Wisconsin 30 Michigan State 6. Here’s what matters about the Badger win.
Wisconsin 30, Michigan State 6
If beating LSU didn’t do enough to convince people that Wisconsin is pretty good at this whole college football thing, and if over two decades of way-above-averageness wasn’t enough to generate any street cred, what about a 24-point road win over one of the most rock-solid programs over the last few seasons?
We can all be honest about it – LSU lost in Lambeau every bit as much as Wisconsin won it. Brandon Harris doesn’t throw that pass, LSU kicks the field goal, and this week the No. 4 Tigers are playing in Auburn.
But this was something different. This was total and complete bend-but-don’t-break domination with a freshman at quarterback, no kicker, and against a rock-solid Spartan team coming off the massive win at Notre Dame. The pass rush didn’t stop pressuring Tyler O’Connor all game long, the offense connected on third down throw after third down throw – and two fourth down conversions to make a big statement – and with four takeaways and a key recovery on a Michigan State special teams snafu to beat the team that doesn’t turn the ball over four times or whiff with a special teams snafu.
It’s not Lamar Jackson running wild through open spaces and cranking out over ten yards per play. It’s not jaw-dropping next-level talent doing jaw-dropping next-level talent things like Alabama and Ohio State. And it’s not even the Bielema Badgers of a few years ago that bludgeoned and bullied their way to wins with a crushing running attack.
Wisconsin ran for just 122 yards and averaged three yards per carry. It didn’t grind out drives like it normally does, and it didn’t come up with anything deep with Alex Hornibrook and the passing game. It played tremendous defense, it took advantage of the opportunities, and it got to 4-0 with two of the best wins of the season on its resume.
What Does This All REALLY Mean?
Yippee, Wisconsin. You beat LSU, and you stomped Michigan State. Now beat Michigan in The Big House. And then play Ohio State. And then go to Iowa. And then host Nebraska. And then go to Northwestern. However, if ever the one-game-at-a-time cliche worked, this is it. The Badgers are picking off the bigger, flashier-ranked teams, but there’s absolutely no time to enjoy it.
This really, really hurts for Michigan State, because it’s relatively smooth sailing for a while with at Indiana, BYU, Northwestern and at Maryland ahead. Here’s the positive – win out, and it’s still in the College Football Playoff.