Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) is now the favorite to win the Leaders Division and make an appearance in the Big Ten title game. The Badgers have only lost two games. One to Oregon State in Corvallis and the other to Nebraska at Memorial Stadium—home field advantage has been good to head coach Brett Bielema.
Michigan State should be weary of the Wisconsin Badger offense.
Wisconsin ranks 32nd in the nation in rushing yards, averaging 200.6 yards per game. Quarterback Joel Stave leads the Badgers. He has passed for 977 yards and five touchdowns since replacing Danny O’Brien as the starter earlier this season. His best target is receiver Jared Abbrederis, a future NFL star who has recorded 33 receptions for 627 yards and five touchdowns this season.
Last weekend against Minnesota, offensive coordinator Matt Canada introduced a new formation called, “The Barge,” which featured seven linemen, two tight ends and two tailbacks. One tailback lined up at the quarterback position, junior James White, and Heisman candidate Montee Ball lined up at running back. In a sense, it was Wisconsin’s version of the wildcat offense with seven hog mollies pushing around defensive linemen similar to how a bulldozer would flatten a mound of dirt.
Not to mention Montee Ball has had a great fall. He has gained 982 yards on 196 carries and has found the end zone 13 times. Easily the best player for Wisconsin, Michigan State football must focus on shutting Ball down early so Canada moves away from the running game altogether.
The Badger defense will be next to impossible for Andrew Maxwell to be successful against this Saturday. Wisconsin has not allowed more than 14 points to its opponents in its last three games and is currently ranked 21st in the nation in points against.
Getting a win against Michigan State is necessary if Wisconsin wants to make it to Indianapolis to play in the Big Ten title game. Expect Wisconsin to play hard. The Badgers will not take the Spartans lightly in this game. Bold prediction…Wisconsin 31, Michigan State 13.