The Michigan State Spartans (4-4, 1-3) travel to Camp Randall Stadium this Saturday to take on the 25th ranked Wisconsin Badgers (6-2, 3-1) in a game that could potentially make or break the Spartans season.
With recent losses against Michigan and Iowa, the Spartans have lost two games in a row for the first time since 2009. If the Spartans fall victim to the Badgers rushing attack on Saturday it will have also been the first time since 2009 that they’ve dropped three games in a row.
With a record of 4-4, the Spartans need two more wins to become bowl eligible. With the likes of Wisconsin (6-2), Nebraska (5-2), and Northwestern (6-2) in their near future, the Spartans might need to prepare to pick up another hobby other than BOWLing come December and January.
However, a win against the Badgers could give the struggling Spartans a new life as they head into the final stretch of the regular season.
MSU is coming off of a disastrous offensive performance against the Michigan Wolverines which caused message board madness in regards to the decisions of offensive coordinator Dan Roushar.
The Spartans offense has been inconsistent all season due to players not making plays and questionable play calling, but that problem has seemed a little more frequent in the past two weeks.
Quarterback Andrew Maxwell has failed to throw for over 200 yards in his past two outings and has one touchdown and two interceptions in those games combined. Running back Le’Veon Bell had one of his best performances two weeks ago against Iowa as he had 29 carries for 140 yards and a touchdown, but against Michigan the junior only had 68 rushing yards on 26 carries.
The MSU defense has been doing all they can to keep teams out of the end zone the past couple weeks, but when the offense is struggling to get points and be productive it’s almost…pointless.
The Spartans defense will be facing their biggest task thus far in the Big Ten season as they face one of the best backfields in the country.
The Wisconsin running back combo of Montee Ball and James White have had a fantastic season. Ball leads the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns with 13 and White has added six of his own.
Ball rushed for 529 yards in his last three games, which includes a 247 yard performance against Purdue two weeks ago. White has been on a roll as well as he had 31 carries for 299 yards and four touchdowns in his past two games.
The Ball-White tandem going against the Big Ten’s best rushing defense is going to be one of the best matchups to watch in the Big Ten this weekend.
The struggles of the Michigan State offense will continue this week in Madison. The passing game will continue to be unproductive which will cause the Wisconsin offense to be on the field often on Saturday. The Spartans defense will contain the running game of the Badgers early in the contest, but eventually the MSU defense will be fatigued and the Badgers rushing attack will have a big second-half. The Badgers defense has been very good in their own right this season and I don’t expect the MSU offense to turn it around this week.