Well, THAT wasn't supposed to happen...
Unfortunately for the Wisconsin Badgers, it did. We're 0-1 in the conference. So is the next opponent: Minnesota.
I'm not going to go on a Minnesota bashing trip (I've forbidden myself from doing so), but after the jump are some critical stats for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin forced a fumble and two INTs, and didn't turn the ball over (but we came REALLY close on the double fumble play).
Wisconsin was 3-11 on 3rd down conversions. Michigan State was 9-18 on 3rd down.
Wisconsin had 15 first downs, MSU had 19 of their own.
Scott Tolzien was 11 for 25 passing for 127 yards. A lot of those incompletions were contested throws and drops. The inability to complete critical passes killed the Badgers down the stretch.
Kirk Cousins went 20 for 29 passing for 3 TDs and 2 INTs. He found a receiving option on just about every play and did an excellent job distributing all the WRs.
Wisconsin punter Brad Nortman had 6 punts with a 37.5 gross average and a punt returned for a touchdown. Inexcusable performance in all facets. Just inexcusable.
Nick Toon had a 28 yard reception. That was IT. He dropped quite a few passes as well, and would have served the team better in street clothes from the bench. As my signature says, I'm glad Scott Tolzien didn't go all Drew Tate on him and smack him in the head for his awful performance.
Lance Kendricks had 3 receptions for 17 yards. MSU did exactly what they had to do to defend him on just about every down.
Mark Dell had 6 receptions for 91 yards, along with a very iffy TD catch.
Both kickers were 100% on PATs and Field Goals.
Michigan State's leading rushers had less than 5.0 YPC. Le'Veon Bell had 87 yards on 18 carries and Edwin Baker had 75 yards on 16 carries.
Jerel Worthy may have had the game of his young career yesterday. He shoved Wisconsin C Peter Konz all the way to Ann Arbor, allowing Greg Jones and Eric Gordon (who SHOULD be on the Los Angeles Clippers) to penetrate the Wisconsin backfield and wrap up Clay for big losses.
John Clay was held below 100 yards rushing, and came up gimping in the 2nd quarter after a hard tackle. His cuts were weak and he got tackled by a CORNERBACK later in the game. A CORNERBACK. If he's healthy, that guy is toast.
While MSU's run defense did a very good job stopping John Clay, they did a much worse job defending freshman RB James White. He ran for 98 yards on just 10 carries with 2 long TD runs. This is the 2nd time in as many trips to East Lansing that the Spartans have been gashed by a Wisconsin freshman RB. (last one was Clay in '08)
Michigan State outrushed, outpassed, outperformed, and outscored the Badgers. They committed 4 penalties for 50 yards; Wisconsin committed 5 penalties for 40 yards. Much much better than the last time these teams played... (MSU committed 9 penalties for 54 yards, Wisconsin committed 5 penalties for 34 yards)
Overall, the Michigan St. Spartans beat the cr@p out of Wisconsin between the 20s. But the goal-line stand by Wisconsin was arguably the shining moment of the game for Badger fans. There was hope. Then the Badgers ran three times and punted (ARGH!), MSU scored, and the game was just about over.