Wisconsin Football: What to Expect vs. Michigan State in Week 7
The Wisconsin Badgers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) will come into East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) in a game where both teams have underwhelmed this year.
Michigan State started the year with two wins but has dropped four straight.
Wisconsin comes in with some momentum after a dominating performance over Northwestern. However, Michigan State is coming in with none after being stomped by Ohio State this past weekend.
Here is what to expect...
The Badgers should try to establish the run early, as the Spartans are giving up 4.0 yards a carry. With no Chez Mellusi (wrist), expect to get a heavy dosage of Braelon Allen.
With the obvious being stated – establish the run, the ability to set up play action will be important. We have seen what Graham Mertz can do with a clean pocket, and we should expect nothing less this week.
Against Northwestern, we saw Badgers Chimere Dike breakout and become the No. 1 option for Mertz; this week, we’ll see if that rapport keeps growing. Michigan State has only forced one interception this year and is giving up 292.0 yards a game to opposing quarterbacks.
Expect Bobby Engram to dig deeper in his bag, but expect a lot more RPOs.
Defensively the Badgers will be seeing a familiar face in running back Jalen Berger (who transferred from UW to MSU). Jalen is averaging 4.8 yards a carry and has more motivation to prove himself Saturday.
This game all starts with the front seven and setting the tone early. This Michigan State team has a veteran offensive line; expect Jim Leonhard to dial up some pressure and get after red-shirt junior QB Payton Thorne.
The Badgers will have their work cut out for them with a trio of solid receivers led by senior Jayden Reed.
Expect Nick Herbig to lead the charge this Saturday for the Badgers, who leads the team with five sacks. Jim Leonhard has set a standard for the Badgers’ defense, and we should expect more of that this Saturday.
If I’m a betting man..Badgers -7.5
The Badgers’ offensive attack seems to be on the rise and closer to finding an identity. The Spartans’ defense will have their hands full with this offense.
Defensively the Badgers should overwhelm the offensive line and dominate from the start. All things considered, it is still early under the Jim Leonhard era, but I expect the Badgers to come out motivated.
All in all, this should be a good classic Big 10 football game. Expect good defensive play and a game that will come down to who can win in the trenches. If the Badgers can be efficient on offense and take care of the ball, they should come out of this game victorious.
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