It has been a tremendous season for Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans in 2013. Coming off a 7-6 campaign in 2012, not many people believed the Spartans would make any noise in the Big Ten in 2013, but a 10-1 start to the season and a Legends Division title has proved many doubters wrong.
As with the Spartans, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are having a far better season in 2013 than many had anticipated. The Golden Gophers are 8-3 on the season and if it wasn’t for a loss last week, they would have moved up in the rankings, hoping for a possible BCS berth.
Michigan State has one of the best defenses in the nation, but that doesn’t change the fact that its offense has been improving ever so slightly as the weeks go on this season. Connor Cook has taken over at quarterback this season and done a fantastic job, passing for 1,976 yards and 19 touchdowns while hitting his favorite target, Bennie Fowler, 30 times for 481 yards and six touchdowns. Jeremy Langford leads the 46th-ranked rushing attack with 1,076 yards and 15 touchdowns while racking up six consecutive 100-rushing-yard games.
Minnesota has not been nearly as impressive on offense this season as they expected to be — mostly in the pass game. The Golden Gophers rank 116th in the nation in passing yards per game behind sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson who has 1,211 yards and nine touchdowns on the year to go along with four interceptions and a completion rate of just 53 percent. The run game ranks 26th in the nation behind the strong rushing attack of David Cobb who has broken the 1,000-yard mark, ending up with 1,010 yards and seven touchdowns through 11 games.
Defensively, Minnesota ranks 37th in the nation in points against per game as well as posting a ranking of 47th in the country in yards allowed per contest. Michigan State, on the other hand, features the best defense in the nation, ranking fourth in points allowed per game as well as the top team in the nation in terms of yards allowed per game.
Minnesota will travel to Michigan State to take on the Spartans at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 30. The game will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.
PREDICTION: Minnesota 10, Michigan State 35