Michigan State Football: Why Spartans Will End Wisconsin's Rose Bowl Dreams
The inaugural Big Ten Championship Game takes place in Indianapolis this Saturday, and the Michigan State Spartans will end the Wisconsin Badgers' Rose Bowl dreams.
These two teams hooked up in East Lansing, Michigan, on October 22 for what turned out to be one of the most fantastic finishes of the 2011 college football season. With a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line, these teams look to battle once again for Big Ten supremacy.
The Rose Bowl has eluded the Spartans since 1988. For the Badgers, they would like to return to the Rose Bowl after a disappointing letdown in 2011, when they lost to the TCU Horned Frogs, 21-19.
Wisconsin has plenty of motivation to return to Pasadena, while Michigan State has history at stake.
Here are the five reasons why the Spartans will end Wisconsin's Rose Bowl dreams.
No. 5: Michigan State Will Force Russell Wilson into Committing Turnovers
Wisconsin Badgers' quarterback Russell Wilson is one of the best in the country.
He's only thrown three interceptions all season long, but two of those came against the Michigan State Spartans on October 22.
The Spartans will look to force Wilson into committing turnovers once again.
In order to win, the Spartans must keep Wilson from getting comfortable and getting in a groove. Wilson has completed at least 70 percent of his passes in nine games this season. Wow.
Wilson and the Badgers want nothing more than to spoil the Spartans' Rose Bowl aspirations, but the Spartans defense will be up to the challenge.
This is a great matchup for the very first Big Ten Championship Game.
No. 4: B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin Want to Go out on Top
The Michigan State Spartans have two dynamic receivers in B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin.
Both are seniors this season, and neither of these kids wants to leave without smelling the roses.
Cunningham is the all-time leader in receptions for the Spartans with 206 and is third all time with 22 touchdowns. He needs just 37 more yards to become the Spartans' all-time leader in receiving yards.
Cunningham had seven 100-plus yard games this season including a six-catch, 102-yard performance against the Badgers on October 22.
Martin is one of the most dangerous players in all of college football. He has the ability to go the distance every time he touches the ball. Martin has yet to get a 100-yard game this season but is due for a big day. He's scored five different ways as a Spartan—returning a punt and a kickoff, and throwing, rushing for and receiving a touchdown.
Expect the ball to land in the hands of these young men early and often in the upcoming Big Ten Championship Game. Don't expect them to disappoint.
No. 3: Michigan State Won't Blow Another Lead
The Michigan State Spartans were up 31-17 in the October 22 tilt with the Wisconsin Badgers.
The Badgers stormed back to tie the game before the Spartans ended the game on a Hail Mary.
The Spartans understand that when they get a lead in the Big Ten Championship Game, they cannot afford to relinquish it.
The Badgers have two of the best players in the country in quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Montee Ball. The Spartans have to keep these guys in check.
Ball has 34 touchdowns on the season and has scored at least two in every single game. It's as if the game almost starts 14-0 in Wisconsin's favor because of Ball's heroics. The Spartans have to stop Ball from eating up the clock the entire game.
It's the Spartans running game that has to dominate the clock. Sometimes it's a solid offense that's the best defense. Keep the Badgers offense off of the field, and the Spartans will be victorious.
No. 2: Kirk Cousins Wants to Cement His Spartan Legacy
Kirk Cousins has quietly become the best quarterback to ever play for the Michigan State Spartans.
His 62 touchdowns and 24 games with 200-plus yards passing are now both records for the Spartans.
Cousins is a leader on and off the field and looks to cement his legacy by beating the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game. A win secures the road to the Rose Bowl for Cousins and the Spartans.
Cousins will need a repeat performance of his October 22 outing against the Badgers. He threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns. Most importantly, he didn't commit a turnover.
Cousins will be calm and collected against the Badgers. He knows what's at stake and will do everything in his power to ensure a victory for MSU.
No. 1: Coach Dantonio Is Ready to Take His Program to the Next Level
Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio has taken his program to new heights. After taking over a dismal program just five years ago, Dantonio has compiled a 43-21 record at Michigan State.
He's coached his team to consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time in school history and has made it to a record five straight bowl games.
The Spartans have yet to appear in a BCS game, and Dantonio will have his team motivated to take the program to the elite level.
With a win against the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game, the Spartans will achieve something that hasn't been done at the school since 1988.
The Rose Bowl has been something of a dream to the Spartans over the last two decades. Once thought impossible, now it's merely a reality.
No one gave the Spartans a chance in their first meeting with the Badgers, and no one is now. That's fine: The Spartans are used to being told that they don't stand a chance.
Coach Dantonio will have his Spartans ready as they look to live the dream.
Prediction: Michigan State 38, Wisconsin 31