MSU football: Spartans face must-win against Minnesota today

A season that began with lofty expectations and the hopes of reaching the Rose Bowl has now come down to a one-game playoff for the MSU football team.

The Spartans are in Minneapolis for a must-win contest today (3:30 pm., Big Ten Network).

A win and the Spartans are bowl eligible and likely headed to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. A loss and the season is over and the efforts of one of the nation’s best defenses has gone wasted. MSU has never missed a bowl game in Mark Dantonio’s tenure as head coach.

Getting to a bowl game looms important for the Spartans just for the development of younger players. Those extra practices could help the program to future success like it did in 2009, when MSU went 6-6 during the regular season to reach a bowl. What followed was the back-to-back 11 win seasons of 2010 and 2o11.

And even with all the close losses this season, there’s something to be said about the Spartans never letting the wheels come off, as columnist Graham Couch notes in his piece today.

Here are the matchups for today’s game with the 6-5 Gophers, as well as our predictions.

And in case you missed it, Solari has the coverage from the MSU men’s basketball team’s victory over Oakland on Friday night.



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78 Responses to MSU football: Spartans face must-win against Minnesota today

  1. 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

  2. avatar hatrack says:

    I like it. No reason to think we can’t finish strong.

  3. avatar AtlSpartan says:

    It’s time. I will be booking tickets to Arizona at 7:00PM tonight.

  4. avatar Ben Green says:

    Close losses to the top B1G teams including a potential AP National Champion. The Spartans are much better than their record. It’s time to prove it. Go Green!

  5. avatar SteveL says:

    Put a fork in it. It’s been over since mid season. Back to the reality of we are just a mediocre program that once in awhile gets close to sniffing a championship but always falls just short.

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      Go away Steve

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      Attention, Quicken Lurker, Attention.

      SteveL is Mark Silverman ACTUALLY typing the words on the Shadows Blog. I would like to nominate said Mark Silverman for another $20K to the Gene Washington Fund. This news is from a “Trusted Source” (see any Military Intelligence manual of terminology)

      • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

        That’s interesting–because there’s been a SteveL posting on Hey Joe! for the past two years.

        While SteveL has been quite negative about this football team and the 2010-11 mbb team, he was very positive about the 2011-2012 mbb team.

  6. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    We will win today, leaving the house for the stadium

  7. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Hokey Pokey just joined the “stupid lose the game by a bad call brigade” (which is captained by Whiskey’s Bluimia)

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      Those stellar commentators on ABC are now criticizing the fighting Bruce’s play call, ie, the best player on offense is on the sidelines in the pass offense. They are 100% correct. Hokey Pokey is climbing the list of stupid is as stupid does, but then as Cracker knows, he’s only a MAC level coach anyway.

    • avatar marky mark says:

      I’m thinking the blocked punt call in the championship game last year wins it hands down.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        Which hand does Silverman use for your right hand? I’d watch out with him, where the other hand is.

        • avatar marky mark says:

          I’m more concerned with where your mouth is!

          • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

            Got under your skin some there, Goldgirl. My mouth is right here, sonny boy, it’s led Marines in combat, what has your’s done but made snide comments and kissed up to the people at Fox?

      • avatar MGoBlow says:

        Did U & the Funky Bunch get a chance to watch your game in Columbus, today? The world has returned to normal – we r fighting to bowl eligibility & your wolvies are back to 8 & 4 seasons losing annually. It seems the bucknuts are getting a bigger bang for their bucks than the whiners in A2 as Meyer will be pounding your SNL’s Pat look a like for a coach annually. Bend over, Marky, & take it like a Walmart.

        • avatar marky mark says:

          I don’t get where 8-4 is a losing season. Nobodys whining a loss is a loss, not like in EL where we count close losses as a win.

          • avatar MGoBlow says:

            Remember U folks hired RichRod to win Nat’l Championships every year, right? 8-4 wasn’t good enough when Lloyd was your coach, but OK now w/ Hokey Pokey? 8-4 is considered a losing season by your obnoxious, media whore NY/ NJ Alums. Glad to hear that you aren’t 1 of those types, Marky Walmart.

          • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

            you would know if you were truly a Bruce Jenner instead of a janitor on strings – you lost to Ohio, he does it again next year and Pokey is out on his kister. How are you going to beat anyone next year when 72% of your O is walking out the door? Pokey doesn’t have much of a future.

          • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

            hey loser, you don’t even have a clue what the big ten title game is, and yeah scUM was 8-4 but their best win was a miracle 12-10 win at the big outhouse over a 6-6 MSU team, what a bunch of turds, overrated like usual, another down year for scUM

          • avatar marky mark says:

            1-5 in post season, helluva program you got there! ever heard of a bcs bowl, oh thats right never been to one.

            Son its called recruiting , others will step in.

            And MSU is far from a big win.

      • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

        I’m thinking you being a white boy trying to rap is the dumbest thing ever

  8. avatar SpartyOn says:

    Keep an eye on how this game is officiated. I’m not a big conspiracy guy normally, but an MSU win means an additional bowl bid for the conference (to the tune of over $3 million extra in shared bowl game payout). Who pays the refs? Would it be in their best interest to pad the coffers of their employer?

    But I digress, college football isn’t about money, it’s about educating young athletes.

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      Yea, and I’m not paranoid, I’m convinced THEY are out there.

    • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

      That’s an exquisite note of sarcasm you hit in the last line there, S-On.

      Dare Spartan fans hope MSU gets an officiating nudge if they need it? Does $3 million outweigh the spite the B1G mouths & brass have for narrative spoilers like the Spartans? Somehow I doubt it.

      It won’t matter. The road team’s D will outlast the Gopher D. MSU 20, MN 10.

  9. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    BTN just showed their arses to the world again, kick the field goal and the announcer says “Michigan State now leads by Conroy’s LONG field goal”, no number of yards. What is this cooking class?

  10. avatar AtlSpartan says:

    I wrote a post on Seniors a week or so a go. We have man-handled Minnesota to this point even though we haven’t played well offensively we were in control. Then our SENIOR Lou Grosa candidate kicker misses another. It is a momentum killer and not the Senior leadership we need. Boy this is a frustrating year.

  11. avatar AtlSpartan says:

    I rest my case. Now we dig a hole that we will have to get out of to get to a bowl. It is all about Senior leadership and making plays. That interception was a great play by the Minnesota linebacker. He has better hands than our receivers.

  12. avatar AtlSpartan says:

    Our Red-Zone offense is pitiful. I like Dantonio’s statement where he acknowledged that he needs to modernize the offense. I am quite anxious to see how he goes about it?

  13. avatar louisville spartan says:

    We need to get rid of the offensive coordinator & Maxwell. They both have combined to have us loose 6 games this year. No Bowl for MSU. Dantonio is getting exposed. This program is a mess & I’m not going to give another dime to it. We are what we are, pitiful !!!! Ashamed to be a Spartan. Izzo should go also.
    He will NEVER win another title because he does not know how to recruit. SPARTANS SUCK….NO MORE $$$$ FROM ME!!!!!!!!

  14. avatar SteveL says:

    So far PAINFUL as I expected. Sheeeesh

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      YUP, your entire life has been painful I know, but hang in there : don’t take the long walk off the short bridge, it’ll be OK, chin up, maybe you can get a job as VP of a regional TV station.

  15. avatar Breadtruck86 says:

    ATL – I share your frustration, but also enjoy Senior Johnny Adams getting two picks so far and not getting torched, which happens on occasion….

  16. avatar Breadtruck86 says:

    Boy, did we catch a break on our “touchdown” pass! We were due…

  17. avatar Breadtruck86 says:

    Can we force another pass to Sims? 57 is all over him. Burbridge?

  18. avatar Breadtruck86 says:

    Sadler is our Unsung hero with his handling of the snaps today..

  19. avatar MGoBlow says:

    It will be nice to see Terry out of Erie take the reins sooner than later as I’m really tired of watching our QB getting run down by interior D linemen. Have been terribly critical of the staff & this team, but we need this win to get those extra practices a bowl get us. Fingers crossed – Go Green.

  20. avatar Breadtruck86 says:

    USMC – now that the Big Ten Network is entering some major markets on the east coast, do you think they will finally hire some competent management so we can appear more professional?

    • avatar GoSt8Go says:

      I didn’t mind Mason at all. He knows his football. Now the play by play guy….

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        He’s the type of guy that BT86 is referring to above. Clown like that will keep the network down, it’ll be viewed like espn was back in the day without possible improvement. It’s been on 5 years and is just as parochial as ever. That’s not how you go into new markets.

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      I would hope they won’t leave the pithy, small, narcissistic Silverman in charge much longer, people in the East, as you indicate won’t watch the present incarnation of incompetence. I spent 5 years in NE going to school and I will tell you the attitude is one of TOTAL disdain for the midwest. New Yorkers (New Jersey) and DC will look at some Bruce Jenner replay and turn it off and won’t go back again. They won’t put up with a highlight show covering a days football games that spends 80% of the time on 2 teams, they’ll get it from their local channel. They B1G may be in the East markets, but it’ll be 20 years before they embrace it, change there comes very slow, numbers for the B1g won’t change much until then. If you give them obviously biased reporters like silly little Dhaini was at the 1st B1G Championship game, they are liable to turn it off and not go back. The one thing about the East Coast is they think they are very sophisticated, so the rubes like little Timmie Doyle who does Basketball will be laughed at mercilessly.

  21. avatar Trophy says:

    Roushar finally realized that LeVeon left, LeVeon right works!!!!

  22. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Just got back , at halftime this team was on the brink of giving the game away right down to the late hits on third down stops. At halftime they decided they wanted this more and finished. It was a reflection of Dantonio a program statement that we are in good hands. Mark Dantonio has proven to me that the bottom will never drop out on his watch

  23. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Markie Mark, your paydays may be ending, seems the Gene WAshington Fund did get an additional 10K today from your Geppetto (Mark Silverman), so he has donated a total of $40K this year along. I’m not sure, but that has to be a record or something. Gotta luv that it comes from a Walmart Bruce Jenner like Mark Silverman. (and GoldGirl, sorry the Bruins (also know as the Cheaters to everyone who knows about the ’67 Rose Bowl) got pummeled by the Tree.

    Thank you Quicken Loan Lurker!

  24. avatar Ben Green says:

    Very satisfying win! It was nice to have the game in hand and cruse to the win in the forth quarter.

  25. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    The bcs will now be shown the error of their wares: South Niles CC will get absolutly run over by whatever SEC team (Alabama) they face. The Cap1 Bowl a few years back will look like euthanasia.

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      man GA is gonna destroy Paris in the Cap One bowl, that’s just gonna be fun

    • avatar Tru Ghost of Bo says:

      I am sad to say, as an M man, this expert has hit the nail right on the head for the Markie Marks, and other eweofem fans. How sad, after one year basking in the glory, of a BCS bowl berth, and now just another fart in the windstorm, mediocre, team, of 8-4″

      “Mediocrity should never become a consolation.”

      “But that’s precisely where Michigan remains in Hoke’s second year.”
      “Until they’ve proven they can beat a good, ranked team on the road, the Wolverines cannot be taken seriously”
      “Where might Michigan stand now had Hoke done the smart thing and made Gardner his starter last year?”
      “Instead, they’re now eight years removed from their last Big Ten championship, the longest conference title drought since the 14-year stretch in 1950-1964.”

      Ah, so sad, that we are boasting of Reigning Supreme at being #2 or 3 or 4………..
      I hope you are happy that you can rub our nose in the fact that this is your teams 6th, straight bowl appearance and is only mighty em’s 2nd, in the Dantonio era… But as the fine sportsman and spokesghost for Eweofem, I congratulate you one your teams’ victory yesterday, as well as those Buckeyes out there that remind us that: Go State, beat Michigan is a fine cheer.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        72% of Brucie Jenner’s Offense GONE next year, a coach who tries to win a game with his best player on the sidelines. 5-7 next year with losses to the Spartans and Acorns costing Pokey his job.

        • avatar marky mark says:

          And you dumb arses will still have Maxwell!! I guess 6-6 after 6 years is better than 8-4 year 2! Dumbtonio can’t even beat an unrated team at home!

          • avatar marky mark says:

            I can’t believe the announcers said that Moo U was the most dissapointing team in the nation. Must be awesome having a coach like Dumbtonio.

          • avatar Tru Ghost of Bo says:

            Yes murky, I understand, the outrage you must feel, at knowing that the last team to beat and SEC team was not our “mediocre” blue, but the USMC’s beloved Spartans. And on the horizon is a meeting with the Georgia Bulldogs. A daunting task. And of course you know that with a defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs, when MSU dispatched them, when last encountered, will cause the Marine to
            verbally rake you over and through the coals. The best you can do is swallow and be a happy Gulo, believing that we reign supreme at being #2, 3, or 4. I will be there for you to lean on and console your bitterness. As a suggestion from the tru spokesghost, it would be best to keep your head out of peoples “Arses” as the latest picture that I will include clearly shows where your head is located:
            This was provided by the military intelligence that the Marine has alluded to:

        • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

          I can’t believe you get so many breaks at Walmart? Dumbtonio? Really? Please tell Hoke to start wearing a bra, that was just embarressing with him wearing shirt 2 sizes too small in the cold weather yesterday. Maybe he should join jenny craig with mattison and borges, the 3 fat stooges live on !

  26. avatar 79 Spartan says:

    An important game for the Spartans – extends the season and workouts for the bowl game will continue.

    Hope Jerry Kill is OK. Sorry to see his absence on the sidelines.

  27. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    with this coaching staff, i don’t think the extra practice will help that much.

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