The Spartans drop to a dismal 1-5 since jumping out to a 4-0 start and the bottom has dropped out of their season.
John L. Smith's team showed less emotion than in last week's loss at Purdue and never really put up a fight, only showing a glimpse of life in the fourth quarter.
With their top player Laurence Maroney inactive due to an ankle injury, the Gophers still racked up 327 rushing yards with the combo of Gary Russell (152 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns) and sophomore running back Amir Pinnix (32 carries, 206 yards, one touchdown).
Minnesota opened the game scoring with a 1-yard touchdown Russell on the first possession and never looked back.
The Spartans offense then continued to struggle from past weeks, going three and out on their first possession.
Freshman kicker Matt Haughey had a chance to chip away at the Gopher lead with a 28-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, but the Spartans' nightmare kicking woes continued. Haughey's kick was blocked by defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg. Haughey also had a 51-yard attempt blocked later in second quarter.
Haughey later converted a 31-yard attempt in the second quarter to record his first career field goal.
Minnesota led 21-3 at half and rested Russell, giving Pinnix playing time. They showed exactly why they are the nation's top rushing team, showcasing a possible successor to Maroney in Pinnix, to fill the gap. It is exactly why this will be the third consecutive season that Glen Mason's team has had a pair of running backs with 1,000 yards rushing.
Already bowl eligible, the Gophers improve their postseason resume, while the Spartans are faced with a tough but yet simple dilemma: beat #7 Penn State next week at home to become bowl eligible, or go home for the winter with yet a third straight season meltdown.