No. 21 MSU takes momentum from Michigan win to Minnesota

No. 21 Michigan State (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) at Minnesota (3-2, 0-2), Saturday 8 p.m. ET (BTN).

Line: Michigan State by 4.

Series record: Michigan State leads 29-17.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Michigan State, coming off an inspired upset at Michigan, is back in the Top 25 for the first time since Sept. 25, 2016. The Spartans are 8-2 under coach Mark Dantonio in the games played immediately after the rival Wolverines, so don’t expect a letup on the road against a Gophers team still finding its way in Big Ten play under first-year coach P.J. Fleck. The Spartans should be favored the next two weeks, too, before Penn State and Ohio State arrive on the schedule for the first two games in November.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan State linebacker Joe Bachie vs. Minnesota running backs Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith. The sophomore Bachie, who was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after tallying 10 tackles, a sack, an interception, a forced fumble and a pass breakup against Michigan, leads the Spartans in tackles and drives a defense that’s ranked fourth in the FBS in yards per game allowed. The Gophers are averaging 190 yards rushing per game, with Smith and Brooks ranking sixth and seventh in the conference among individual rushers.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan State: FS David Dowell. He became the first Spartans player with two interceptions in one game since Trae Waynes on Oct. 4, 2014.

Minnesota: QB Conor Rhoda. He has four turnovers in two Big Ten games, including an interception that killed a final-minute drive against both Maryland and Purdue with the Gophers trailing by a touchdown each time.

FACTS & FIGURES

Dantonio is 4-1 against the Gophers, with four wins in a row. The only loss was 42-34 on Oct. 31, 2009, a night game at Minnesota that included 865 yards of offense, 26 penalties and five turnovers between the two teams. … Spartans QB Brian Lewerke has led the team in rushing in four of five games. … The Gophers are the least-penalized team in the Big Ten and eighth in the FBS. They’ve been flagged 21 times, down from the 43 penalties they had through five games last season.

___

For more college football coverage: http://www.collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25


Source: USA Today Fan Sports Poll

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *