Winning games in the Big Ten is not an easy feat. Michigan State football knows this all too well and the Spartans also know that Saturday’s conference opener against Minnesota is extremely important.
Michigan State is opening a tough conference stretch in which it will face the Gophers, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Michigan over the next month. Throw in a road game against Maryland in there, too, and you have an absolute gauntlet of games approaching.
I think this is the perfect statement game opportunity for Michigan State and Mel Tucker and Co. will rise to the occasion.
Here’s why I think the Spartans will beat Minnesota.
3. Tanner Morgan isn’t going to beat the defense by himself
At one point about a decade ago, Tanner Morgan was a breakout passer. OK, it wasn’t quite a decade, but it feels like it. Back in 2019, he threw for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, but he has grown into more of a game manager since then. He has had just over 3,300 yards and 17 touchdowns with 14 interceptions over the past two seasons.
Morgan has come back down to earth but he is off to a great start to his 2022 season and a lot of that success can be attributed to the lack of quality opponents on the schedule through three games.
The senior quarterback has 618 yards and four touchdowns while completing over 71 percent of his passes. He does, however, have just one game through three in which he has over 200 passing yards.
Michigan State’s weakness is its secondary and pass defense and the Gophers’ biggest strength is the run game. This is a much more favorable matchup for the Spartans because Morgan isn’t going to beat Michigan State with his arm, especially with Chris Autman-Bell out.