Five Takeaways: Minnesota edition

The offense wasn't at its best, but what did we learn about the Spartans in their win Saturday? Also, what defensive player is quietly having an outstanding season and more.

1. Minnesota is a poor man's Michigan State

I was very impressed by Minnesota on Saturday. The Gophers were pretty solid defensively, although Michigan State didn't make it too hard on them with a lackluster performance. Minnesota plays the game like Michigan State, Wisconsin and Iowa do – they seek to control the clock, win in the trenches, run the ball and play tough defense. It's impressive to see what Jerry Kill and Co. has done with the Gophers.

2. Consistency thy name is Jeremy Langford and Tony Lippett

I said to Langford after the game it feels like we ask him every week now about how it feels to post another 100-yard game – because we as the media do, but more so because he keeps producing. Lippett is in the same category. The pair of Spartans have been the most consistent on the offense in the second half of the season and are reliable threats.

Nothing was more clear than when MSU targeted Lippett on its first three plays of the second half and four on the drive. He is the go-to receiver now and he is thriving on that.

3. Growth means ups and downs

As Michigan State's offense has grown throughout the season – in more insane ways than anyone could have imagined in August/September – the reality remains that there will be ups and downs. This game was another down performance, similar to Purdue. Those are the growing pains you have to expect from an offense and fortunately for the Spartans it hasn't cost them a game this season as they learn and take those bumps.

4. Denicos Allen has quietly had an outstanding season

Since he recorded 11 sacks in 2011, Allen has been a huge part of the MSU defense, but he has quietly gone about leading the team in tackles and tackles for loss this season. It might not be flashy, but Allen has been playing great football week in and week out for the Spartans and really hasn't gotten the attention for it.

5. It's time to buckle up for Indy

With Ohio State's win against Michigan, the Big Ten got two undefeated conference teams into the title game and it probably is the biggest of them in the three-year history. Michigan State and Wisconsin played a thriller two years ago and it was an outstanding game that would be tough to top, but on paper this matchup is on a different level. It also carries a different level of intrigue since the two teams haven't played in the regular season.


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