Badger of Honor has you covered with all of the info you need to follow Wisconsin vs. Michigan State today, as well as a prediction on who wins.
In about seven hours the No. 8 Badgers will kick off against a 4-2 Michigan State squad at Camp Randall. Wisconsin was listed as a 10.5-point favorite as of Friday with the over/under for the game sitting at 40.5, so we should probably expect a close, low-scoring slugfest this afternoon.
While Bucky is looking to stay undefeated coming off of dominant showing on both sides of the ball against Kent State last weekend, the Spartans are limping into this one after getting pummelled by arguably the nation’s best team in Ohio State. However, make no mistake, head coach Mark Dantonio has yet another solid squad this season, and this Michigan State team is fully capable of coming out of Camp Randall with an upset victory if Wisconsin isn’t clicking.
Here’s how to make sure you don’t miss out on the action.
Wisconsin and Michigan State will kick off from Camp Randall Stadium at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Where to watch
The game will air on Big Ten Network, with a crew of Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Matt Millen (analyst), and Rick Pizzo (sideline).
Other notable games that will be going on at the same time as this matchup include No. 1 Alabama at No. 24 Texas A&M (2:30 p.m. CT on CBS) and Florida State at No. 2 Clemson (2:30 p.m. on ABC).
The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network, so it will be available for you to watch via the Fox Sports Go website and app for mobile devices. A subscription and login are required to access Fox Sports Go.
If you wish to attend the game, as of Friday there appear to be tickets still available according to UW Athletics’ website.
This is going to primarily be a battle between two of the nation’s top defenses.
We all know how incredible Jim Leonhard’s unit has been so far this season, but the Spartans field an excellent defense as well. In fact, it could be the toughest this Wisconsin offense has faced all season long, and the Badgers faced a pretty solid Michigan defense already.
Michigan State has been fairly good at defending the pass, ranking No. 36 nationally in opponent average team passer rating, and will certainly put Jack Coan to the test when he airs the ball out. However, it’s Sparty’s run defense that should be most concerning to Badger fans: overall, it has been excellent throughout the season and currently sits at No. 16 in the country in rushing yards per attempt. Jonathan Taylor and Wisconsin’s rushing attack have faced little resistance this season, but Michigan State’s front seven could be a very stiff challenge. Keep an eye on that particular matchup: whichever side is winning it throughout the game will likely come out on top when the final whistle sounds.
That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that the Spartans just gave up 323 rushing yards to Ohio State last weekend in Columbus, and the run games of the Buckeyes and Badgers can probably be considered on the same elite tier nationally. I’m not saying it’s going to be that easy for Taylor and company, but that performance leads me to feel a reasonable degree of confidence that Wisconsin is going to find enough success on the ground to carry this offense today, even if the Spartans try to sell out against the run and force Jack Coan to carry the Badgers.
On the other side of the ball, Wisconsin could be tested more than it has all season by this Michigan State offense, particularly through the air. As we touched on in our piece profiling some of Sparty’s top players earlier in the week, Brian Lewerke has been one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten this season, and he has two stud receivers in Darrell Stewart Jr. and Cody White that are going to be tough covers for the Badgers’ defensive backs. The Spartans also have a solid running back in Elijah Collins who has been among the most productive at his position in the conference.
However, while I do think Michigan State has a chance to be more successful against this Wisconsin defense than any other offense this season, that’s not necessarily saying much considering how lights-out the Badgers have been. Additionally, the only other defense the Spartans have faced so far that is as Wisconsin’s level is Ohio State, and they failed that test miserably. They may put up enough points to help their defense keep the game close throughout, but I expect the Badgers to hold firm and keep the Spartans in catch-up mode for most of the contest.
In our preseason game-by-game predictions, I picked the Badgers to come out on top in this matchup by a 17-14 margin. I’ll keep the Spartans at that score, but with how incredible Jonathan Taylor has been playing and how impressive this Wisconsin offense has been in general, I think Bucky might put up a few more points than that.
Badgers take down the Spartans, 24-14.
Badger of Honor will be live-tweeting updates and analysis of the game as it happens. Stay tuned to our Twitter account and follow us @BadgerOfHonorFS.
All stats courtesy of Team Rankings