WISCONSIN BADGERS (3-0) at MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS (2-0)
WHERE: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
KICKOFF: Saturday, September 24th @ 12:00 p.m. ET
TV/RADIO: BTN/Spartan Sports Network (Check local listings)
GAMETIME FORCAST: A 10 percent chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a high of 71. Winds out of the East, Northeast around 8 mph.
BETTING LINE: MSU -4.5
Following last week’s win over rival Notre Dame, Michigan State has another high profile game this week as they welcome the Wisconsin Badgers to Spartan Stadium for the first time since 2011. In a game that few Spartan fans will soon forget, MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins found Keith Nichol on a miracle hail mary touchdown as time expired. The two schools also met in the inaugural Big Ten Championship in 2011, a game that the Badgers won, and again in 2012 when the Spartans emerged victorious in Madison. Both teams are ranked within the top-15 as each school kicks off their Big Ten schedule.
For Michigan State it was their signature rushing attack and punishing defense that led them to a victory in South Bend last Saturday. The dynamic duo of LJ Scott and Gerald Holmes racked up nearly 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, senior QB Tyler O’Connor had an efficient game, completing over 70 percent of his throws and passing for 2 touchdowns in the win.
After opening the season with an upset of then-No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field, Wisconsin is off to a 3-0 start and has risen to No. 11 in the AP Poll. Coming into the season much of the talk surrounding the Badgers was the gauntlet of a schedule they faced. Over the next four games, UW has back-to-back road games against MSU and Michigan, a home game against Ohio State, and another road game in Iowa. A loss this Saturday in East Lansing, and the Badgers could very easily be staring at 0-3 in Big Ten play.
Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst has decided to go with redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook at quarterback for Saturday’s contest, as the young signal-caller makes his first career start. Hornibrook came into the game last Saturday in relief of senior starting QB Bart Houston during the Badgers 23-17 win over Georgia State. How the first time starter handles a hostile environment at Spartan Stadium will be one key to the game. Another key will be the status of halfback Corey Clement. The senior RB is questionable with an ankle injury. Look for Wisconsin to try impose their will on the Spartan defense and establish the run early in a game that figures to be tightly-contested throughout.