Michigan State hosts Minnesota in the Big Ten opener for both schools, with a likely top-25 AP finish on the line. The Spartans, who have won eight straight home games, lost 39-28 in Washington. The Gophers are off to their best start since 2019 with a 49-7 win over Colorado and will face their toughest opponent of the season.
Minnesota (3-0) vs. Michigan State (2-1), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Line: Minnesota by 3 according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Series Record: Michigan State leads 30-17.
WHAT IS AT CAN?
Michigan State hopes to bounce back from its first loss of the season at Washington. It’s the start of an important stretch for the Spartans, who will have games against Maryland, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan in October. Minnesota is the leading candidate to win the Big Ten West Division and will face its first test of the season after winning three straight. Since last year, the Gophers have won six straight games and are looking to start 4-0 for the first time since 2019.
THE KEY OPPOSITE
Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim vs. Michigan State’s rushing defense. Ibrahim is averaging 154.7 yards per game and seven touchdowns. The Spartans allowed just 89.7 rushing yards per game and two touchdowns.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Minnesota: TE Brevyn Spann-Ford has developed into a reliable blocker and receiver for the Gophers, now in his fifth year with the program. With Chris Outman-Bell out, the Minnesota native is the leading receiver with eight catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.
Michigan State: QB Peyton Thorn hopes to step up his game against Washington. The junior quarterback caught a career-high 30 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns despite missing the Spartans’ injured star WR Jaden Reed. Thorne ranks third in the Big Ten and 23rd in the FBS with seven passing touchdowns.
FACTS AND FIGURES
This is Minnesota’s first trip to East Lansing in nine years. The Spartans have won five straight in the series, last losing in Minneapolis in 2009. Minnesota’s last road win at Michigan State was in 2006. … Michigan State has already committed eight fumbles and recovered six of them, both best in the FBS . … The Gophers rank second in the FBS in total defense with an average of 170.3 yards allowed per game and have allowed just 17 points in three games. They went 14 straight games, spanning 56 quarters, without scoring more than 10 points in any quarter. … Ibrahim, who ranks second in the FBS with 464 rushing yards, is on a streak of 12 consecutive games with more than 100 rushing yards. … Michigan State hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in its last 16 games.