Needless to say, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi was fired up after the Spartans defense held Denard Robinson and Michigan to only 14 points in the Spartans' physically-fought win Saturday. After the game, Narduzzi told reporters his defense plays "60 minutes of unnecessary roughness" and that he "was just glad [they] didn't get called every snap."
The Spartans straddled the line between physical and dirty play all day long against the Wolverines, racking up seven sacks to go along with two roughing the quarterback penalties and three other personal fouls. Star defensive end William Gholston was the culprit behind two of the personal fouls, and may end up with a suspension for his efforts.
Call it physical or call it dirty, the brand of defense Michigan State plays is certainly an effective one. Among Big Ten teams, the Spartans rank second (just behind the Badgers) in scoring defense with 10.8 points allowed per game. They're by far the best team in the conference in yards allowed, with only 186.2 per game. The Spartans are also second in the Big Ten in sacks with 21 on the season.
Most people thought Nebraska had the best defense on Wisconsin's schedule, but it's clear now that Michigan State takes that honor. Paul Chryst and Russell Wilson will need to pull out all their tricks if the Badgers plan to avoid losing at Michigan State for the fourth time in a row. They'll also need to keep their cool against the second-most penalized team in the conference, especially if it is indeed "60 minutes of unnecessary roughness."
Speaking of penalties, Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is worried they could cost his team against the Badgers. Narduzzi actually backs of his "unnecessary roughness" line a little bit in that story.
The Badgers say their loss to the Spartans last season hurt worse than their loss in the Rose Bowl ...
... and the Spartans are still smarting from for what they see as being snubbed for the Rose Bowl selection. Both teams have extra motivation.
Russell Wilson will be featured on ESPN's "Depth Chart" this evening. Jim Polzin has more.
Wisconsin's offensive line will have to deal with perhaps the best front four in the Big Ten Saturday.
Michigan State's re-tooled offensive line had their best game of the season against Michigan. Dantonio hopes to see more of the same against the Badgers.
Jeff Potrykus put together a brief scouting report on the Spartans.
Adam Rittenberg says Russell Wilson needs to play great and be a leader for the Badgers to win Saturday.
Thanks in part to the Big Ten's perceived weakness in 2011, the Badgers came in at a mildly disappointing No. 6 in the first BCS rankings of the year. But maybe the B1G isn't as bad as everyone seems to think.
Check out an update on how the Badgers ran and passed against Indiana and for the season as a whole.
The Badger basketball team will play in three of the top 50 non-conference games of the season, as ranked by SBNation.