Michigan State will try to close out a hugely successful 2013 campaign with a win over Minnesota on Saturday afternoon. The Spartans haven't lost a game since September and may not have any recollection of what losing feels like. If Vegas has this game pegged correctly, the Gophers aren't going to provide them a reminder.
Minnesota has had a fine year as well -- eight wins is concrete evidence of progress for head coach Jerry Kill, who inherited a program that was struggling to compete in the Big Ten. The Gophers' challenge this week will be cracking Michigan State's incredibly stout defense.
The Spartans are allowing 12.5 points per game while giving up a paltry 3.8 yards per play. It looks like a rough matchup for Minnesota, particularly considering how well Michigan State has stopped the run.
Rankings and records: Michigan State is 10-1 (7-0) and Legends Division champs. The Spartans rank 11th in both major polls, as well as the BCS standings. Minnesota checks in at 8-3 (4-3). MSU holds a 28-17 lead in the all-time series.
Vegas: Michigan State opened as a 14-point favorite.
Weather: A high in the upper 30s is expected in East Lansing. There's a slight chance of rain.
Three names to know
Connor Cook -- It's not the Michigan State offense that's made headlines this year, but Cook deserves credit for doing a solid job of running things, and perhaps more importantly, avoiding mistakes. He has just three interceptions in 285 attempts. That's some fine work for a first-year starter.
David Cobb -- In their three losses this year, the Gophers' running game has been shut down. They'll need a solid effort from Cobb, who surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark last week. When he disappears, Minnesota's offensive production tends to follow.
Jeremy Langford -- Langford ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 1,074 rushing yards and leads the league with 15 scores on the ground. The Spartans' workhorse has gone over 100 yards rushing in six straight games.
Two things at stake
Michigan State's place in the Big Ten title game is assured, so in that sense at least, the game against the Gophers means little. The Spartans can't work their way into the BCS title discussion no matter how they finish, but capping the regular season with an eighth-straight win would still feel pretty good.
Minnesota's season should go down as a success regardless of the outcome against MSU. The Gophers haven't won eight games or more in a season since 2003, and it wasn't long ago that they were trudging through a pair of three-win campaigns.
How to witness
TV: Big Ten Network, noon ET
Online streaming: BTN2Go