I need to first apologize to all my loyal readers out there for not getting this blog out until Monday afternoon. I was at a wedding in New York City and as a result, was unable to watch any of the Spartan game against Minnesota this weekend. I did keep up with the score on my phone, a game in which Michigan State ultimately won, 31-8. I do not get ESPN, because instead of showing the first place Spartans, they televised the game pitting those teams trying to take sole possession of 9th place in the Big Ten. It does not make any sense, and for that reason I was watching the defensive struggle between Illinois and Michigan, instead of watching my beloved Spartans play. Also, on the East Coast, most places do not carry the Big Ten Network, so any hopes I had of trying to find a bar to watch it at were quickly shot-down a fellow Spartan from Manhattan. So this week I will be doing my best ESPN College Analyst impersonation to tell you about a game I only saw highlights of on Sportscenter! The one thing I do know is that MSU is 9-1 heading into their well-deserved bye week, with only two games left on the regular season schedule (Purdue at home and Penn State on the road). This break could not come at a better time with all the injuries the Spartans have, and hopefully everyone can get healthy for the stretch run to a Big Ten Championship. Enough ranting, on to the game…
Michigan State was finally able to get the running game back on track, as the Spartans rushed for 189 yards, the most since October 9th against Michigan. Edwin Baker led the charge with 179 of those yards, while scoring 4 touchdowns on the afternoon. He had three touchdown runs of 1 yard and the other was from 30 yards out. Kirk Cousins seemed to be off a bit against this week, as he completed under 50% of passes for the game. He only threw for 131 yards, while throwing for one interception and no touchdowns. Senior wide receiver B.J. Cunningham led all receivers with 4 receptions for 40 yards. Mark Dell also contributed to the effort, catching 2 balls for 35 yards. He left the game after hurting his knee, but should be okay to return after the bye week.
The defense played well as a unit, as they almost pitched their first shutout of the year. Minnesota’s only touchdown came with ten minutes to go in the ball game, on a 9 yard touchdown pass from QB Adam Weber. Other than that, the Spartan defense kept the Golden Gopher quarterback in check, holding him to only 167 yards passing on the day. They also did well against the run, holding Minnesota to 76 yards on 31 carries. Marcus Hyde added to his Big Ten lead in interceptions, as he picked off his fourth pass of the year.
Final Score: Michigan State 31 Minnesota 8
Michigan State is right on track to at least get a share of the Big Ten title, as long as they take care of business the next three weeks. The time off should help re-energize a Spartan team that is banged up right now. I look for those who are injured, Keshawn Martin, Mark Dell, Chris Norman, Chris McDonald and Darqueze Dennard, to all return healthy and ready to go after the bye week. It should be a fun and exciting sprint to the finish line for the Spartans, and 11-1 has a nice New Year’s Day ring to it. Look for my “mid-season” review later this week…
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Written by David Lesmeister