No.11 Wisconsin (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. No.8 Michigan State (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Date/Time - Saturday, September 24 at 11:01 a.m. CT
Stadium – Spartan Stadium (75,005/Grass)
Television – Big Ten Network (Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen, Lisa Byington)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas). Sirius 84 / XM 84
Series – Michigan State leads 30-22 (Michigan State leads 16-7 in East Lansing)
Last Meeting – Michigan State won, 16-13, in overtime on Oct.26, 2012 in Madison
Wisconsin and Michigan State have split the last 10 meetings, dating back to 2002, but MSU has claimed wins in three of the previous four matchups — including each of the last three regular-season games.
The four-year gap between meetings was the longest in series history since the Spartans began Big Ten Conference play in 1953.
The Spartans have won four straight in the series in East Lansing, with Wisconsin’s last win at Spartan Stadium coming by a 42-24 margin in 2002.
The last seven games between Wisconsin and Michigan State have been decided by an average of just 4.9 points. The teams’ last three meetings — including two fourth-quarter comeback wins and a game that required overtime — each were decided by six points or less.
Saturday’s game marks Wisconsin’s first trip to East Lansing since No. 15 Michigan State used a 44-yard Hail Mary pass from Kirk Cousins to Keith Nichol as time expired to score a 37-31 win over the No. 4-ranked Badgers on Oct. 22, 2011. Wisconsin went on to earn a 42-39 win over the Spartans in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game on Dec. 3, 2011.
Either Wisconsin (2011, 12, 14) or Michigan State (2011, 13, 15) has been represented in each of the first five Big Ten Football Championship Games. Wisconsin and Michigan State have combined to win five of the last six Big Ten championships, with each program claiming three titles in that span (the Badgers and Spartans shared the 2010 crown).
Wisconsin and Michigan State have each won 73 games since the start of the 2009 season. The only Power Five programs that have won more in that span are Alabama (89 wins), Ohio State (82), Oregon (81), Florida State (76), Stanford (76) and Clemson (74).
Michigan State features one player from the state of Wisconsin: senior WR R.J. Shelton of Beaver Dam.
Wisconsin has one player from the state of Michigan: redshirt freshman OL David Moorman of Northville.
Wisconsin senior WR Robert Wheelwright and Michigan State sophomore DE Robert Bowers were teammates at Walnut Ridge High School in Columbus, Ohio.
Wisconsin freshman ILB Mike Maskalunas and Michigan State sophomore S Matt Morrissey both attended Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois.
Wisconsin Notes to Consider
Dating back to last season, Wisconsin has held its opponents under 100 rushing yards in seven of its last 10 games, going 7-0 in those contests. The Badgers have held opponents to an average of 81.9 yards per game and 2.9 yards per attempt over that 10-game stretch.
The Badgers rank No. 3 nationally in time of possession, averaging 38 minutes, 25 seconds through their first three games. Only Air Force (39:51) and Army (39:13) have held the ball longer than UW so far this season.
Senior CB Sojourn Shelton and junior CB Derrick Tindal are tied for 12th nationally with four pass breakups apiece. Missouri’s Aarion Penton and Oregon’s Arrion Springs lead the country with six PBUs.
A season after leading the nation in points allowed (13.7 per game), Wisconsin has opened the year by allowing an average of 13.7 points across its first three contests to rank in a tie for No. 16 nationally in that category. UW also ranks 14th nationally in total defense, allowing just 261.0 yards per game.
Michigan State Notes to Consider
MSU is 7-2 in its last nine games against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 10, including a 6-2 record since 2013.
Michigan State returns a total of 48 letterwinners and 12 starters in 2016. A total of 28 players returning have starting experience (12 offense, 13 defense, three special teams). On defense, the Spartans return 22 letterwinners and six starters from a unit that finished No. 11 in the FBS in rushing defense, No. 25 in scoring defense and No. 26 in total defense.
Michigan State quarterback Tyler O’Connor leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth in the nation in completion percentage (.727). He also ranks second in the conference and sixth in the FBS in passing efficiency (183.4 rating). For the season, he is 32-of-44 passing for 805 yards, five TDs and two interceptions through two games.
In their win over Notre Dame, the Spartans controlled the line of scrimmage with a 37:57-22:03 advantage in the time of possession. MSU also ran 78 offensive plays, compared to 62 for Notre Dame.