Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/21/11

The undefeated Wisconsin Badgers come into town to take on the Michigan State Spartans Saturday in a game that could help decide the Big Ten. This may not be the only time these two teams see each other as both teams are undefeated in Big Ten play. This game definitely holds big implications for both teams, as Wisconsin’s is undefeated with BCS Championship aspirations and Michigan State’s schedule continues to prove to be one of the toughest in the nation. As is the nature of college football, it is imperative for both teams to get a win, a bunch of roses may depend on it. Let’s take a look at what the keys to a Spartan victory will be as Wisconsin tries to snap a 9-year Spartan Stadium losing streak in East Lansing.

 

Hit the road-

Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema promises the Badgers will be more prepared for their game in East Lansing this year, after they suffered a 34-24 loss at the hands of the Spartans last year. Wisconsin hasn’t won in East Lansing since 2002, and has yet to play a road game this year. In an odd schedule quirk the Badgers have played six consecutive home games to start the season. The Badger’s star quarterback Russell Wilson has yet to experience a conference road Big Ten game. The Michigan State crowd, especially the student section, will need to be loud and unwelcoming for the Badger’s first road game of the season.

 

The Spartans defense will once again need to set the tone (Mike Carter/US Press Wire)

The Spartan front seven-

We all know the Badgers can run the ball, but this year with Wilson at quarterback, they can throw the ball as well. It will be up to the Spartan’s front seven, who will be missing standout defensive end William Gholston due to suspension, to contain the run game. The Spartans can’t afford to load the box against the run with Wisconsin’s rejuvenated passing attack. The Spartan defense should be up to the task, as they have been playing with a certain mean streak and championship pedigree. Pressuring Wilson and stopping the run game will heavily rely on the front seven, and even without one of their most talented to players, the Spartans still have a very talented unit the includes Jerel Worthy, who has been playing extremely well as of late.

 

Even under the spotlight, Wilson has stayed humble and focused. (Photo by John Gress/Getty Images)

Win the turnover battle-

Last week the Spartans lost the turnover battle against the Wolverines, yet still won the game. This week the Spartans may not be so fortunate if they lose the turnover battle against the Badgers. It helped the Spartans that the one turnover they forced against the Wolverines was an Isaiah Lewis interception that he took to the house. The team will need to force more than one turnover against the explosive Wisconsin offense. One way the Spartans will be able to do that is if they force the Badgers into long passing situations by stuffing the run game. With the pressure the front seven has been producing all year, even Russell Wilson can be goaded into making some mistakes.

This game will put the winner on the fast track to the Big Ten Championship game and for Wisconsin, maybe even a ticket to the BCS Championship game. The Spartans once again look to be the Badger’s first regular season blemish, but with both teams playing extremely well; this may not be their only meeting this season.

 

 

 

Prediction- Spartans defense will be the key to the game, as they have been all season

Wisconsin 20 Michigan State 23

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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