BadgerNotes Staff Predictions: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State
Interim head coach Jim Leonhard and the Wisconsin Badgers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) hit the road on Saturday to visit Mel Tucker and the Michigan State Spartans (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) at Spartan Field.
Wisconsin is coming off a 42-7 beatdown of the Northwestern Wildcats this past weekend – a game in which they dominated from start to finish, earning their first win under coach Leonhard.
On the flip side, Mel Tucker and the Spartans are coming off a 49-20 beatdown at the hands of the Ohio State Buckeyes – and are losers of four straight.
Here is how our BadgerNotes team sees Saturday’s matchup playing out on the field…
Dillon Graff: Managing Editor
Final Score Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Michigan State 20
Following a shellacking of the Northwestern Wildcats in Jim Leonhard’s first game as interim head coach, UW has a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time this season (I can’t believe I’m typing that at the mid-way point of the season).
Both programs have plenty of talent and have underachieved to this point, but talent is only unrealized potential – so Wisconsin needs to find a way to play clean, inspired football again this week.
With a victory, UW has a chance to push for the title in a wide-open Big Ten West.
Despite the game being in East Lansing, I think Wisconsin carries over the necessary momentum and wins a grind-it-out matchup against Michigan State.
Jake Maier: Staff Writer
Final Score Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Michigan State 17
This game, on paper, seems to be a perfect spot for the Badgers to log their second consecutive win. Michigan State is very banged up and has been severely underperforming on preseason expectations. MSU is heading into this game coming off four consecutive losses and suffered a blowout loss to Ohio State.
The Badgers will have the edge in talent in this one, especially defensively. Michigan State’s defense has been very poor, giving up 445 yards per game. The secondary is their most concerning group, and Mertz is coming off an impressive passing performance against Northwestern.
I think Wisconsin will run away with this one, mainly if they focus on the passing game. I have the Badgers winning this one by double digits and getting back to above .500.
Alex Fletcher: Staff Writer
Final Score Prediction: Wisconsin 35, Michigan State 17
Jim Leonhard came out swinging in his first little bit with the head coaching gig.
Wisconsin football got back on track last week against Northwestern. The team looked much better in all facets of the game and even turned some heads with the stellar passing performance by Graham Mertz.
Leonhard is also doing some shifting as far as the roster goes. Former five-star recruit Logan Brown entered the transfer portal this week, and news came out that it might not have been fully his decision. The coaching staff is looking to right this ship across the board.
Michigan State comes into this game as one of the few Big Ten teams with a more disappointing season than Wisconsin. Currently, 2-4, with an 0-3 conference record, the Spartans are not the formidable foe they usually are.
The Spartans are struggling to get the offense going, and the defense has been very bad. The team is letting up nearly 450 yards of total offense to their opponents. This all accumulates to letting up an average of 27 points per game as well.
Badger fans should expect the team to pick up where things were left off last week. The running game shouldn’t be a problem to get going, and Braelon Allen should be able to find the end zone and gain plenty of yards.
Graham Mertz should keep it going as well. The Spartans don’t have a very good pass defense, and if Leonhard can keep up the creativity, I’d expect more of the same from the Kansas native.
The current number sits at 7 in favor of Bucky, and I’d say that’s on the light side. Look for Wisconsin football to cover and continue the hot start for the interim coach.
Brandon Cooper: Staff Writer
Final score prediction: Wisconsin 37, Michigan State 14
This is a perfect spot for the Badgers to build some momentum heading into the second half of the season, as they’re still very much alive in a wide-open Big Ten West.
Michigan State has lost four in a row, and their only two wins are against Western Michigan and Akron (not great, Bob).
The Spartans’ defense has been awful this season. Allowing 445.5 yards per game, which is the 2nd worst in the Big Ten (Nebraska is the worst, and that brings me great joy). A revitalized Badgers offense should have no issues putting up points on Saturday.
The Spartans’ offense isn’t much better, ranking in the bottom four of the Big Ten, setting up the Badgers’ defense for another stellar performance.
The Badgers are looking for their 1st back-to-back wins of the season and should have no problem achieving that against Michigan State.
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