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Wisconsin Badgers Game Day: Michigan State

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Game Day Vitals:
Opponent Vitals:
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing,
  • Opponent SB Nation Blog: The Only Colors
  • Returning Starters: 13 (5 offense, 8 defense)
Key Players:

LEADING PASSER QB Andrew Maxwell (Jr.) 160-290 (55.2%), 1,799 yards, 7 TD, 5 INT
LEADING RUSHER RB Le'Veon Bell (Jr.) 226 carries, 984 yards (4.4 ypc), 8 TD
LEADING RECEIVER WR Keith Mumphery (So.) 27 receptions, 349 yards (12.9 ypc), 1 TD
LEADING TACKLER LB Max Bullough (Jr.) 68 tackles (6.5 for loss), 1 INT, 1 FF
LEADING SACKER LB Denicos Allen (Jr.), LB Chris Norman (Sr.), DE William Gholston (Jr.), DE Marcus Rush (So.), CB Johnny Adams (Sr.), LB Kyler Elsworth (Jr.) 1 sack each, 6 total

2012 Schedule/Results:
  • Last week: Michigan State fell to 4-4 after a 12-10 loss to Michigan in Ann Arbor. The loss was the Spartans' first to the Wolverines since 2007, and came on a 38-yard field goal with five seconds left. MSU held a 10-9 lead with 5:48 remaining in the fourth quarter -- after a fake punt kept their last scoring drive alive, no less -- but was unable to run out the clock or make one last stop on defense. Bell was held to 68 yards and the Spartans collectively managed just 112 rushing yards.
  • Biggest win: Week 1 vs. Boise State, 17-13. MSU's highlight of the season came long before the stark truth of its 1-3 conference record, when Le'Veon Bell ran over, through and around Boise's defense for 210 yards on 44 carries. That early dominance earned Bell some very premature Heisman Trophy hype, which has obviously cooled since. Bell, by the way, is second in the conference with 123 rushing yards per game.
  • Biggest loss: Week 5 vs. Ohio State, 17-16. Beating Notre Dame in Week 3 would've been nice (Michigan State fell, 20-3), but a win in the Big Ten opener would've allowed the Spartans some room for error in conference play. MSU forced OSU into three turnovers in an absolute boxing match, though the Buckeyes were able to run out the clock after stopping the Spartans with just over two minutes left.
  • Outlook:Michigan State returns to Madison on Saturday for the first time since 2009, and it doesn't get much easier in the following weeks. Home games against Nebraska and Northwestern loom next before the regular-season finale at Minnesota. You have to imagine the Spartans are capable of grabbing at least one of those home games and then locking up bowl eligibility against the Gophers, though nobody could've seen four losses coming by late October.
Thu, Aug. 20 #24 Boise State W 17-13 1-0
Sat, Sept. 8 @ Central Michigan W 41-7 2-0
Sat, Sept. 15 #20 Notre Dame L 20-3 2-1
Sat, Sept. 22 Eastern Michigan W 23-7 3-1
Sat, Sept. 29 #14 Ohio State L 17-16 3-2 (0-1)
Sat, Oct. 6 @ Indiana W 31-27 4-2 (1-1)
Sat, Oct. 13 Iowa L 19-16 2OT 4-3 (1-2)
Sat, Oct. 20 @ Michigan L 12-10 4-4 (1-3)
Sat, Oct. 27 @ #25 Wisconsin 2:30 p.m. CT
Sat, Nov. 3 Nebraska TBD
Sat, Nov. 17 Northwestern TBD
Sat, Nov. 24 @ Minnesota TBD