ES Game Day Preview: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 13 The Enlightened Spartan: ES Game Day Preview: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 13

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ES Game Day Preview: Michigan State 31, Minnesota 13

Michigan State (4-4/3-2, #43 Sagarin, sked strength #29) at Minnesota (4-4/2-3, #59 Sagarin, sked strength #18)
Saturday, October 31, 2009. 8 pm EST.
TV: Big Ten Network
Weather: 44 degrees, partly sunny
Latest Line: MSU -5 1/2.

Tickets available.

Injuries: Michigan State - RB Andre Anderson (gone), out; RB Caulton Ray (gone), out; S Roderick Jenrette (foot), out; RB Glenn Winston (knee), out; LB Drew Stevens (knee), doubtful; S Trenton Robinson (ankle), probable; DE Trevor Anderson (ankle), probable; QB Keith Nichol (elbow), probable. Minnesota - WR Eric Decker (knee), out.

More Predictions & Previews: ESPN/Adam Rittenberg (MSU 21-13); CFN/Scout (MSU 24-14); CBS Sports/Harmon Forecast (MSU 26-24); SpartyMSU (MSU 35-17).

ES Prediction: Michigan State has a little bit more on defense, and a lot more on offense than does Minnesota. Minny has a better punter; Sparty has a better kicker. Minnesota is fading, and fading fast. Minnesota's defense has been decent, particularly its linebacking corps. Sparty's defense seems to have found itself and is playing as good as it has in the past decade. Minny will miss wideout Eric Decker; if the Spartans can seal the deal offensively by converting in the red zone, they'll walk away with this one. Yes, Sparty will be pissed off and should make things difficult for the Gophers on Saturday. Give the game ball to Greg Jones, who will harass Gopher QBs Marqueis Gray/Adam Weber all day long. The Spartan defensive interior will shut down Minnesota's anemic run game, making it completely one-dimensional... Michigan State's secondary is coming off its finest game and three game set in 10 years or more. And without Eric Decker to catch the ball, Minny plays right into the Spartans' hands.

Statistically in the Big Ten:
  • MSU rush off (#7, 130 ypg, 3.8 ypc) vs. MIN rush def (#8, 178 ypg, 4.1 ypc). Advantage MSU.
  • MSU pass off (#1, 274 ypg, 8.3 ypr) vs. MIN pass def (#9, 223 ypg, 7.3 ypr). Advantage MSU.
  • MIN rush off (#11, 106 ypg, 3.5 ypc) vs. MSU rush def (#3, 104 ypg, 3.1 ypc). Advantage MSU
  • MIN pass off (#8, 187 ypg, 6.7 ypr) vs. MSU pass def (#7, 224 ypg, 6.6 ypr). Advantage EVEN.
Here's another WOWer of a stat: MSU has 170 first downs; Minnesota, just 119. Do we need more? It may be tight early, but MSU will lead by half and walk away with this one. Watch Sparty be a determined, hungry bunch after last week. Halftime: MSU 14, Minnesota 7. Final Score: MSU 31, Minnesota 13.

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