Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Weather: 35 and cloudy, 13 mph winds
Line: MSU by 17
- The ES has scoured the internet for the past two days, and cannot find one single prediction from the state of Minnesota on the Gophers vs Spartans football game. How pathetic for the Land 'O Lakes.
- BTN.com: Merriman, MSU 34-10; Bardo, MIN 21-20; Dienhart, MSU 37-3; Yarina, MSU 24-7
- CFN/Scout.com: MSU 27-10
- Detroit News: Charboneau, MSU 31-10; Niyo, MSU 27-10; Wojo, MSU 27-10
- ESPN: Rittenberg, MSU 24-10; Bennett: MSU 17-6
- MLive: MSU 20-6
- Powerrank.com and Prediction Tracker: MSU will win by 15.5
- CBSSports.com: all six pick MSU
- CBSSports.com/Feldman: MSU, 24-6
- The Detroit Sports Site: MSU 30-10
- CBSSports.com: Feldman: MSU 17-3; five of six pick MSU
- Athlon: Gall, MSU 34-13; Light, MSU 30-13; Lassan, MSU 31-13; Fox, MSU 38-10
What A Great Dayyy Forrr Footballlll!!!! It will be a cold affair, but some sun will show up to help bring the temps to just above freezing.
QB Phillip Nelson has a 9 TD vs 4 INT ratio, and completing 53% of his passes. The Spartans are giving up just 177 yards per game, ranked #9 in the nation. The Big Green has the best secondary in the land with Darqueze Dennard (4 INT, 7 PBUs), Kurtis Drummond (4 INTs, 5 PBUs), Trae Waynes (5 PBUs). To boot, the Spartans' sport a nice pass rush with Denicos Allen, Shalique Calhoun, and Marcus Rush adding to 25 sacks.
Spartan off vs Minny def: The Gopher defense is giving up a reasonable 376 yards per game, ranked #46 in the nation. They are giving up 150 yards on the ground per game, and another 220 through the air per game. These are respectable against respectable opponents. But, Minnesota's defense doesn't seem to work well against tough, grinding teams like Michigan State, with tough defenses. Let's look at a comparable opponent to Michigan State on the road - such as last week's Gopher stint at Wisconsin:
|3rd Down Conversions||4-16||3-13|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||1-3|
Minny couldn't get over the hump; just 185 total yards, and just 82 through the air. More importantly: three stats stand out. 3-13 third downs (23%), an 11-minute TOP advantage to Wisky, and a 3-1 turnover advantage to Wisky. This means that Wisconsin controlled the game on both sides of the ball, including on offense.
To that end, I see a similar effort out of Michigan State and the Spartans' ability to run the ball with success. To add to Spartan RB Jeremy Langford's 1,000 yard season, Michigan State is surging with its pass game, averaging 199 yards per game, but coming off a career-best 293 yards out of QB Connor Cook in a frozen, windy tundra at Northwestern. If anything, MSU has turned out to have the most balanced offense, with the least mistakes, of any in the Big Ten conference. Give Spartan receivers credit for making big plays in recent weeks:
at Northwestern - (rec, yds, TD, long)
Lippett, Tony 3 64 0 48 Price, Josiah 3 35 1 15 Fowler, Bennie 2 99 1 87
at Nebraska -
Lippett, Tony 4 67 0 34 Kings, M. 3 37 0 17 Fowler, Bennie 2 29 0 16 Mumphery, Keith 1 27 1 27
vs Michigan -
Fowler, Bennie 6 75 1 25 Lippett, Tony 5 62 0 21 Kings, M. 2 14 0 10
History: Since the Doctor showed up, the Spartans have handled the Gophers pretty well. MD has a 3-1 record, including the last three: 31-8 and 31-24 wins at home, and a 26-10 win in Minneapolis last year. The ES hates most of the teams in the Big Ten, but it is tough to dislike the ultimate underdog, of which the Gophers rank near the top because of their disgusting play on the gridiron for most of the last 70 years. The ES is really rooting for Jerry Kill and his staff; Kill's continued seizures, and how his staff has overcome the situation has been truly inspirational. Further, coaching way the hell up where Bud Grant used to coach, and in an outdoor stadium, is an endorsement of the thick-skinned nature of football.
Final: ES sez, it is senior day, and watch Max Bullough go out playing ape-shit. Michigan State 22, Minnesota 0.