Aug 31, 2013; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers helmets sit on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 45-0. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

BadgerNotes Staff Predictions: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State

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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Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen (0) and the rest of the offensive unit listens to quarterback Graham Mertz (5) in the huddle during their game Saturday, November 20, 2021 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin beat Nebraska 35-28. Mjs Uwgrid21 24 Jpg Uwgrid21

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Michigan State Spartans: What to watch for

The Wisconsin Badgers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) will hit the road to take on the Michigan State Spartans (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) on Saturday afternoon.

The Badgers are coming off a blowout victory against the Northwestern Wildcats in a game where quarterback Graham Mertz threw for five touchdowns.

As for the Spartans, they are currently on a four-game losing streak. MSU will look to finally right the ship on Saturday in their fourth conference matchup.

Here are some key items to watch for in Saturday’s matchup.

How will the running game look after Chez Mellusi’s injury?

The Badgers’ running back room suffered a big blow after running back Chez Mellusi went down with a wrist injury against Northwestern. The senior back has had a productive season, rushing for 223 yards on 56 carries with a touchdown. Now, without Mellusi, the Badgers will need to find some answers on the ground.

The depth chart shows that Isaac Guerendo will be the next man up behind Braelon Allen. Guerendo, a redshirt senior, has seen less time in the backfield this season. Despite the smaller workload, the 6-foot, 223-pound running back has posted 92 yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns.

Julius Davis is another running back that could see some time. Davis has appeared in two games this season and holds a stat line of 11 carries for 82 yards.

With the loss of Mellusi for an indefinite amount of time, the Badgers will need to find some answers on the ground. UW’s running back room is deep with plenty of talent. How Wisconsin responds will be a key item to watch for in this weekend’s showdown.

Will the Wisconsin Badgers attack through the air?

Wisconsin is a program known for establishing the run. However, against Northwestern last week, the Badgers put together an incredible performance in the passing game.

Quarterback Graham Mertz put up a stat line of 299 yards and five touchdowns. Mertz targeted Chimere Dike 11 times and completed 10 of those targets for 185 yards and three touchdowns. After a strong week last week, Wisconsin may be able to find success through the air once again.

Michigan State’s secondary has been subpar, to say the least. The secondary has allowed an average of 292 passing yards per game. In their previous matchup against Ohio State, CJ Stroud passed for 377 yards and six touchdowns. While CJ Stroud is extremely talented, his performance is still indicative of the Spartan’s struggles in the secondary.

Wisconsin’s offensive coordinator Bobby Engram put together a well balanced attack in last weeks victory. It will be interesting to see if Wisconsin decides to attack through the air more often than not on Saturday.

Will the Wisconsin Badgers pass rush continue to get pressure after a great game last week?

There have been some concerns about the Badgers pass rush this season. With an impressive defensive front, it was slightly out of character for the UW defense to get little pressure. However, that was flipped after a great showing in Evanston.

Wisconsin’s defensive front caused plenty of disruption in the backfield, getting past the Northwestern offensive line with ease. Against a poor Spartan’s offensive line, the Badgers have another prime opportunity to wreak havoc.

Michigan State’s offensive line allowed four sacks against Ohio State. They also struggled to give any opportunities for the running backs as they finished with just seven rushing yards. While Ohio State’s defense is very talented, that kind of performance is indicative of the poor play of that offensive line.

As Wisconsin’s defense matches up against the Spartan’s offense, keep an eye on the pass rush as they look to build off a solid performance last week.

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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Graham Mertz #5 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks to take the snap against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first half of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl at Bank of America Stadium on December 30, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Wisconsin Football: What to Expect vs. Michigan State in week 7

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.

In Conclusion

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.

Contact/Follow us @Badger_Notes on Twitter, Subscribe to the BadgerNotes Newsletter here, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Wisconsin football news, notes, opinion, and analysis. You can also follow Jimmy Malchow on Twitter @JimmyMalchow

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