MADISON, Wis. - It's probably safe to say that the Wisconsin starters won't be taking much of a breather in the fourth quarter on Saturday against Michigan State. While several of the Badgers' other games have seen the second string take over late in the game, their games against the Spartans have been a notable exception. And if they want to avenge their 37-31 October loss, they will have to play a complete game.
"I think this game has typically gone to the team that has played the best for four quarters," Bielema said Thursday after practice. "We obviously had a bad second quarter last time, we really had a bad third quarter the year before."
So if the Badgers want to win their second straight Big Ten title, they'll have to perform well for all 60 minutes. As we saw in October, even a momentary lapse can derail an important game.
In addition, Bielema and the coaches have been stressing physical play during practice this week. In this case, it's a matchup of strength against strength.
"[We've] stressed the physicality of this game. That's what they pride themselves on, that's what we pride ourselves on, and we've got to be ready for it."
-- Bielema didn't mention any new injuries Thursday, but Peter Konz's status hasn't changed. He's still going to be a game-time decision, and will try and do a few things tomorrow in practice to see how he hold up.
"Peter has done a little bit all week long, he'll travel with us," Bielema said.
News and Notes
-- Bielema said he spoke with former Badgers quarterback Jim Sorgi earlier about playing in Lucas Oil Stadium. Sorgi spent most of his professional career in Indianapolis with the Colts, and he gave Bielema a little extra information about what it's like to play in the stadium.
-- Rumors have surfaced recently about Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, and whether he's interested in a number of head coaching vacancies that have sprung up. But Bielema is not concerned about the rumors distracting Chryst from game preparation.
"I've had to deal with it for the last six years. It's a positive thing for Paul," Bielema said. "I'll help him ... just like I did Dave [Doeren] last year. If someone's got an opportunity for him I'll back him 110 percent."
-- The Badgers' kick coverage has been spotty all season, and the few kicks out of bounds haven't helped matters. However, Bielema said kicker Phillip Welch's problems stemmed from trying an 11-step approach against Penn State, rather than a five-step one. Bielema said Welch has switched back to the five-step approach during practice this week.
"After he did that he didn't have any problems," Bielema said.
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