Sept 22, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Jerry Kill reacts after a fumble recovery in the second half against the Syracuse Orange at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers won 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Minnesota may need to beat Michigan State to become bowl eligible


Tom Dienhart brought up a good point Wednesday in his weekly mailbag column.

Minnesota needs one more win to become bowl eligible and it could get it against Michigan State.

The Gophers do not necessarily have the easiest slate of games to navigate through. Its remaining schedule includes a home matchup against Michigan, games at Illinois and Nebraska, and a home bout against Michigan State to close out the season. However, the game against MSU could be the game that catapults Minnesota into a bowl game.

“Heck, (Minnesota) could beat Michigan and Michigan State, given the way those offenses have struggled,” Dienhart wrote. “But could the Gophers score enough vs. the stout defense of the Wolverines and Spartans?”

Yes, Michigan State has struggled on offense this season, but it has found rhythm the past two games against Michigan and Wisconsin. Andrew Maxwell is slowly developing at the quarterback position and his receivers are beginning to find open holes down field.

Dienhart is correct about questioning the Gophers ability to score points against the Spartans’ defense. Michigan State is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation in defense and has held eight of its opponents to 20 points or fewer this season.

Minnesota will likely get a win against Illinois to become bowl eligible, but if freshman quarterback Phillip Nelson fails to move the ball against the Illini, coach Jerry Kill may have to put all of his chips on the table against the Spartans to get into the post season.

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