Gophers Football and Michigan State Match: Keys to Play, How to Watch, and Who Has the Advantage – InForum

Minnesota in Michigan

When: 2:30 pm on Saturday
where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
Television: BTN
radio: Kafan, 100.3 FM
weather: 59 degrees, cloudy, 8 mph, north wind
Favorite bet: Minnesota, minus 3

records: Minnesota is 3-0 after outpacing its lower-level non-Conference opponents Colorado, New Mexico and Western Illinois with a combined score of 149-17. Michigan State is 2-1 after beating Western Michigan and Akron by 87-13. The Spartans finished 11th in an Associated Press poll until they lost 39-28 in Washington last week and were knocked out of the rankings.

Date: Minnesota has lost five consecutive times to Michigan State since 2010. The U hasn’t traveled to East Lansing since 2013, when the Gophers lost 14-3. In Minnesota, coach BJ Flick is 0-1 against the Spartans, a 30-27 home run in 2017.

Matching keys: Gophers versus secondary Spartans receptors. Minnesota will play the rest of the season without 1st seed Chris Outman Bell at wide after sustaining a leg injury in a 49-7 win over Colorado last week. He led the team with goals 23% of passes. The remaining passing players will have chances against the 103rd ranked MSU defense in the nation.

Gopher’s Offensive Against Michigan State Defense: Having finished last in the country in passing defense in 2021, the Spartans fared better against two of their softer group-five opponents. Then the Washington Buck 12 had a hit with 397 yards and four touchdowns. The Gophers run the ball 70% of the shots, and MSU has been well against the rush (26th in the country), so Saturday may hinge on Minnesota’s ability to find success through the air. …while the Gophers only allowed in two through three games (both against Colorado), they haven’t faced the likes of DE Jacoby Windom, who has big ten sacks leading 5 1/2 in 12 presses this season. Gopher’s offensive coordinator, Kirk Ciaroca, said the UNLV transfer would “be professional,” and would need the best of Minnesota. …defender Chester Kimbrough in the Spartans slot has added two bags this season. … RB Mo Ibrahim has 40 career touchdowns and is one short of a tie-breaker with Darrell Thompson on the program record. Ibrahim averages 1.3 touchdowns before the match; Thomson averaged 0.9. Ibrahim tied with Thompson in 13 fewer games he played. …the gophers have thrown one interception on 68 attempts this season, and that came in an inverted pass that should have been caught by TE Bravin Span Ford. … Both teams are plus 1 in turnover margin this season. Edge: Michigan

Gopher’s Defense Against Michigan State Crime: Minnesota has been suffocating this season, having only been allowed three points by its primary defense in three games. (Backups account for the remaining 14 points allowed). The Spartans average 38 points per game. … Minnesota is No. 1 in the third-place defense, allowing transfers only 12% of the time. MSU was converted at 46%. “This week is going to be a massive challenge with this midfield and these receivers,” said Joe Rossi, Govers’ defense coordinator. …Led by former Gophers offensive coordinator and Lakeville resident Jay Johnson, QB Payton Thorne has earned seven TD assists this season. Thorne broke Kirk Cousin MSU’s record for completing 27 TDs in a single season in 2021. …Gopher’s best defensive center group is the secondary group, and you’ll need to prove it on Saturday. WR Jayden Reed missed the Washington game due to injury, but Rousey said the Gophers are preparing for him to play. He had 1,000 yards and 10 TDs a year ago. If Reed stays out, both Keon Coleman and Tre Mosley could produce. All of them have three grab TDs this year. …Minnesota is No. 2 in the nation in quick defense at 69.7 allowed per game, but the Spartans come with a quality pair of arms. Galen Berger, the Wisconsin transfer, and Jaric Broussard, the Colorado transfer, have collected 392 yards and six TDs through three games. Edge: Gopher

special teams: Michigan State’s freshman K at Jack Stone is 1 for 2 on FG attempts, with her making from 43 yards and a miss from 44 yards. … K. Matthew Trickett, a fifth-year Gophers student, is a 3-for-3 this year. Edge: Gopher

prediction: The Gophers held 1-4 in the Big Ten openers under Fleck, but this team was running on three dominant wins. This team will officially take center stage in the Big Ten West with their inaugural road win. Gopher, 27-23


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