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November 06, 2010

Minnesota in a nutshell

MSU has nine wins for the 11th time in school history, can get to 10 for the third time (1965 and 1999) with a Nov. 20 win over Purdue, and can get to 11 for the first time ever the next week at Penn State, which is starting to look like a real football team.

    * Mark Dantonio has two of those niners, joining Biggie Munn and Duffy Daugherty as the only coaches in MSU history with more than one. Chester Brewer (1905) George Perles (1987) and Nick Saban (1999) had one each. Also, Dantonio's 31 wins is the most for an MSU coach in his first four seasons, eclipsing Brewer's 30 from 1903-06 (obviously they played fewer games back then).

    * Edwin Baker was the only really impressive thing today for MSU. He was tremendous. Everyone else was OK or thereabouts. But I will say this: Credit Minnesota for continuing to play hard amid this catastrophe of a season.

    * Kirk Cousins talked quite frankly about the throwing-off-the-back-foot thing that seems to be happening more often lately. Basically, he said you have to keep your eyes downfield and not let them drift to the pass rush. When they drift, a rushed, back-foot throw is often the result. He knows what's going on, now it's a matter of getting comfortable again in the pocket. But this kind of thing happens when a QB gets hit as much as Cousins has this season.

    * The injury situation is actually pretty good for MSU, considering two weeks before the next game. Kevin Pickelman was back. Coaches said Mark Dell (lower leg), Keshawn Martin (ankle) and Chris Norman (lower leg) could have gone if needed. Darqueze Dennard (knee) is expected back for Purdue. The biggest question mark is Chris McDonald, who appeared to hurt his knee against Iowa. He was not dressed and he was limping into the locker room after the game. Jared McGaha and Micajah Reynolds got some valuable reps at RG, and Denicos Allen got some reps behind Jon Misch.

    * Some wild games in the Big Ten today, including an apparent basketball thriller in Ann Arbor. Indiana drops the winning TD vs. Iowa (a loss that would have helped MSU, but the Spartans are fine as long as Iowa beats OSU and Wisconsin wins out). And Northwestern was just steamrolled in the final 31 minutes by Penn State. Congrats to Joe Paterno on No. 400, and on finally finding a QB.

    * Note the correction above, it's actually the 11th nine-win season in MSU history.

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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter
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