7 p.m., TCF Bank Stadium • TV: BTN • Radio: 100.3-FM • Line: MSU by 4 • Series: MSU leads 29-17

The opponent

Fresh off a 14-10 victory over archrival Michigan, the Spartans make only their third visit to TCF Bank Stadium. Michigan State (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) will bring its usual stingy defense (fourth nationally at 258.6 yards per game) and a grind-it-out offense. The Spartans have rebounded well from last year’s 3-9 debacle

Player to watch

Quarterback Brian Lewerke gives the Spartans a running threat. Running back L.J. Scott is questionable, Lewerke, who averages 5.8 yards per carry, figures to shoulder more of the load.

Gophers offense vs. Spartans defense

Minnesota’s run game will be tested. The Spartans shut down Iowa and Michigan the past two weeks. QB Conor Rhoda has hit tight ends more of late, and that will be key. Watch for MSU linebacker Joe Bachie, one of the Big Ten’s best. Advantage: Spartans

Gophers defense vs. Spartans offense

Injuries have decimated the Gophers secondary, although the expected return of safety Duke McGhee will help. Gophers must contain Lewerke to have a chance. Advantage: Spartans

Special teams

Ryan Santoso leads the Big Ten in punting (44.4 yards per punt), and kicker Emmit Carpenter has a solid track record. Michigan State’s Matt Coghlin has attempted only three field goals this year, making two. Advantage: Gophers

Intangibles

The Gophers could get a boost because this is a night game, but the Spartans are rolling after tight wins over Iowa and Michigan. Lewerke is getting more comfortable, too, hitting on 65.1 percent of his throws. He has nine TDs and just two INTs. Advantage: Spartans

RJ’S PREDICTION

MICHIGAN STATE 17

GOPHERS 14

Can’t get past those injuries in the secondary. If Antoine Winfield Jr. was playing, the prediction would be flipped.