Players to Watch

For the sixth time the season, the Gophers head into a conference game looking for their first Big Ten win. On Saturday they will face one of the top teams in the conference in Michigan State. Last season, the Gophers won a Halloween shootout against the Spartans by a score of 42-34. The game will no doubt be another battle and a player from each squad could tip the scales for their team.

Last week against the top rushing defense in the conference, the Gophers' DeLeon Eskridge had a solid game with 79 yards rushing including the team's only touchdown.

While these aren't outstanding numbers but only John Clay of Wisconsin and Mikel Leshoure of Illinois have put up more rushing yards against Ohio State in conference play. Eskridge has been getting the majority of the carries for the Gophers and has made the most of it by always running hard and with purpose.

Eskridge should be able to find some space against the Michigan State defense on Saturday. The Spartans have given an up an average 123.8 yards and one touchdown per game on the ground. Expect Eskridge to get lots of carries and grind out some rushing yards for the Gophers.

The man in charge of stopping the Gophers' offense is All-American linebacker Greg Jones. Jones has been absolutely dominant this season.

He is currently leading the Big Ten with 78 tackles, 33 of them solo and one sack. Jones has been a key part to the Spartan defense this year. He is a very solid run stopping linebacker but excels in coverage.

At 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds, Jones is big enough to take on big running backs but also has the speed and athleticism to shut down a tight end in coverage. Expect Jones to be all over the fall, eating up the run and limiting passes across the middle.

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