(11) Wisconsin @

(8) Michigan St.

Sat, Sep 24
9:00 AM Pacific
Rotation: 361
Odds: Michigan St. -5, Total: 42.5

Game Analysis

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Wisconsin (+5)  22   MICHIGAN STATE  21

My preseason ratings would have favored Wisconsin by 1 point in this game and Michigan State’s win over Notre Dame didn’t impress me much given how overrated the Irish were coming into the season. I also thought Michigan State was overrated and I bet both the Spartans and the Irish under in my season win total bets. I’m certainly hoping Wisconsin can get the straight up win to help my cause and I think they can.

The Badgers have a new starter at quarterback this week in redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook. Senior Bart Houston wasn’t bad (6.8 yards per pass play), but he played poorly last week against Georgia State before being relieved by Hornibrook, who threw for 122 yards on 12 passes in a narrow 23-17 victory. Hornibrook has averaged 10.8 yards on his 17 pass plays this season and I’ll trust the coaching staff that he’ll be an upgrade at that position. Michigan State gave up 8.5 yards per pass play last week and I think Hornibrook can post pretty good numbers against the Spartans in this game. He’ll need to since I don’t expect the Badgers’ sub-par rushing attack (4.7 yards per rushing play against teams that would allow 5.1 yprp to an average team) to do much damage against an elite Michigan State defensive front that allowed just 3.0 yprp to Notre Dame last week. Wisky’s leading rusher Corey Clement may not play against this week (he missed last week’s game) but his 4.7 ypr is the same as the team yprp so I don’t think his absence will have much impact if he doesn’t play (he’s questionable).

Michigan State’s offense has been much better than I projected so far this season, as they’ve averaged 6.7 yards per play, including 6.5 yppl against Notre Dame last week. New quarterback Tyler O’Connor has been magnificent so far, completing 73% of his passes while averaging 9.3 yards per pass play in both of the Spartans’ two games. The rushing attack has also been pretty solid so far (5.2 yprp). I don’t expect the Spartans to be able to run the ball consistently against a very good Wisconsin run defense that held Leonard Fournette in check in their win over LSU in week 1 and I still rate the Badgers’ pass defense as much better than average despite being just 0.2 yards per pass play better than average so far this season.

My ratings make this game a pick so I certainly lean towards Wisconsin. However, Michigan State has been better than expected so far, which is why this is not rated as a Best Bet or Strong Opinion.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Wisconsin
  • Michigan St.


  • Run Plays 40.4 25.6
  • Run Yards 166.4 92.2
  • YPRP 4.3 4.4


  • Pass Comp 16.4 17.2
  • Pass Att 27.8 30.0
  • Comp % 59.0% 57.3%
  • Pass Yards 198.6 201.0
  • Sacks 1.6 3.0
  • Sack Yards 8.6 19.4
  • Sack % 5.4% 9.1%
  • Pass Plays 29.4 33.0
  • Net Pass Yards 190.0 181.6
  • YPPP 6.5 5.5


  • Total Plays 69.8 58.6
  • Total Yards 365.0 293.2
  • YPPL 5.2 5.0


  • Int 1.4 1.4
  • Int % 5.0% 4.7%
  • Fumbles 0.6 0.6
  • Turnovers 2.0 2.0
  • Points 26.0 12.2
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