Wisconsin (3-0, 0-0) at Michigan State (2-0, 0-0)
When: Saturday, September 24th 2016
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time: 12:00 ET | TV: Big Ten Network
It’s a battle of highly-ranked teams in the Big Ten opener for both the Wisconsin Badgers and Michigan State Spartans Saturday afternoon in East Lansing, Michigan. The Badgers are off to a 3-0 start after beating LSU in the opener at Lambeau Field, but have their struggles last week with Georgia State. Wisconsin held off the Panthers 23-17 after taking just a 6-0 lead into halftime. The Badgers are having all sorts of trouble in the redzone. After scoring a touchdown in 64.8% of their trips in the redzone last year, the Badgers are only 8-of-15 this season which ranks 91st in the country. Wisconsin is averaging 31 points but who is starting at quarterback is still up in the air, as coach Paul Chryst has juggled senior Bart Houston and freshman Alex Hornibrook in the season’s first three games. The Badgers are hoping to get leading rusher Corey Clement (197 yards, three TDs) back after he missed the Georgia State game with an ankle injury, though he was still questionable for Saturday. Wisconsin ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten and third in the country in time of possession, averaging 38:25.
Michigan State is coming off a very impressive 36-28 win at Notre Dame on Saturday night and are now ranked 8th in the country. Michigan State’s running game ran up 260 yards against the Irish, including 198 and three touchdowns combined by LJ Scott and Gerald Holmes. A big question for Michigan State entering the season was the play at quarterback, with Tyler O’Connor taking the reins from Connor Cook. After two games O’Connor has been very solid especially last week on the road in South Bend. Remember, he won a game at Ohio State last season when filling in for the injured Cook. O’Connor has thrown for 431 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions on the season. Michigan State has won 10 of its last 13 games played against ranked opponents, including six of its last seven, with the only loss coming to eventual national champion Alabama in last year’s national semifinals.
Wisconsin’s defense is very good and that will keep them in every game this year, but their offense is a problem right now. Ball State and Air Force scored more points on Georgia State than Wisconsin did last week. Michigan State’s defense is right up their with Wisconsin, but the offense is much better. I really like the Spartans in this contest to win by a touchdown or more.
Pick: Michigan State -5