Detroit News predictions: Michigan State vs. Wisconsin
Matt Charboneau, Angelique S. Chengelis, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s Michigan State vs. Wisconsin game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. (3:30, BTN/760).
►Matt Charboneau: After giving up more than 300 yards rushing last week at Ohio State, it might not seem like facing Jonathan Taylor and the Wisconsin offense is the best development for the Spartans. But this is different and it could be a matchup that favors Michigan State. As good as the Badgers are up front, it’s a more straight-forward attack that doesn’t include a dynamic quarterback with tons of weapons. If MSU can continue to move the ball, it will be in the position to pull this one out late. Michigan State 24, Wisconsin 20
►Angelique S. Chengelis: Wisconsin is unbeaten and has three shutouts by substantial margins this season against teams the Badgers were expected to pound. They’ve held their two Big Ten opponents to 14 points (Michigan) and 15 points (Northwestern), and here come the Spartans facing another tough opponent in back-to-back road games. Michigan State lost 34-10 at Ohio State last Saturday and allowed 323 rushing yards (529 total). The Buckeyes appear to be a different animal this season, but the Badgers aren’t far behind. MSU’s defensive players pride themselves on stopping the run and are smarting after that performance at OSU. They have a chance to redeem themselves against Wisconsin back Jonathan Taylor, who leads the Big Ten averaging 149 rushing yards a game and has 12 rushing touchdowns (16 overall). Quarterback Jack Coan in fourth in the conference in pass efficiency, but the real target for MSU will be Taylor. Wisconsin 20, Michigan State 13
►John Niyo: Michigan State’s strength at stopping the run makes this a dangerous game for Wisconsin. But especially with injuries and depth concerns growing for the Spartans, they can’t afford the kind of mistakes they keep making – particularly the dropped passes – if they want to pull off an upset on the road. Wisconsin 27, Michigan State 20
►Bob Wojnowski: The Spartans’ defense should slug with the Badgers, and might even hold Jonathan Taylor under 120 yards or so. But Brian Lewerke and a suspect running game will have to solve the nation’s top-ranked defense. Wisconsin hasn’t faced the most-daunting schedule and its passing game is pedestrian with Jack Coan, but Taylor rarely is completely stymied. This will be a physical wrestling match and that’s how the Spartans like it – and also how the Badgers like it. Wisconsin 27, Michigan State 10