Minnesota football won a close defensive battle over Michigan State Saturday afternoon, 27-12.

The Golden Gophers are now 5-3 on the season, just 1 win away from bowl eligibility following a gutsy win in Minneapolis. On the other side of things, Michigan State now sits at 2-6 on the season in what has been a nightmare of a 2023 campaign.

Here are 3 takeaways from Minnesota’s win over the Spartans.

Jordan Nubin scores first TD at Minnesota, leads all rushers

This game was won on the ground by Minnesota, and Jordan Nubin was the star of the show.

Nubin notched his first touchdown as a Golden Gopher Saturday and it came at the perfect time. With Michigan State still hanging around down just 4 points at the start of the 4th quarter, Nubin sprung a rush outside and scampered 18 yards for 6.

Check it out below:

He followed it up a few possessions later, adding another score to put the Spartans away for good.


Nubin led all rushers Saturday, finishing with 204 yards on 40 attempts with the above rushing touchdowns. It shatters his previous high on the season in which he rushed for 25 yards in a loss to Michigan.

Athan Kaliakmanis was far from perfect, but he did more than enough

Athan Kaliakmanis has some slip-ups on Saturday, but he also delivered when it counted. And that’s all the Golden Gophers can ask from their QB1 in Week 9.

Kaliakmanis completed 14 of his 22 passing attempts for 200 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

He gave Minnesota its first lead of the day with this dart to Dan Jackson for 6:

Let’s give Jackson his flowers, too. The Minnesota receiver had a strong outing, hauling in 7 receptions for 120 yards and the above touchdown.

Defense gets it done

Minnesota’s defense didn’t stack up any incredible turnover or sack numbers on Saturday, but it made life nearly impossible for a struggling Spartans squad.

Michigan State totaled just 299 yards and found the end zone just once. Michigan State also struggled mightily on 3rd down, finishing just 4-13.

Minnesota finished with 3 tackles for loss, 2 pass breakups and forced 1 fumble with 1 sack on the evening. The Gophers sealed the win with a late interception by Tre’Von Jones.

The Golden Gophers will face off against Illinois next week, looking to clinch bowl eligibility.