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Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Michigan St. Spartans Week 14 Betting Predictions & Preview

Minnesota vs Michigan St. NCAA Football Handicapping

The 11th-ranked Michigan State State Spartans have some work to do before making it through to the Big Ten title game with a date against the 8-3 Minnesota Golden Gophers still in front of them.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-3) at 11 Michigan State Spartans (10-1)
Date: Saturday, November 30, 2013
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Venue: Spartan Stadium
City: East Lansing, Michigan
O/U Odds: 41
Spread: Michigan State -15

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Michigan State picked up a win in their last game that would have looked far more impressive earlier in the season, beating up on what we thought was a good Northwestern team, 30-6.

The Wildcats have been mired in a terrible losing streak, so Michigan State’s win wasn’t anything to write home about, but there were some positives to draw on. First on that list was the performance of quarterback Connor Cook who completed 16 of 23 passes for 293 yards and a pair of scores without an interception.

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The team spent a while hoping one of their quarterbacks would take a stranglehold on the starting gig and Cook has officially done just that. Running back Jeremy Langford had himself a day against the Wildcats as well, turning 25 carries into 150 yards and a pair of scores, adding 35 yards on two receptions.
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Michigan State’s defense didn’t have as good a day as the final score would indicate. They did surrender 319 yards of offense, but also forced the only three turnovers of the game. The unit bent but didn’t break, stopping Northwestern on 11 of 15 third down attempts, and two of three fourth down attempts.

Minnesota saw a four-game winning streak snapped for the second time this season in their last outing, this time against Wisconsin, 20-7.

The team’s offense never did get going in that one, as they were limited to just 185 yards of offense. A big part of that was that their passing game was non-existent. Quarterback Philip Nelson completed just seven of 23 passes for 83 yards. As such, the team couldn’t get anything going on the ground either. Running back David Cobb got the bulk of the touches out of the backfield, rushing for 68 yards on 17 carries. In addition to that, the team lost three fumbles, a big part of why Wisconsin possessed the ball for better than 10 minutes longer than Minnesota.

The Minnesota defense was effective, limiting the Badgers to just 324 yards of offense and 20 points. They also recorded the only interception of the game. They had plenty of trouble stopping the run though, allowing Badger running backs James White and Melvin Gordon to rush for 194 yards on 38 carries.

Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio is already campaigning for a BCS berth, but overlooking a good Gophers team would be a mistake. The Michigan State defense has been fantastic this season, but giving away better than two touchdowns is asking a lot from an offense that has been wildly inconsistent this season. Don’t expect a blowout in a matchup between Big Ten opponents.

The play: Minnesota +15

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