Next Up: The Minnesota Golden Gophers

So, in this case, the schedule-makers have been fairly kind to MSU; the team gets to rebound from last Saturday's horror show by welcoming one of the worst Big Ten teams in ages to East Lansing.  Minnesota has been fire-your-coach-in-the-middle-of-the-season bad.  (Not that firing Brewster was a bad idea.)  While Gophers focus on their ongoing coaching search--and rightly so--MSU's attention is firmly on the remaining games.  The Spartans will be looking to put up an impressive scoreline to help rehabilitate their standing with poll voters, and Minnesota's defense is likely to be accommodating.  The gory stats:

 

Minnesota (nat'l rank)

MSU (nat'l rank)

Passing offense

236.78 (47)

252.11 (37)

Pass efficiency

132.96 (52)

154.43 (21)

Rushing offense

132.78 (87)

175.44 (37)

Total offense

369.56 (66)

427.56 (30)

Scoring offense

22.78 (87)

31.33 (41)

Passing defense

215.78 (65)

210.89 (59)

Pass efficiency defense

165.03 (116)

114.78 (31)

Rushing defense

201.78 (107)

123.78 (31)

Total defense

417.56 (92)

334.67 (32)

Scoring defense

34.11 (105)

20.0 (29)

Penalty yards

43.0 (24)

67.11 (104)

Turnover margin

+.11 (53)

+.67 (21)

 

So, that Gopher defense: not so good.  MSU will no doubt be doing all it can to re-establish a running game which has tapered off significantly in the past three games.  In the past four games, Minnesota has allowed 250 rushing yards to Wisconsin, 230 to Purdue, 145 to Penn State, and 263 to Ohio State.  MSU may not match OSU's total, but this is a major opportunity to return the rushing game to the 175-200 yard outings that we took for granted earlier in the season.  The pass defense ranks 65th in the country in yards allowed, but that stat is enormously deceiving; the pass efficiency defense is 116th in the country (out of 120!).  Basically, Gopher opponents are too busy picking up yards in the ground game to throw much -- but when they do throw, they pick up yards with regularity.  Cousins, Dell, Cunningham & Co. can no doubt do the same.

The Gopher offense isn't totally awful, but it's not great either.  I'm quite certain that the MSU defense will take its job seriously, however, as they all remember (like we do) how Adam Weber racked up 416 yards passing on only 31 attempts last season.  Weber is back, of course, and the Gophers have some solid performers on offense.  But on the whole, Minnesota is nowhere near the level of the truly good offenses MSU has faced this season.

So, like always, I put it to you: 62ish hours from kickoff, how are you feeling about Saturday's game?

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