East Lansing, MI
The Michigan State Spartans came in to this game feeling good about themselves. They were in the top ten coming off a win over Notre Dame and today they leave discombobulated and looking to recover. In every phase of the football game from the coaching to playing the Wisconsin Badgers beat the Spartans up 30-6.
Obviously disappointed Dantonio said after the beat down, “People have been saying a lot of good things about us lately, and now we'll take some shots. And I think that that's usually the case in these things, and we gotta regroup ourselves. Like I tell our players, you can always, always get worse. So we're going to pick ourselves up and get ready to go and play Indiana, and that's the nature of it.”
The Spartans had 70 offensive plays and ran the ball 27 times. Stunningly the Spartans rushing attack only accumulated a paltry 75 yards.
C0-OC Dave Warner plain spoken said of the game, “Really simple - we did not run the ball well. That's always what we want to do going into a football game. We did not do that. We had trouble protecting the quarterback, especially early on. Third down situations - they got pressure. Had guys coming free. Makes it hard to stay on the field. And we turned the football over. Really simple, real simple.”
The Badgers came in to the game with one thing on their mind: winning the football game. Sure they have a way they like to play, but they went on the attack throwing the ball when MSU didn’t expect it and running when they wanted to and the Spartans weren’t able to assure it.
While Michigan State kept putting their fifth year senior QB Tyler O’Connor in situations in which he had to throw thus helping the Badgers defense, the Badgers ability to do what they want because of their attack mentality had MSU on the ropes.
Co-DC Harlon Barnett said it best. “Third (and 4th) downs were the thing today, for us. We have to get off the field on third down. We contained the run well on first and second down. We have to be able to get off of the field. That's where our issues were. Credit to (Alex) Hornibrook. Credit to the young man starting his first game in a hostile environment. He threw some good balls out there today. Give him credit.”
I totally agree with Barnett. Where it was Dantonio who said last week when playing aggressively that, “I kept saying we came here to win a football game,” it was disappointingly the Badgers who entered Spartan Stadium with that mindset today.
Dantonio was asked and didn’t want to discuss the change from last to this week. "Well I wouldn't even bring up the Notre Dame situation; I would say more or less that Wisconsin played good, fundamental football. They come in to the football game, we talked about that all week, how they've got both hands on you up front. They know what they're doing, and they do it very, very well. They have a system, and they do it very well.”
I think the MVP for the game goes to Paul Chryst the Wisconsin coach. Benching a fifth year senior who had already beaten LSU this year and going with a freshman on the road is the epitome of attacking. Chryst knew that attacking MSU was the only way to win and that is what he came here to do.
He said of his team being willing to attack and make so many changes this week, “I think what it says about the kids is they're unselfish and they'll do whatever they can to help this team, and you appreciate that. I thought the coaches did a really nice job of prepping the kids, and most of all the players. They bought into it, and we had a good work week for preparation and they prepared and they played, which was fun to see.”
I hate when a team wins a football game and people disrespect that win. You can dissect this game from top to bottom and find a litany of Michigan State mistakes. They are there and very visible, but you must start the conversation with pure respect for the Badgers.
They came to East Lansing convinced on attacking Michigan State. They did and they never took their foot off the gas while doing it. They came, they dominated and they are now on an airplane celebrating a big win, while the Spartans are on their way home needing to regroup and rethink things. A lot of things.