Michigan State-Wisconsin: Spartans Face a Big Test as Big Ten Play Begins

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Michigan State-Wisconsin: Spartans Face a Big Test as Big Ten Play Begins
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Kirk Cousins last year at Wisconsin

This past Big Ten weekend resembled a bakery with all of its cupcake games.

Michigan State beat Northern Colorado by 38, while Wisconsin hung up a whopping 70 points on lowly Austin Peay. The significance? Both teams play one another next week as conference play finally begins.

Personally, I don’t know what to expect.

The Spartans and Badgers are both undefeated, both ranked in the Top 25 and have yet to play a truly formidable opponent.

The Spartans have probably played the toughest opponent when you take into account each team’s schedule, but with Notre Dame falling to 1-3 after yesterday’s loss to Stanford, it’s really hard to call the Fighting Irish a good team.

Before we take a glimpse at what each team will bring next Saturday, let’s look back at last year’s game.

 

The Badgers put the hurt on at home, possessing a big lead for the majority of the game before the Spartans did their best comeback attempt. The comeback fell short, but at that point the Spartans’ season was already close to being over.

This year is a different story.

The Spartans have a nearly identical team in terms of personnel, but some key areas have been significantly upgraded.

First off, Michigan State has Le’Veon Bell this time around. Bell is a true freshman East Lansing hasn’t seen in a while, putting his head down and breaking off big runs. He scored three touchdowns in the Northern Colorado game alone.

In the secondary, Marcus Hyde is back and healthy—an area which was much maligned on last year’s team. The secondary will need to make some big plays against the Wisconsin passing game, and forcing turnovers may decide the contest.

Among most other things is experience.

Greg Jones—who had first and second career interceptions against Northern Colorado—is a senior and wants to go out with a bang. Kirk Cousins is a junior and seems to be improving more and more every week. Players like these will decide the outcome of games, especially against a pretty even-keel opponent like Wisconsin.

Stay tuned to more previews of this big game throughout the week.

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