(11) Wisconsin Badgers at (8) Michigan State Spartans
Wisconsin: They play with a lot of grit and grind and you have to really appreciate football teams like that. When they are truly focused and have everything clicking for them, their defense can hang with just about any offense in college football. They didn’t necessarily look the greatest last week against Georgia Southern, but they got by and now sit at 3-0. Let’s not also forget that the Badgers started the season unranked and upset a then fifth ranked Tigers team of LSU to open things up. The big time positive for Wisconsin approaching the game this week is Corey Clement is expected to be back after missing last week. Alex Hornibrook is now the starting quarterback and with him under center, they’ll have a more prolific passing attack to go along with Clement. It’s the start of Big Ten play and they’ll travel to East Lansing on Saturday morning.
Michigan State: In that stacked Big Ten East, they’re sitting at 3-0 but very quietly. I know they’ve lost a few players from last year, but they are doing very well with what they have in the line up now. This Sparty team this year is no different from past teams. Mark Dantonio wants to establish a nice ground game and wants the defense to get after it and get a takeaway here and there. They’re riding high right now after a huge win on the road in South Bend over a Notre Dame team who was the heavy favorite coming into that game. Now, they look to relish on the chance to get off on the right track as conference play begins. On Saturday morning, they will face a very familiar opponent that they’ve come to know all too well, the Wisconsin Badgers.
Wisconsin Player To Watch– Alex Hornibrook: The offense enters with a lot of questions surrounding them. Paul Chryst decided to pull Bart Houston and put Hornibrook in under center. If Clement doesn’t play, he’ll need to play smart and take care of the ball as he faces an opportunistic defense.
Michigan State Player To Watch– Josiah Price: Every quarterback needs that go-to guy that can move the chains on third down and Josiah Price can be that guy. If Tyler O’Connor struggles to find anything down the field, this will be his security blanket over the middle. He could help O’Connor out in a big way by catching five-plus short passes and turning them into 10 or 15-yard gainers like he has the potential to.
Prediction: They always play some classic games and I’m not expecting anything differently with this one. Michigan State definitely has the upperhand in more phases of the game than Wisconsin does. I like Sparty at home in this one. Michigan State 24 Wisconsin 17