With both teams having a lot of recent history including the 2011 Big Ten Championship Game. The new world of Big Ten football has kept them apart since they last matched-up in 2012 when Bret Bielema still walked the Badgers side lines.
Just as Dantonio tried to emulate what Iowa and Wisconsin were doing as programs when he arrived in East Lansing. Roles have flipped with Badgers head coach Paul Chryst looking at the Spartans success as a blueprint to his program taken from the battles between the two teams since he returned to Madison prior to last season.
“The culture we’re trying to balance,” said Chryst. “I think there are certain things when Wisconsin is playing good, there’s been some common denominators and over really now a number of years.
“So you want to emulate that and build on that, and yet, I think you’re always trying to evolve and trying to improve or get better. I think now, as I came back here, we’re trying to emulate what Michigan State’s doing. I really appreciated being part of those games when I was an assistant. They were great games. Really good players and I would like to think there was well coached football on both sides.
“And yet, really, I think what Michigan State has done the last few years. That is the bar you’re trying to reach.”
Despite a history of exciting game between the two there has been a gap of since they last matched up in 2012. Chryst was surprised by one thing he learned about his team when prep work started for this match-up.
“It was interesting to me there’s not a player that’s played against Michigan State on our roster,” he said. “We’re trying to educate them what it can be like and we’ve got to play the game to find out. Just because the games before were that (close), doesn’t mean this one is going to be that.
“We’d like to make it a four quarter game and give yourself a chance to be in it at the end. Certainly have a ton of respect for what they’ve done and we’ve got to play well to give ourselves that chance. But I’m excited for our kids and the preparations to go over there. It’s a heck of an opportunity, it’s a big challenge but a great opportunity.”
The last time the Spartans and Badgers battled the game came down to 16-13 overtime victory for the Spartans in Camp Randall Stadium. Can Chryst get his Badgers squad to keep the game a four quarter affair?null