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Game Data: MSU vs. Wisconsin

Big Ten Championship Game

* Date, Time: Sat., Dec. 3, 8:17 p.m. (Eastern)

* Location: Lucas Oil Stadium; Indianapolis, Ind.

* TV: FOX (national telecast; announcers: Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Tim Brewster and Dhani Jones).

* 2011 Records: Michigan State, 10-2 overall, 7-1 Big Ten Legends Division (first); Wisconsin, 10-2 overall, 6-2 Big Ten Leaders Division (tied for first).

* 2011 Rankings: Michigan State, ranked 13th in the BCS standings, 11th in AP poll and ninth in USA Today coaches poll; Wisconsin, ranked 15th in the BCS standings, 15th in AP poll and 12th in USA Today coaches poll.

* Coaches: Michigan State, Mark Dantonio (fifth year at MSU, 43-21; eighth year overall, 61-38; vs. MSU, 3-2); Wisconsin, Bret Bielema (sixth year at UW, 59-18; vs. MSU, 2-3).

* Previous Meeting: This game is a rematch of the Oct. 22 classic the teams staged in East Lansing. Michigan State knocked then-No. 6 Wisconsin from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 37-31 win on QB Kirk Cousins’ 44-yard Hail Mary touchdown to Keith Nichol on the game’s final play.

Wisconsin jumped out to a 14-0 lead before the Spartans rallied for 23 unanswered points to take a 23-14 advantage. Wisconsin added a field goal in the third quarter, cutting the MSU lead to six. The Spartans added a touchdown early in the fourth, extending the lead to 14, 31-17, following a two-point try. The Badgers rallied to score twice, tying the game with 1:26 left, but Michigan State’s late heroics pulled out the win.

In that game, the Spartans blocked two kicks, one a punt that was returned for a touchdown. Cousins ended up completing 22 of 31 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. WR B.J. Cunningham had six catches for 102 yards and a score. For Wisconsin, QB Russell Wilson was 14 of 21 passing for 223 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, while RB Montee Ball was held to 115 yards and a score on 18 carries.

* Series History: Saturday will mark the 51st all-time meeting between Michigan State and Wisconsin, with the Spartans owning a 29-21 advantage. Since 2000, the teams have met 10 times with each having won five matchups.

After sharing the Big Ten Championship a year ago, the squads are targeting consecutive conference crowns. Michigan State, which has won seven Big Ten titles, looks for consecutive Big Ten crowns for the first time since the 1965-66 seasons. Wisconsin, winners of 12 Big Ten Championships in program history, looks for back-to-back conference titles for the first time since 1998-99.

* Wisconsin Schedule: Sept. 1, UNLV, W 51-17; Sept. 10, Oregon State, W 35-0; Sept. 17, vs. Northern Illinois (at Chicago), W 49-7; Sept. 24, South Dakota, W 59-10; Oct. 1, Nebraska, W 48-17; Oct. 15, Indiana, W 59-7; Oct. 22, at Michigan State, L 37-31; Oct. 29, at Ohio State, L 33-29; Nov. 5, Purdue, W 62-17; Nov. 12, at Minnesota, W 42-13; Nov. 19, at Illinois, W 28-17; Nov. 26, Penn State, W 45-7.

* Wisconsin Key Players (2011 Stats): QB Russell Wilson (189 of 260 passing, 2,692 yards, 28 TDs, 3 INTs; 66 carries, 325 yards, 5 TDs), RB Montee Ball (248 carries, 1,622 yards, 29 TDs; 17 catches, 248 yards, 5 TDs), RB James White (133 carries, 683 yards, 6 TDs), WR Jared Abbrederis (48 catches, 749 yards, 6 TDs), WR Nick Toon (52 catches, 788 yards, 9 TDs), TE Jacob Pedersen (28 catches, 326 yards, 8 TDs), LB Chris Borland (124 tackles, 16-1/2 TFLs, 1-1/2 sacks), LB Mike Taylor (128 tackles, 8 TFLs), DB Aaron Henry (53 tackles, 3 INTs), CB Antonio Fenelus (44 tackles, 4 INTs).

* Wisconsin First-Team All-Big Ten Selections: QB Russell Wilson, RB Montee Ball, OL Kevin Zeitler, OL Josh Oglesby, OL Peter Konz (media only), LB Chris Borland, LB Mike Taylor (media only), DB Aaron Henry (coaches only), DB Antonio Fenelus (media only).

* Wisconsin Fast Facts: Location: Madison, Wis.; Enrollment, 42,041; Conference: Big Ten Conference; Nickname, Badgers; Colors, Cardinal and White; Stadium, Camp Randall Stadium (surface, FieldTurf; capacity, 80,321).

* Michigan State Schedule: Sept. 2, Youngstown State, W 28-6; Sept. 10, Florida Atlantic, W 44-0; Sept. 17, at Notre Dame, L 31-13; Sept. 24, Central Michigan, W 45-7; Oct. 1, at Ohio State, W 10-7; Oct. 15, Michigan, W 28-14; Oct. 22, Wisconsin, W 37-31; Oct. 29, at Nebraska, L 24-3; Nov. 5, Minnesota, W 31-24; Nov. 12, at Iowa, W 37-21; Nov. 19, Indiana, W 55-3; Nov. 26, at Northwestern, W 31-17.

* Michigan State Key Players (2011 Stats): QB Kirk Cousins (218 of 339 passing, 2,735 yards, 21 TDs, 6 INTs), RB Le’Veon Bell (147 carries, 794 yards, 10 TDs), RB Edwin Baker (155 carries, 624 yards, 4 TDs), WR B.J. Cunningham (67 catches, 1,125 yards, 9 TDs), WR Keshawn Martin (53 catches, 627 yards, 4 TDs), MLB Max Bullough (80 tackles, 7 TFLs, 3-1/2 sacks), LB Denicos Allen (69 tackles, 13 TFLs, 7 sacks), DT Jerel Worthy (23 tackles, 8-1/2 TFLs, 3-1/2 sacks), SS Isaiah Lewis (69 tackles, 2-1/2 TFLs, 4 INTs), DB Trenton Robinson (62 tackles, 4 INTs), DB Johnny Adams (47 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 sacks, 3 INTs).

* Michigan State First-Team All-Big Ten Selections: OL Joel Foreman, DT Jerel Worthy, DB Johnny Adams (coaches only), DB Trenton Robinson (media only).

* Michigan State Fast Facts: Location: East Lansing, Mich.; Enrollment, 47,800; Conference: Big Ten; Nickname, Spartans; Colors, Green and White; Stadium, Spartan Stadium (surface, Grass; capacity, 75,005).

Depth Charts

Michigan State Offense

X 3 B.J. CUNNINGHAM (6-2, 215, Sr.-5) OR
7 KEITH NICHOL (6-2, 220, Sr.-5)
81 Brad Sonntag (5-8, 176, Sr.-5) OR
14 Tony Lippett (6-2, 189, R-Fr.)
LT 59 DAN FRANCE (6-6, 315, So.)
60 Micajah Reynolds (6-5, 320, So.)
LG 67 JOEL FOREMAN (6-4, 315, Sr.-5)
75 Jared McGaha (6-6, 298, Sr.-5)
C 63 TRAVIS JACKSON (6-3, 275, R-Fr.)
68 Ethan Ruhland (6-5, 290, Jr.)
66 Jack Allen (6-1, 291, Fr.)
RG 62 CHRIS MCDONALD (6-5, 300, Jr.)
68 Ethan Ruhland (6-5, 290, Jr.)
RT 51 FOU FONOTI (6-4, 300, Jr.)
77 Henry Conway (6-6, 318, So.)
TE 88 BRIAN LINTHICUM (6-5, 245, Sr.-5) OR
85 GARRETT CELEK (6-5, 252, Sr.-5) OR
80 DION SIMS (6-5, 276, R-So.)
84 Derek Hoebing (6-7, 270, So.)
Z 82 KESHAWN MARTIN (5-11, 189, Sr.)
13 Bennie Fowler (6-1, 215, So.)0
25 Keith Mumphery (6-0, 202, R-Fr.)
16 Chris D. Rucker (5-9, 178, Sr.-5)
QB 8 KIRK COUSINS (6-3, 205, Sr.-5)
10 Andrew Maxwell (6-3, 208, So.)
FB 42 TODD ANDERSON (6-2, 265, Sr.-5)
38 Niko Palazeti (6-1, 250, R-Fr.)
47 Adam Setterbo (6-3, 245, Sr.-5)
TB 4 EDWIN BAKER (5-9, 210, Jr.) OR
24 Le’Veon Bell (6-2, 237, So.) OR
22 Larry Caper (5-11, 223, Jr.)
20 Nick Hill (5-7, 180, R-Fr.)

Michigan State Defense

DE 44 MARCUS RUSH (6-2, 250, R-Fr.)
55 Corey Freeman (6-2, 250, Jr.)
DT 99 JEREL WORTHY (6-3, 310, Jr.)
69 Blake Pacheco (6-1, 264, Sr.-5)
NT 96 KEVIN PICKELMAN (6-4, 288, Sr.-5) OR
98 ANTHONY RASHAD WHITE (6-2, 316, Jr.)
DE 2 WILLIAM GHOLSTON (6-7, 280, So.)
52 Denzel Drone (6-2, 262, So.)
STAR 10 CHRIS NORMAN (6-1, 227, Jr.)
34 Taiwan Jones (6-3, 234, Fr.)
MIKE 40 MAX BULLOUGH (6-3, 245, So.)
49 TyQuan Hammock (6-0, 230, So.)
SAM 28 DENICOS ALLEN (5-10, 220, So.)
50 Steve Gardiner (6-1, 222, Jr.)
41 Kyler Elsworth (6-1, 215, So.)
FC 31 DARQUEZE DENNARD (5-11, 185, So.) OR
14 Tony Lippett (6-2, 189, R-Fr.)
FS 39 TRENTON ROBINSON (5-10, 192, Sr.)
27 Kurtis Drummond (6-1, 196, R-Fr.)
12 Dana Dixon (6-2, 170, So.)
SS 9 ISAIAH LEWIS (5-10, 195, So.)
23 Jairus Jones (6-1, 209, So.)
BC 5 JOHNNY ADAMS (5-11, 175, Jr.)
32 Mitchell White (5-11, 180, Jr.)
33 Jeremy Langford (5-11, 205, R-Fr.)
PK 4 DAN CONROY (5-10, 190, Jr.)
17 Kevin Muma (6-0, 189, So.)
P 3 MIKE SADLER (6-0, 182, R-Fr.)
20 Kyle Selden (6-5, 206, Sr.-5)
SN 58 MATT GIAMPAPA (6-2, 222, Fr.)
53 Steve Moore (6-3, 223, R-So.)

Wisconsin Offense

LT 58 Ricky Wagner, 6-6, 320, Jr.
78 Rob Havenstein, 6-8, 345, R-Fr.
LG 79 Ryan Groy, 6-5, 320, So.
64 Robert Burge, 6-7, 325, Jr.
C 72 Travis Frederick, 6-4, 330, So.
60 Jake Current, 6-3, 305, Sr.
RG 70 Kevin Zeitler, 6-4, 315, Sr.
64 Robert Burge, 6-7, 325, Jr.
RT 67 Josh Oglesby, 6-7, 330, Sr.
78 Rob Havenstein, 6-8, 345, R-Fr.
TE 82 Jake Byrne, 6-4, 260, Sr.
49 Sam Arneson, 6-4, 245, Fr.
TE 48 Jacob Pedersen, 6-4, 240, So.
85 Brian Wozniak, 6-4, 260, So.
QB 16 Russell Wilson, 5-11, 210, Sr.
11 Joe Brennan, 6-3, 205, R-Fr.
RB 28 Montee Ball, 5-11, 210, Jr.
or 20 James White, 5-10, 195, So.
22 Jeff Lewis, 6-2, 210, R-Fr.
WR 1 Nick Toon, 6-3, 220, Sr.
15 Jeff Duckworth, 6-0, 215, So.
WR 4 Jared Abbrederis, 6-2, 180, So.
19 Manasseh Garner, 6-2, 210, So.
K 18 Philip Welch, 6-3, 205, Sr.

Wisconsin Defense

DE 93 Louis Nzegwu, 6-4, 255, Sr.
51 Tyler Dippel, 6-4, 260, So.
DT 87 Ethan Hemer, 6-6, 300, So.
91 Jordan Kohout, 6-3, 290, So.
DT 95 Patrick Butrym, 6-4, 285, Sr.
96 Beau Allen, 6-3, 310, So.
DE 97 Brendan Kelly, 6-6, 255, Jr.
or 92 Pat Muldoon, 6-3, 260, So.
SLB 9 Kevin Claxton, 6-1, 240, Sr.
13 Conor O’Neill, 6-0, 220, So.
MLB 44 Chris Borland, 5-11, 245, So.
59 Marcus Trotter, 6-0, 235, Fr.
SLB 53 Mike Taylor, 6-2, 230, Jr.
30 Derek Landisch, 5-11, 225, Fr.
CB 26 Antonio Fenelus, 5-9, 190, Sr.
32 Devin Gaulden, 5-10, 185, Fr.
CB 14 Marcus Cromartie, 6-1, 183, So.
21 Peniel Jean, 5-11, 190, R-Fr.
SS 24 Shelton Johnson, 6-0, 190, Jr.
12 Dezmen Southward, 6-2, 205, So.
FS 7 Aaron Henry, 6-0, 210, Sr.
43 Michael Trotter, 6-0, 210, Fr.
P 98 Brad Nortman, 6-3, 210, Sr.

Breaking It Down

* When Michigan State Has The Ball: When the teams met the first time, Michigan State struggled establishing the run. The Spartans ended up with just 109 yards rushing in that win. They rotate backs Edwin Baker and Le’Veon Bell, but the Spartans rank 12th in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (139.0 ypg).

MSU may try once again to put a lot of this on QB Kirk Cousins, who threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns against Wisconsin in the first meeting. He has thrown 10 touchdowns and one interception over the last four wins. His 62 career touchdown passes are a school record. Wisconsin’s pass defense leads the Big Ten at 144.5 yards per game.

Overall, the Badgers lead the Big Ten in scoring defense (15.2 ppg) and are second in total defense (266.7 ypg). Since the back-to-back losses to MSU and Ohio State, the Badgers gave up just 13.5 points per game. The Spartans will need many more than that if they plan on winning this game.

* When Wisconsin Has The Ball: The Wisconsin offense has been fun to watch this season. The Badgers lead the Big Ten in scoring (44.8 ppg) and are second in total defense (278.2 ypg). But they are going against an MSU defense that finished the regular season second in the conference in points allowed (15.4 ppg) and first in total defense (266.7 ypg).

The key will be whether Wisconsin can establish RB Montee Ball and the ground game. He was held to 115 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting by MSU’s stingy front, led by DT Jerel Worthy. After back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Ohio State, Ball has piled up 797 total yards and 13 touchdowns during Wisconsin's four-game win streak. He had four touchdowns in the victory over Penn State last week.

QB Russell Wilson had two costly interceptions in the first meeting. But he hasn't been picked off since that game. Moreover, he leads the nation with a 192.9 passer rating. His 28-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio is pretty nice. Wilson, a transfer from N.C. State, has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 36 straight games, tying former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell's NCAA record.

In the first meeting, Wisconsin rolled up 443 yards total offense. But Wilson’s two picks and the blocked punt for a touchdown were too much to overcome.

* How It Will Go: Wisconsin’s special teams problems allowed Michigan State to hang around in that first game. Then, the Hail Mary at the end allowed the Spartans to take it.

My guess is Wisconsin will be lights out on special teams this time around. This really should be a heck of a game. If the MSU ground game can generate close to 150 yards and Cousins stays away from costly mistakes, the Spartans could position themselves to take it again.

Since those two losses in late October, Wisconsin blew out Purdue, Minnesota and Penn State and survived a real scare at Illinois. Meanwhile, Michigan State was steady down the stretch with nice double-digit road wins at Iowa and Northwestern. These two teams seem to be playing their best football right now.

I keep coming back to that Wisconsin offense. Ball is on some kind of rampage and Wilson just engineers drive after drive after drive. I look for a close game throughout, but the Badgers’ running game will put it away in the fourth quarter. I’ve got it Wisconsin 34-31

* Line: Wisconsin is favored anywhere from 9-1/2 to 10 points in this game.

* Also Read: Click here for our preview of the game with comments from each side.

* More Coverage: Click here for more coverage of Michigan State athletics. Click here for more coverage of Wisconsin athletics.

  • SpartanTailgate


    "Wisconsin’s special teams problems allowed Michigan State to hang around in that first game. Then, the Hail Mary at the end allowed the Spartans to take it. "

    How come every single retelling of this game doesn't harp on the fact that MSU was leading for most of the game and it took a miracle comeback by Wisky to tie it in the last minute and a half? MSU didn't "hang around". That's disingenuous. MSU's defense held Wisconsin to a single FG of offense for roughly 47 minutes of play outscoring them 31-3 in that stretch. That was without one of MSU's best defenders on the field.

    F Michigan

  • Because of the ending, everyone talks about how MSU squeaked it out and won on a last second touchdown Hail Mary. It did take a last second touchdown, but MSU DOMINATED for 3 quarters; half of the 1st, the 2nd, 3rd, and almost half of the 4th. This should be a great rematch and game. It will come down to MSU's defense, Cousins will be fine.

  • SpartanTailgate


    What makes you think that Wisconsin will be lights out on Special Teams this time around? Not much has changed for them since October; Abbrederis is taking KRs more often and that's about it.

    I wouldn't count on MSU blocking a pair of kicks again, but that doesn't quite constitute being "lights out".

    I think the emergence of the secondary receivers for MSU (Martin and Linthicum) will lead to a more diversified attack for MSU. Toss in Bell, and a young OL with 6 more starts than back in October, and I think the MSU offense could surprise.

    I'm not sold on Wisconsin's pass defense numbers. Check out the NCAA website and see who their opponents were. Outside of NIU (19th) and MSU (26th), they didn't face a single top 70 pass efficiency offense this season. Though I don't expect Cousins to complete 70% of his passes for nearly 300 yards and 3 TDs again, I think 240 with 2 TDs and maybe an INT is reasonable.

    Steve, I think this is the best CCG of the 4 in terms of competitiveness, do you agree?

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • Obviously the hail mary ended it, but I'm curious as to what MSU fans felt would have happened in overtime?

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  • AASpartan said... (original post)

    "Wisconsin’s special teams problems allowed Michigan State to hang around in that first game. Then, the Hail Mary at the end allowed the Spartans to take it. "

    How come every single retelling of this game doesn't harp on the fact that MSU was leading for most of the game and it took a miracle comeback by Wisky to tie it in the last minute and a half? MSU didn't "hang around". That's disingenuous. MSU's defense held Wisconsin to a single FG of offense for roughly 47 minutes of play outscoring them 31-3 in that stretch. That was without one of MSU's best defenders on the field.

    But our defense got soft at the end. We cannot do that again...or we deserve to lose...I think that we woud have lost in OT. Wisconsin had the momentum...We must play 110 per cent all game!

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