GOPHERS REPLAY

NO. 15 MICHIGAN STATE 31, GOPHERS 24

The recap: The MarQueis Gray-to-Da'Jon McKnight combination provided three touchdowns and the Gophers stayed competitive with a ranked team on the road. But Michigan State outscored the Gophers 10-0 in the fourth quarter to remain atop the Leaders Division.

What was learned: In six weeks, the Gophers have gone from hopelessly overwhelmed to gamely competitive in the Big Ten, and their quarterback is progressing into the dual-threat leader they had hoped.

YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

• Twelve different players have received starts in the six offensive-line positions (including tight end).

• The Gophers' 415 yards of offense was their second-highest total this year, and by holding Michigan State to 402 yards the Gophers outgained an opponent for the first time in 2011.

• McKnight's 64-yard touchdown catch was the longest of his career and the Gophers' longest play from scrimmage this season.

UP NEXT: WISCONSIN

2:30 p.m. Saturday, TCF Bank Stadium

TV, radio: BTN, 100.3-FM

Records: Gophers 2-7, 1-4 Big Ten; Wisconsin 7-2, 3-2

The skinny: The 16th-ranked Badgers, humbled by back-to-back last-minute losses to Michigan State and Ohio State, responded by scoring 62 points against Purdue on Saturday, the sixth time this season they have piled up 48 points or more. Wisconsin has won the Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe seven consecutive times and in 14 of the past 16 meetings.

PHIL MILLER