Michigan State vs. Wisconsin prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the Big Ten showdown between the Spartans and Badgers.
Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Game Preview
When: Saturday, Sept. 24 – Noon ET
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
Teams from the same conference meeting for the first time since 2012? Such is life in the world of seemingly continuous league movement and expansion. Some rivalries have been lost completely, or have been put on hold – like the one that was developing between Michigan State and Wisconsin.
Each of the past three matchups have been classics. In 2011, Kirk Cousins hit Keith Nichol on a 44-yard Hail Mary touchdown as time expired that – after review – gave the Spartans a 37-31 win. Then, in the inaugural Big Ten championship game later that season, Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns in the Badgers’ 42-39 victory that held up when the Spartans’ punt return to the 1-yard line in the final seconds was negated because of a running-into-the-kicker penalty. Le’Veon Bell then led the Spartans to a 16-13 overtime victory in the most recent matchup nearly four years ago.
What To Know About Michigan State
Michigan State played the underdog role to perfection again last week, going into South Bend and beating Notre Dame, 36-28. Quarterback Tyler O’Conner has started three games in his career, with wins at No. 1 Ohio State last year and at Notre Dame. Now he’ll be tested in his first Big Ten game of the season against a Wisconsin team that beat LSU in its opener. O’Connor will get help from a running game that finished with 260 yards against the Irish and true freshman receiver Donnie Corley, who had 88 yards and an incredible touchdown grab.
What to Know About Wisconsin
Coach Paul Chryst has a decision to make. Bart Houston started the first two games, but Chryst benched him with Wisconsin trailing Georgia State, and redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook finished 13 of 17 for 183 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the 23-17 win. If that uncertainty wasn’t enough, standout running back Corey Clement missed the contest entirely because of an ankle injury. The Badgers have been very good defensively – especially against the run – and they might have to get another stern defensive effort if the questions remain offensively.
Offense: Michigan State – Gerald Holmes (100 yards last week) and LJ Scott (98) lead the running game.
Defense: Wisconsin – Spartans had trouble with pass coverage in the second half against the Irish. The Badgers have allowed only 247 rushing yards in three games.
Special Teams: Wisconsin – Michigan State’s kick coverage remains suspect.
Coaching: Michigan State – Mark Dantonio just keeps winning big games.
Intangibles: Michigan State – The Badgers have lost their last four trips to East Lansing.
Matchup To Watch
Michigan State’s running game vs. Wisconsin’s run defense
MIchigan State makes no secret it prefers to keep the ball on the ground and use the pass as a change of pace. The Badgers have a strong front and will be waiting.
Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Betting Odds
Spread: Michigan State -5 1/2
Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Prediction
Two quality defenses will keep this tight into the fourth quarter. Michigan State is able to break through late with Holmes and Scott, and the Spartans pick up a close home victory.
Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Score Prediction: Michigan State 20, Wisconsin 14