As we look ahead to Saturday's matchup between No. 25 Wisconsin and Michigan State, the Badgers are favored by 6.5 points, per Bovada.
But the Spartans figure to change that.
Wisconsin's offense scores the majority of its points through its running game. The Badgers have averaged 4.72 yards per carry this season, as well as compiling 20 rushing touchdowns (tied for 16th in the FBS) behind Montee Ball and James White.
But what happens when Wisconsin faces a strong rush defense?
Well, you get a 10-7 loss to Oregon State in Week 2.
In that game, the Beavers held Ball to 61 yards on 15 carries and White to 11 yards on three carries (a combined 4.0 yards per carry).
Michigan State has allowed 3.37 yards per carry (23rd in the nation) and three rushing touchdowns (tied for fourth) this season, per CFBStats.com.
Now, the Badgers have replaced Danny O'Brien with Joel Stave at quarterback since the loss to Oregon State, but while Stave has been better, it's not like he's a world-beater, either. The freshman went 7-of-15 for 106 yards against Minnesota last week.
Then you look at Michigan State's pass defense.
The Spartans have allowed just 5.3 yards per pass attempt this season, tied for seventh in the nation. That includes allowing six passing touchdowns, tied for 12th in the country.
As for the Michigan State offense, I expect Le'Veon Bell to do something against Wisconsin. The Badgers have shown they can be beaten on the ground (as evidenced in the 30-27 loss to Nebraska in Week 5).
Bell has rushed for the third-most rushing yards in the country this season (984) while compiling eight rushing touchdowns.
Wisconsin obviously has the home-field advantage in this one, but I expect Michigan State to eke out the victory in Madison.
Prediction: Michigan State 23, Wisconsin 20
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