Five Answers: Minnesota

We raised five questions / points of interest prior to the Spartans playing Minnesota on Saturday. We now go back and give you the answers following the Spartans 31-24 victory.

While it may not go down as one of the better played games during the 2011 season, Saturday's 31-24 victory kept Michigan State at the top of the Big Ten with their sights set on reaching Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game.

Here are the answers to the five questions we asked prior to the game.

Question One: Will the Spartans take Minnesota lightly?

Answer One: No! It would be easy to say the Spartans took the Golden Gophers lightly when you look at the final outcome. However, Jerry Kill is a very good coach who guided his team to an upset victory over Iowa just the week before. So we'll give Minnesota the benefit of the doubt and say they brought their "A" game against the Spartans.

Question Two: Will the Spartans be able to throw the football?

Answer Two: Yes! Kirk Cousins was a solid 23-34-0 for 296 yards and two touchdowns on the day. The Spartans saw the continued emergence of Keshawn Martin as a receiving threat and B.J. Cunningham was his usually self with 104 yards on three catches.

Question Three: Can the Spartans get a running attack established?

Answer Three: Yes & No! LeVeon Bell continues to become the main back over Edwin Baker as the sophomore rushed for 96 yards on 15 carries (6.4 AVG) and two touchdowns. Baker was not able to get things going rushing for only 24 yards on eight carries (2.5 AVG). Overall the Spartans rushed for 106 yards (3.8 AVG) and must improve if the goal is to reach the Big Ten Championship Game.

Question Four: Will the Spartans be able to contain dual-threat quarterback MarQueis Gray?

Answer Four: Yes & No! Gray showed why many feel he can be one of the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten. On the day he rushed for 71 yards but aired it out 32 times connecting on 19 for 295 yards and three touchdowns. His two interceptions make this more of a yes than no.

Question Five: Can the Spartans get pressure on the quarterback?

Answer Five: Yes! The Spartans recorded two sacks to go with four quarterback hurries. However, many expected more out of one of the top defenses in the country.

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