Abdul-Khaliq puts up big numbers in a losing effort

Dan Miller

Minnesota quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq connected with eight receivers Saturday, posting a career-high 377 yards passing.

Ten of Abdul-Khaliq’s completions came from receivers not in the Gophers’ starting lineup.

Minnesota senior wide receiver Tony Patterson had a big day for the Gophers, catching six passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.

Gophers sophomore wide receiver Jakari Wallace saw his first career catch and touchdown reception in the fourth quarter Saturday.

Junior wide receiver Keith Matthews recorded his first reception of the year for the Gophers on a 7-yard completion.

“We were called on today to throw the ball a little more,” Abdul-Khaliq said. “It just goes to show that we have a lot of depth at the receiver position.”

Starting senior wide out Aaron Hosack also had a career game, setting highs in receptions (eight), receiving yards (113) and receiving touchdowns (two).

MSU’s solid kicking game

Michigan State’s kicking game was nearly flawless as the Spartans went 3-for-3 in field goal attempts and fished with a punt average of 47.6 yards, with three ending up inside Minnesota’s 20-yard line.

Spartans kicker Dave Rayner recorded three field goals of 46, 50 and 52 yards.

Before Rayner’s 52-yard field goal in the third quarter, the Spartans lined up to punt, then took a timeout and brought the field goal unit on for the attempt.

Rayner also made a 53-yard attempt in the fourth quarter, but it was nullified because of an illegal-formation penalty.

Michigan State freshman punter Brandon Fields booted a 69-yard punt to the Minnesota 9-yard line and the ball was downed.

“All phases of the kicking game, even our return game, played a huge role today,” Fields said. “It changed the entire game.”

Gophers defense starts flat

Saturday, Minnesota’s opponent scored first for only the second time this season.

Minnesota finally got a spark when junior defensive back Justin Fraley recorded his second sack of the season in the third quarter.

“I was kind of surprised, because that’s not us,” Fraley said of the first half. “We’re not a team to start slow.”

Junior linebacker Darrell Reid also recorded a sack in the game and has four and a half on the season.

“We were just disappointed about the entire first half in general,” Reid said. “We let up a lot of points as a defense. We just came out flat.”

Penalty problems?

Despite the victory, Michigan State had a tough time limiting its penalties. The Spartans recorded 12 penalties in the game for 110 yards, with two coming from late-hit personal fouls.

The Spartans are 2-0 when amassing 110 or more yards in penalties. They had 131 penalty yards in their 20-10 victory against Iowa.