continue their momentum with 13 returning starters including 7 on offense.
The Golden Gophers are off to another good start with a 21-14 win in their opener over San Diego State but as -14.5 home favorites. Minnesota may have some growing pains on offense early in the season due to QB Zack Annexstad being out indefinitely with a foot injury. Tanner Morgan was pedestrian at best in the opener, going 13/18 for 176 and a TD. Morgan does have the benefit of throwing to All Big-Ten selection Tyler Johnson in the 2019 Minnesota at Fresno State free pick. Johnson had just 3 catches for 28 yards in week one however.
Minnesota failed to cover in week one vs. South Dakota State mostly because they were actually outgained 367 to 308. That includes the Jackrabbits running 34 times for 174 yards. Minnesota allowed no more than 24 points in the four games since Joe Rossi took over for the fired Robb Smith in ’18 but the 2019 opener could have been better. Fresno State also ran for 206 yards vs. USC last week which could be an issue for the Gophers.
Fresno State the Play as Home Underdogs?
Fresno State begins their season 0-1 but they had their chances in week one vs. USC. Despite the loss, it wasn’t a bad start for the Bulldogs who are coming off a 12-2 season a year ago but return just 2 offensive starters.
Fresno State had a top 30 passing attack a year ago but has to replace standout Marcus McMaryion who threw for 3,629 yards and 25 TD to just 5 INT in 2018. Jorge Reyna was decent in the opener after throwing just 12 passes last season. Against a very athletic USC defense, Reyna was 19/39 for 256 and 2 TD but also ran 20 times for 88 yards. Fresno State put up 462 total yards vs. the Trojans in week one but the total in the 2019 Minnesota at Fresno State free pick is just 46.
The Bulldogs had a great defense in 2018, ranking 3rd in the country in scoring and 17th in total yards allowed. USC gained 447 yards vs. the Bulldogs in week one but have a much more potent attack than Minnesota, especially with the Gophers going on the road. The Bulldogs also forced USC into 4 turnovers.
2019 Minnesota at Fresno State Free Pick
The Bulldogs had just two losses a year ago, one of which came in Minneapolis against these Gophers 14-21 as -1 favorites. Do the Bulldogs have revenge on their mind as they host this year’s matchup? The Bulldogs played USC tough in the opener and have a solid system in place even if many of the faces are different this season. It’s just tough for the Gophers to go across the country and get a win against what is becoming a very quality program., especially with Minnesota’s QB issues.
Free Pick: Fresno State +3