CFB Game of the Week: No. 11 Wisconsin vs No. 8 Michigan State

Story posted September 21, 2016 in CommRadio, Sports by Joseph Esquivel-Murphy

The college football season has had some impressive games thus far this season and conference play has yet to begin for many teams across the nation. The Big Ten has yet to start conference play and there is one game this weekend that will affect the entire landscape of the Big Ten as No. 11 Wisconsin travels to No. 8 Michigan State.

The game between Wisconsin and Michigan State will feature two of the nation’s best defenses as the Badgers are ranked 13th in the nation while the Spartans are 30th in the nation. Both teams have already had some impressive wins this season as Wisconsin opened the season with a victory against LSU and Michigan State defeated Notre Dame last week.

Since Wisconsin’s victory over LSU, the Badgers have played Akron and Georgia State at home. The Akron game was a blowout, but Wisconsin really struggled against Georgia State needing a fourth quarter touchdown to win 23-17.

Quarterback Alex Hornibrook takes over for starter Bart Houston, making his first career start for the Badgers. The play of Hornibrook against a terrific Michigan State defense will decide the tone of the game.

Wisconsin might need to rely on senior running back Corey Clement due to the inexperience of Hornibrook. Clement has rushed for almost 200 yards and three touchdowns this season, but might need to get those numbers in a single game for the Badgers to win.

The defensive showdown between Wisconsin defensive end Alec James and Michigan State defensive end Malik McDowell will decide the outcome of the game. James was virtually out of the game against Georgia State as he only recorded one tackle.

His pressure and energy against LSU made it possible for Wisconsin to slow down Leonard Fournette, which the Badgers will need in order to upset Michigan State on the road.

McDowell has been a one-man wrecking crew this season for Michigan State as he has constantly forced pressure on the opposing quarterbacks from his defensive end position. If he plays like he did against Notre Dame, then the Wisconsin offensive line is in for a long night.

Tyler O’Connor was pegged as the starting quarterback for Michigan State and has not disappointed thus far. He’s excellent at putting the ball in places where wide receivers Donnie Corley and RJ Shelton can make a play.

Corley and Shelton had big games against the Fighting Irish and will look to continue their great play against the Badgers. Gerald Holmes is the player to watch for the Spartans as he ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns against Notre Dame.

This game looks like it will decide the early fate of the Big Ten as Michigan State looks to challenge for the Big Ten East, while Wisconsin is one of the top teams in the Big Ten West. Michigan State is playing extremely well as of late and should win this game by at least 10 points.


Joseph Esquivel-Murphy is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and Spanish. To contact him, email