Game day eve: Time for your Spartan-Gopher analysis and prediction

Even the most vehement skeptic would have to admit they didn’t see this scenario coming: Michigan State’s football team needs a win Saturday at Minnesota simply to become bowl-eligible.

If you’re a fan of MSU program and care about its long-term success and perception, this should be an important game for you.

It’s a big deal for a coach to be able to say they’ve never had a losing season, that they’ve always reached a bowl game, even in the down years. That shows stability and strength.

This is a big game for MSU. Just for different reasons than we wall thought it might be a few months ago.

How much are you still invested? What does MSU have to do Saturday to win? And what’s your prediction?

Entering the final week of our prediction contest — with the winner being featured on this blog (or receiving a Chris Solari autographed picture; their choice) — GreenGuy is in the lead among our group with two wins. AAsparty, Marky Mark, Lancelot, MD, MLM89 and last week’s winner, behind the green curtain, have one each.

If someone picks the score exactly this week, it’ll be worth two wins.

Analysis, please?

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38 Responses to Game day eve: Time for your Spartan-Gopher analysis and prediction

  1. avatar jmac says:

    My thoughts are the Spartans find a way to pull this one out, especially since Minny is already bowl eligible and no one is really going to care that much about MD’s guarantee. However, it certainly is scary to think this is a must win.

    I think getting an extra month is extremely important to this group. I think they actually get it and how close they were this season.

    Still mildly invested, however extremely disappointed in the offense and special teams. People can say what they want about the defense having an occasional lapse, but those guys have done more than enough to get the team to 8 or 9 wins. Missing out twice on TD’s last week inside the 5, and missing another field goal is just mind numbing.

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:


    Really, Michigan State? You let it come to this?

    MSU came into the season with the talent to dominate the Big Ten defensively, and it has come through leading the league in both scoring and total defense. The hope was for Le’Veon Bell and the running game to be effective, he has been terrific averaging 126 yards per game. The passing game was supposed to come around, and it has, for the most part, averaging a decent 226 yards per game. So what’s the problem?

    Other than a win over Wisconsin, we can’t come through in the clutch with five of the six losses – Notre Dame being the exception – coming by four points or fewer. This week, the team that can’t seem to catch a break has to beat Minnesota just to go bowling.

    It’s gravy time for Jerry Kill after clinching bowl eligibility against Illinois a few weeks ago. However, at 2-5 in conference play, they’re hardly impressing anyone and could use an impressive win to validate a turnaround season. The offense is struggling and the defense hasn’t come up with any big performances outside of the shutdown of Illinois, but at 6-5, all is going well no matter how it looks.
    Minnesota’s offense could go absolutely nowhere. It was stopped cold by Nebraska last week with a mere 177 yards, and the ground attack has gone through some rough patches at times in the Big Ten getting stuffed by Wisconsin and held in check by Michigan. The Gophers are 0-3 in the conference when they fail to score a rushing touchdown, and Michigan State’s defense has the potential to keep Minnesota out of the end zone with a linebacking corps that’s chasing down everything that’s not in a Nebraska uniform and a front line that’s not getting shoved off the blocks. Nebraska ran for 313 yards and two scores, but MSU has allowed its opponent without a rushing score in seven games this season, winning five of them.

    The Gophers aren’t likely to beat themselves. As good as the MSU defense has been and as impressive as it has been at times, the pass rush hasn’t been consistent – cranking out five sacks against Wisconsin, two against Nebraska, and no more than one against anyone else – while the takeaways haven’t been coming. The D hasn’t recovered a fumble since September and has gone two of the last three games without a pick. Meanwhile, Minnesota has given up two fumbles in each of the last two games, but hasn’t thrown any picks. Since a rocky start, the Gophers have thrown just two interceptions over the last seven games. The AJ Barker fiasco has not affected team chemistry, as this is the first such incident and there is no division in the locker room. Barker had been injured for several weeks and the Gopher offense was struggling without him since the Purdue Game.

    Le’Veon Bell isn’t on the Heisman radar, and he’s a bit behind Montee Ball for in terms of rushing yards per game, but he’s coming up with a whale of a junior season with enough production to potentially make him one of the first backs off the board if he chooses to come out early. The coaching staff hasn’t been shy to force-feed him the ball down the stretch, giving him 36 carries against Nebraska and 32 against Northwestern, finishing with a hard 321 yards and two scores. Last year he rumbled for 96 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Minnesota, and it only took 15 carries to do it.

    Minnesota will put up a great fight at home to try to close strong, but Michigan State’s defense won’t allow much of anything with next to nothing coming on the ground. The Gophers will have hard time getting to 250 yards of total offense, but the defense will make it a battle.

    Prediction: Michigan State 24 … Minnesota 13

  3. avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

    Have watched virtually every Spartan football game since 1964 and will continue to do so until I pass from the scene. My prediction. 20-14. Just a feeling no justification. I will never pick the Spartans to lose no matter what. Green genes I guess.

  4. avatar Trophy says:

    NO disappointment this week. No mistakes this week. MSU 31 – Minny 13.

  5. avatar A very anti Couch poster says:

    Anything on here will be better than what Cracker can come up with, reporting on the Minny game is not career enhancing enough for him, plus it’s not some MAC team.

  6. avatar Rckbuilder says:

    Good grief where do I start? You ask am I still invested. I will always be invested in MSU; Football, basketball, baseball Girls golf tiddlywinks, whatever. I love my school (and Hate Michigan and Notre Dame by the way). However, this has been the most disappointing season I have endured (since about freshman year 1977 or earlier). This year has been huge step back in MSU’s progress towards reestablishing its reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Coaching has been horrific, play calling amateurish (the kids are armatures the coaches are not, and paid quite well), play on the field undisciplined and with the lacking of basic fundamentals; need I go on?

    What has been equally disappointing is the press coverage by “Our Side”. Yours and other papers have been borderline slappish, and don’t get me started on MSU Radio. Jim Miller makes a fool of himself with his analysis after each game. (Will Tieman is doing his job as expected; I see his roll as cheerleader). We will never reach the top tier in NCAA football and the respect that comes with it if we accept a poor or mediocre year. We must be the most critical and intolerant of ourselves to reach the top.

    Let me interject here that I understand and believe when all is said and done this is just a game. No more no less. But this blog is in the arena so I will continue with the rant.

    Yes MSU will win this weekend: 27 – 12. If we don’t they should have to walk home.

    Coach D needs to do some real soul searching (as well as offensive coordinator resume searching) this off season. He has been reading to much of his slappy press coverage and not enough criticism. I believe, no I know he is a good coach and a damn good man. But what we need is a Damn Good Coach. I hope he steps it up next year and the years to come. I want Coach D to be around a very long time.

    Alrighty then I’m out.

    • avatar jerseyjohn says:

      i agree on all points except your hatred for notre dame..if not for them we would be in the MAC..hope they kill the O.J. lovers tomorrow and win it all. save the hate for penn state. they’re despicable.

  7. avatar MayoSpartan says:

    ASTONISHED to read Rexrode predict an MSU defeat. Perhaps he’s hoping to move on to his true love, basketball, after a disaster of a football season.

    Good to see the team with the tougher schedule and more victories represent the Legends division.

    GO GREEN! Beat the gophers !!!

  8. avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

    Graham, we’re not like scUM fans, when we lose, we stick by our team instead of hiding in Walmart.

    • avatar marky mark says:

      Is that why they had tickets to the NW game for 3$ on stub hub

      • avatar A very anti Couch poster says:

        Geez did Silverman come up with that gem or was it you all by your little own self. Remember to get the money from Goldgirl in cash, don’t take any checks or coupons.

      • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

        We’re so glad you invest all your time and energy to MSU, that rejection letter from MSU must have really gotten to you, don’t worry, Walmart is happy to have you.

  9. avatar Jason Tufnill says:

    Graham Couch, even though Marky Mark is a UofM fan, you cant short end him.

    Mark has picked Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern and Michigan State, therefore he has 4 wins, not 1…

    C’mon man.

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      ummm Jason he’s picked against MSU cause he’s a hater, not because he actually knows anything about sports, he sure doesn’t know anything about music

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      There’s only one winner each week. It’s who comes closest to picking the score. Not just picking the winner.

    • avatar A very anti Couch poster says:

      Not a Paris Hilton Fan, justa janitor in the btn studios acting as Silverman’s Pinocchio.

  10. avatar marky mark says:

    Minn. wins 17-14 MSU Blows Denard, cries and makes excuses as usual, and then tells us how great they’re gonna be next year!!!!

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      actually Denard blows MSU, he’s gonna finish his career 1-3 vs MSU and OSU, what an overrated punk

      as for Marky Mark, you’re music still sucks and always will

      as for excuses, you and other scUM fans are the queens of that topic !

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      eat it wanna be rapper, MSU wins, scUM loses, yeah scUM is 8-4 and MSU is 6-6, 2 pts separate these teams from both being 7-5, eat it chump

  11. avatar AASparty says:

    MSU 5, Minny 2, I don’t care anymore…

  12. avatar msu76 says:

    I say we win, probably about 27-14. We’re just a better overall team, I think. But I also think this: 6-6 teams do not belong in bowl games! Maybe that’s because in my jr & sr years at MSU we were 7-3-1 & 7-4 respectively and went to absolutely no bowl games.

    A disappointing year, though of course I still care about the Spartans. Although I think the worst thing about this year’s team was nowhere near enough offense, two things stick out to me: the 51 yard play given up to Nebraska on 4th & 10 and that slow fullback plodding up the middle for Iowa for nearly 40 yards in the last minute of regulation. Neither play involved a spectacular athletic play, rather amounted to failure to execute by the defense. Make those 2 plays and we’re going for our 8th win tomorrow. Disappointing, maybe Tommy’s boys will make us feel better.

  13. avatar msu76 says:

    One more thing: if you don’t like Graham, post elsewhere. Keep your snide remarks to yourselves. I seem to recall some lamenting when Joe took over from his predecessor (was it Todd Schultz?). Change happens, unless your name is Mitt Romney!

  14. avatar SpartyOn says:


    Offense struggles.

    Defense dominates.

    Bold, I know.

  15. avatar MLM89 says:

    Every game Minnesota has scored 17 or more points they have won. In their 5 losses, they’ve scored 13 points 4 times and 14 points once, so it looks like the outcome will hinge on if State’s D can hold them to two TD’s or less. The D has played well statistically, but has been prone to allowing late drives for scores or to kill the clock. Last year we won 31 – 24. Is the offense as good as last year’s? No. Is the defense as good as last year’s? No. Game tied at 20 with 5 minutes left. Conroy misses a 42 yard FG. Minnesota takes over and drives the field for the winning TD. Minnesota 27 MSU 20.

  16. avatar MayoSpartan says:

    MSU 24 – Minn 20

    Bell scores twice in the second half for a come from behind victory. Conroy goes 1-3 and the defense gets a pic 6 by J. Adams (the kid needs it).

  17. avatar AGSpartanFan says:

    Plain and simple – just win baby! MSU 31 – UM 17

  18. avatar A very anti Couch poster says:

    Nice to see the Brucie jenner’s lose today. Hokey Pokey made 2 calls that cost him the game and is now part of the MAC level coaches in the B1G along with Bluimia.

    JLS is really looking for a job, Cracker, get WMU to give ‘em a call. You must have pull with them as much as you push their program.

  19. avatar A very anti Couch poster says:

    The Criminal Recruiter wouldn’t rank his favorite undefeated teams, well he did rank ‘em when he was at Florida recruiting at least 26 kids who ended up with 31 Arrests in a 5 year period, and it was Tebow’s Heisman year. He still thinks that, I’m sure.

  20. avatar A very anti Couch poster says:

    Let’s see the game was over almost 3 hours ago, and nothing. Well, in KZoo that’s expected because nobody wants to read or comment on the box score form EMU V Toledo. Here you have avid readers, but you have let them down all season with your holier than thou, superior to all attitude that you have driven them all away. ‘Tis better to be king of the sewer, than bell ringer for the town.

  21. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Why Mark Dantonio will never let the bottom Drop Out on his watch
    After attending the game yesterday I must now put pen to what I have witnessed. As the first half drew to a close I watched not in horror but in resigned frustration as our Spartans made every effort to give this game away. Not just the obvious red zone failure or designated missed field goal . But the right on cue dead ball personal foul late hit after a third and eleven stop. The frustration of a team beating themselves with mistakes, the offense by ineptitude and the crucial defensive mistake s after dominating the line of scrimmage. The most frustrating team that I have ever seen , because of the waste of a top ten defense and even that defense giving up explosion plays and dead ball mistakes, combined with the snake bit officiating . I felt numbness not anger, resignation more than frustration to a looming lost season. At one point I looked at the jumbetron seeing MSU with 252 total yards to the Gophers 48, and of course MSU trailing by one point. A bad sadistic movie Spartan Ground Hound Day, On a day which started out with the author high fiving Goldy on his moped confident of a methodical 24-14 Spartan victory.
    I propose that MSU won this game in spite of his Offensive Players not because of them. He had to minimize mistakes in the second half and focus on wearing down the shallow boulder with sledgehammer Bell. He did what he had to do. Mark Dantonio knew he had to get this team to a bowl for reasons I will address shortly. He simply refused to let this team Bottom out on his watch.
    Now the larger significance. Mark Dantonio has gone to a bowl six years in a row, (every single year of his tenure) He has won 9 or more games and played on New Year’s Day three of those six years. If Mark Dantonio wins 9 games or more and reaches a New Year’s Bowl Next Season he will have won 9 or more games 4 0ut of seven years or the majority of his tenure.
    I am not a statistician but to those who are I propose the following questions.
    1/ How may teams in the Big Ten have been to bowl games each of the last six years and won 9 or more games resulting in a New Year’s Day Bowl at least half of those years. Wisconsin, Nebraska? Who else pray tell?
    2. More importantly of the 124 BCS teams how many have met both of these criteria? More than 25? Only statisticians have the ability to discern this but I wager not.
    So Spartan Fans, I wager that Mark Dantonio has already established a top 25 program. The body of work bears that out. I go so far to say that if Dantonio posts 9 or more wins the next two seasons that the next time we have a season like this one. It will be regarded as Izzos 2010-2011 campaign. A dip in the body of work. As long as Dantonio is in charge the sky will not fall, the bottom will not drop out. And we are lucky to have this man.
    On Mark Dantonio the solid ground I stand all other ground is sinking sand.
    Go Green

  22. avatar AAsparty says:

    glad they got the W but have mixed emotions about Bell racking-up 266, he may think he’s ready to jump to the NFL now…

  23. avatar Cracker says:

    The MSU fanbase knows U r a Walmart & r being paid under the table by Marky Mark @ BTN. Over the holidays – maybe U should think about moving on & what your next career move is going to be – maybe to BTN? I’m sure Silverswine would love another Walmart on the payroll.

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