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Gophers Head to Michigan State - OPEN THREAD

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TV: BTN
Game Time: 11:00 am
Radio: 100.3 FM, 1130 AM

The Gophers are coming off a come-from-behind, upset win over the rival Hawkeyes. A week ago Michigan State had aspirations of a Big Ten Legends division title before getting run over by Nebraska. Will there be a hangover for the Spartans? Will the Gophers have a let down game?

The Stats

Minnesota Golden Gophers Michigan State Spartans
Points / Game 18.0 26.0
Pass Yards 156.1 230.2
Rush Yards 147.2 133.4
3rd Down % 33.3% 37.4%
Key Offensive Player to Watch MarQueis Gray
Kirk Cousins
Points Allowed/Game 34.0
15.0
Pass Yards 223.7 127.2
Rush Yards 201.8 101.5
3rd Down % 47.1% 31.7%
Key Defensive Player to Watch Keanon Cooper William Gholston

Three Questions

  1. How will the Gopher offense respond on the road? - Much has been made of the Gopher offense's grit and production in the Iowa game. They didn't rack up a ton of yards and points but they did come back from down 11 in the final quarter and put together two long, sustained drives to win the game. But we are on the road now and the offense has been ugly on the road and the MSU defense is rather good.
    Will the defense continue to get pressure on the QB? - Three sacks was a school record, OK not really but it kind of felt like it. I realize that we were blitzing a lot to get more pressure but it wasn't all blitzing. Kirk Cousins is a seasoned vet who might pick us apart if we are oft sending linebackers or corners, but we may need to shake things up.
    What will Michigan State try to do on offense? - The Spartans are the worst rushing offense in the Big Ten (even worse than ours) but they have a very good passing offense. Will this be a game where they try to change their stripes a little and get the running game on track? Or will they take advantage of our porous pass defense and play to their strength?

The Answers

I think you should enjoy watching Michigan State cause I believe they will be very good next year. Based on starters from their Wisconsin game they have just two starters on what is already a very good defense and they'll return 4/5 of their offensive line. Kirk Cousins will be a significant loss but this team could have a great defense and an offensive line to hide some quarterback shortcomings.

I don't think anybody is expecting a win today but I think the renewed hope from last week has us believing that this will not be a game similar to the Michigan blowout. Can the offense be effective against a much better defense than the one we saw last week? I sure hope so. I really am hoping that we see a team that is prepared and playing with greater confidence that it can make plays and bounce back from mistakes.

Beating Iowa (again) takes the monkey off the back for a while and we can enjoy watching football again. I'll be shocked if we are in this game at the end but playing competitive football with confidence and purpose will make this a fun game to watch.