Wisconsin game 'bigger' than Notre Dame for MSU

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Wiconsni's Jazz Peavy, left, and Robert Wheelwright celebrate after Peavy scored a touchdown in the second quarter in the win over Akron.

East Lansing – There’s no doubt Michigan State’s victory over Notre Dame last week was a big one, but with No. 11 Wisconsin coming to town on Saturday to open Big Ten play, the win over the Irish needs to be put in the rearview mirror.

“We took a big step this past weekend,” Dantonio said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “We need to get ourselves locked back in and how many times have I said we need to move forward? That’s the basis of who we are.”

Who they are is the 8th-ranked team in the nation and the Spartans (2-0) get the chance to pick up another victory over a ranked opponent, this one coming in conference play against a team it hasn’t faced since 2012.

There have been plenty of exciting moments in the series, including the “Rocket” play for the win in 2011 followed by the Wisconsin win that season in the Big Ten title game. In 2012, Michigan State won in overtime in Madison.

Now Wisconsin (3-0) comes to town with expectations not many predicted before the season.

“We should be excited for the opportunity,” Dantonio said, “and I think the storylines around it – Big Ten opener, the history with Wisconsin, the fact of where we’re at as a program, where they’re at – it points toward this game being a very big game, probably bigger than last weekend. No doubt, bigger than last week.”

There were no significant changes on the depth chart this week and Dantonio said linebacker Ed Davis, who played just one play against Notre Dame, will slowly be worked back into the mix at SAM linebacker.