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Pick up game: TOC makes Week 7 predictions

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Off the high of last week’s win, how does TOC writers think MSU will fair against Minnesota?

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Now that everyone has finally sobered up from last weekend’s win (maybe) over Michigan, it’s time to get back to business for the Spartans, who travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers.

While there is no doubt Michigan was the most difficult test of the year so far for MSU, Minnesota brings on a whole different batch of problems. For the first time all season, the Spartans will have to leave the state of Michigan. On top of that, they will need to find a way to focus on Minnesota after beating their biggest rivals and joining the AP top 25.

Minnesota is still looking for their first win in conference this year, and at 3-2 has yet to earn anything resembling an important win. But in both of their losses, first to Maryland then Purdue, the Gophers were tied or leading in the fourth quarter. In his first year in Minnesota, P.J. Fleck doesn’t have much talent, but his team plays hard.

For the Spartans to win, they need to play their game. Run the ball with dominant defense and see if Brian Lewerke can make a big play or two. The staff here at The Only Colors decides if they think MSU can get the job done, along with the rest of their Big Ten picks.

Matt Sheehan

Michigan State 27, Minnesota 13

This game will be a great test for this young team. A night game against a PJ Fleck-led team hungry for its first conference win says -- no, SCREAMS "trap game." Especially after our Spartans are coming off an emotional win, but you've probably seen that "Dantonio teams are 8-2 after the Michigan game" stat floating around by now. I see this being a breakout game for the offense after three straight games of points coming at a premium. Minnesota's offense also has put up decent numbers, but the best team they've played so far has been the Mickey Mouse Club. They haven't seen a defense close to MSU's yet, and it comes down to how dialed in our Spartans can be on that side of the ball after an A++ performance last weekend. I'm sorry, but I'm picking MSU (apologizing because I've been wrong three weeks in a row).

O'Corn's Heisman Campaign over Indiana

Rutgers over Illinois

Wisconsin over Purdue

Maryland over Northwestern

Ohio State over Nebraska

Matt Hoeppner

Michigan State 23, Minnesota 13

Expect another grind it out win for Michigan State this weekend as they travel to Minnesota to take on PJ Fleck's rowing gophers. Minnesota may row the boat now, but they don't move the ball particularly well on offense. Their passing game gets less than 170 yards per game and their rushing attack relies on volume, as they average a mediocre 4.06 yards per carry. They are also a banged up team, that will be missing four starters.

Meanwhile the Spartans are healthy, playing with confidence, and have a defense that has been very good, especially against the run. I expect it to take a little bit of time, but eventually MSU pulls away in this one and avoids a let down after the big win last week.

Michigan over Indiana

Illinois over Rutgers

Wisconsin over Purdue

Northwestern over Maryland

Ohio State over Nebraska

Ryan O’Bleness

Michigan State 31, Minnesota 14

Minnesota is a solid team on defense, but its secondary is way too depleted right now to cover Felton Davis and Darrell Stewart, and I think this could be the game where we finally see Brian Lewerke test the waters on his deep ball. Minnesota's offense is pretty inept right now, with shaky quarterback play and uninspiring wide receivers. Michigan State's top-five nationally ranked defense should have no problem shutting the Gophers down through the air, but the Gophers do average 190 yards per game rushing. If MSU can make Minnesota one dimensional and force them to pass, I think Michigan State leaves Minneapolis with an easy victory.

One thing that does worry me a bit, and I have mentioned this throughout the week, is that I am truly unsure how this young Spartan team full of freshmen and sophomores will respond after an emotional upset victory on the road against Michigan. If they're not laser-focused, if they think they've already won something and if they think Minnesota is a cupcake, they're in for a rude awakening. Minnesota is desperate for a Big Ten win -- don't sleep on them. But the Spartans should take care of business here.

Rutgers vs. Illinois

Michigan vs. Indiana

Northwestern vs. Maryland

Purdue vs. Wisconsin

Ohio State vs. Nebraska

Kyle Thele

Michigan State 24, Minnesota 13

The hangover is going to be real for Michigan State, especially when matched with Minnesota playing a home game at night. It will take a strong second half for Michigan State to get this win, but their defense will keep them in position to ice the game at the end.

Brian Lewerke needs to finally prove he can move the ball consistently through the air, but a big run is still going to be his best way to help the team win. Hopefully LJ Scott can return to the lineup and regain some of his form from the previous two years.

On defense, at some point Minnesota is going to need to at least try and pass against the stingy MSU secondary. When that happens, it will just be a matter of which player is going to grab the ball. I’m looking for at least three turnovers this game.

Rutgers vs. Illinois

Michigan vs. Indiana

Northwestern vs. Maryland

Purdue vs. Wisconsin

Ohio State vs. Nebraska