Panic time for the Minnesota Golden Gophers?

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Joe Broback

Contributor at Champion Insiders
Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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Minnesota survived a thriller at home Saturday afternoon against Georgia Southern. A late Tyler Johnson touchdown gave the Minnesota Golden Gophers a 35-32 win, but also raised some concerns for this team. Many fans are probably panicking after the win, but should they? None of the wins have been comfortable, but PJ Fleck’s team is building confidence.

Minnesota Golden Gophers bright future

While the wins aren’t building confidence in the fan base, Minnesota is learning how to win down the stretch. Their three wins have come by a combined 13 points, and both sides of the ball have made clutch plays to win the games. Johnson was just the latest player to come up big for the Gophers.

If you hadn’t heard of Tyler Johnson coming into the season, you’ve been missing out. Johnson has been catching the eyes of NFL scouts for a while now, and this performance gives them more to love. His 140 yards and three touchdowns were game highs, and his last gave Minnesota the lead for good. It’s tough to get Minnesota’s playmakers enough touches each game, so one guy will be featured each week most likely. While they find chemistry among themselves, the defense can keep them in games.

Georgia Southern scored 32 points Saturday, but the defense was only responsible for 20. The Eagles only managed 198 yards, including just 123 on the ground. For a group that was the problem last year, the Minnesota Golden Gophers defense is elevating their game in 2019. This may not be an elite team, but they’re learning qualities that will help them down the road despite their weaknesses.

Concerns going forward

Three wins against an FCS team, and two other Group of 5 teams mean the Gophers are undefeated, but the games also exposed the flaws of this team. Tanner Morgan found himself on his back frequently against Georgia Southern, and that will only increase in Big Ten play. Morgan also needs to know when to take risks and when to play it safe. He’s the X-factor on the offense, but he can’t always try to be the hero.

Minnesota’s struggled to start the season, but they’re undefeated. They’ve won three games in the clutch, and they’ll know how to win tight games even if they’re on a bigger stage. If they’re in the game, fans should have faith that the Gophers can win.

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