Michigan State (4-4) at Wisconsin (6-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 27, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Camp Randall Stadium (80,321) -- Madison, Wisconsin.
Television: ABC. Home Record: MSU 2-3, Wisconsin 5-0. Away Record: MSU 2-1,
Wisconsin 1-2. Neutral Record: MSU 0-0, Wisconsin 0-0. Conference Record: MSU
1-3, Wisconsin 3-1. Series Record: Michigan State leads, 29-22.
GAME NOTES: The Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan State Spartans are set to renew
their wild rivalry, as the two will square off against one another at Camp
Randall Stadium in Madison this weekend.
This will be a rematch of last season's inaugural Big Ten Championship game.
The Spartans beat Wisconsin in last year's regular-season meeting on a Hail
Mary, but the Badgers returned the favor in the Big Ten Championship, winning
42-39 in the waning moments. MSU leads the all-time series, 29-22.
Michigan State sits at .500 and has dropped three of its last four outings.
Last week, the Spartans were on the wrong end of a 12-10 final at rival
Michigan -- their first to the Wolverines since 2007 -- and they remain two
wins shy of bowl eligibility. Following this tilt, they'll return home to face
Nebraska and Northwestern.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin is 5-0 at home this season and has won five of its last
six games overall. The Badgers were also in action this past weekend as they
topped Minnesota, 38-13. Both of their losses on the season came on the road
by a margin of three points (Oregon State, Nebraska).
Michigan State's offense has been enigmatic throughout the season. Playing at
home two weeks ago, the Spartans put up just 16 points in regulation and two
overtimes against Iowa. Last week, they managed only 10 points against
Michigan, and it took some trickery to get to those 10 points. Trailing 9-7
late in the fourth quarter, the Spartans executed a fake punt to keep the
drive alive and set up Dan Conroy's go-ahead field goal with 5:48 remaining.
Prior to that, Andrew Maxwell threw an interception that opened the door for
Michigan to take the lead. Credit Michigan's defense, as the Wolverines had
not allowed a touchdown in eight quarters until Maxwell's two-yard pass to
Paul Lang in the third quarter. The Wolverines also clamped down on running
back Le'Veon Bell, who was averaging 131 rushing yards per game but managed
only 68 yards on 26 carries.
The top priority last week for MSU's defense was not letting Michigan
quarterback Denard Robinson make big plays with his legs. The Spartans were
successful on that front in the first half, holding Robinson to only 17
rushing yards on 12 carries. Robinson did, however, find some more running
room after halftime and finished with a game-high 96 yards on the ground. The
Spartans secondary was strong throughout, as they held Robinson to 163 yards
on 14-of-29 passing and also notched an interception. Allen Denicos was all
over the field, notching a game-high 11 tackles (eight solo), including three
for loss, and a pass breakup. Despite their 4-4 record, the Spartans are fifth
in the nation in total defense (277.1 ypg) and are 11th in scoring defense
Wisconsin has picked things up on the offensive side of the ball, averaging
34.2 points over its last five games. Heisman candidate Montee Ball has
averaged a healthy 122.8 rushing yards per game on the season and has
continued to score at an impressive rate, notching 13 TDs on the year after
scoring a record 39 last season. Ball rushed for 247 yards and three scores at
Purdue two weeks ago, then finished with 166 yards and two TDs on the ground
against Minnesota last week. But he wasn't the main cog against the Golden
Gophers, as backfield mate James White carried 15 times for 175 yards and
three TDs. That tandem has been deadly of late, with White also rushing for
124 yards and a score against Purdue.
The Badgers intercepted Minnesota freshman quarterback Philip Nelson twice,
and the offense turned those picks into 10 points. Aside from the takeaways,
Wisconsin was not all that generous on defense. All told, Minnesota managed
only 12 first downs and 245 yards of total offense. The Badgers held Minnesota
to 1-of-10 on third down, as the Gophers lost the time-of-possession battle by
nearly 10 minutes. Senior linebacker Mike Taylor had another monster game,
racking up a game-high 12 tackles. On the season, Taylor ranks second in the
Big Ten and 13th nationally in tackles, averaging 10.5 stops per game. He is
also second in the conference in tackles for loss (10.0). Chris Borland is
second on the team with 67 tackles and has notched a team-high 4.5 sacks.
Wisconsin has won 21 in a row at Camp Randall Stadium, the second-longest home
winning streak in the nation. The Badgers should be able to make it 22 in a
row with another healthy dose of Ball and White.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 34, Michigan State 23
10/24 10:32:54 ET
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