MADISON, Wisc. – Wisconsin will continue its perfect season after defeating the Michigan State Spartans 38-0 Saturday.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Wisconsin -10.5
The Spartans have perhaps the top receiver in the Big Ten in senior Darrell Stewart Jr., who leads the conference in receptions (41) and receiving yards (624) - ranking sixth in the country in each category. Michigan State's run defense is one of the best in the nation, ranking 21st heading into this week after giving up 100.3 yards per game. Of course, Wisconsin has one of the top running backs in all of college football in junior Jonathan Taylor, who has rushed for 745 yards and 12 touchdowns with an average of 7.2 yards per carry. Wisconsin's defense also is difficult to penetrate, having allowed a total of 29 points this season while giving up 178.6 yards of total offense per game - tops in the nation.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten)
The Spartans' defense has been solid, but the offense has been up and down, ranking 10th in the Big Ten in scoring at 27.8 points per game. Brian Lewerke has been solid, throwing for 1,543 yards and 11 touchdowns, but the Spartans haven't been able to capitalize on opportunities enough and their kicking game has fallen way off. Despite being tied for first in the conference in total field goals with 11, junior Matt Coghlin has not been very reliable of late, missing six of his last 10 attempts overall while failing at least once in each of his last four games.
ABOUT WISCONSIN (5-0, 2-0)
Wisconsin has been able to rely on its running game to do much of the heavy lifting for the offense this season, as its average of 202.8 passing yards ranks 10th in the Big Ten. Junior quarterback Jack Coan may have to be more aggressive this week as he faces a pass defense that allows 199.3 yards per game. Coan has completed 74.6 percent of his passes this season, but he's also averaging just 11.1 yards per completion, which isn't going to stretch the field enough against a Michigan State defense that is geared to stop the run.
1. Michigan State P Jake Hartbarger is averaging a Big Ten-best 47.6 yards per punt, which also ranks seventh in the FBS.
2. Taylor tied Wisconsin's school record for most total touchdowns in a game with five against Kent State, becoming the first Big Ten player to hit that mark since Penn State's Saquon Barkley in September 2016.
3. The Badgers are the only FBS team that has not trailed in a game this season.
PREDICTION: Wisconsin 35, Michigan State 20