Michigan State didn’t just lose to Wisconsin. They were soundly beaten, so much so that everyone knew the game was over midway through the fourth quarter; and the loss obviously went against prevailing NFL odds.
Michigan just doesn’t lose that way, or rather they do not lose so soundly very often. Alabama treated them in a similar manner in 2015’s national semifinals, and Wisconsin has now joined that club, sending out a signal that the badgers are indeed contenders for the Big Ten.
In losing the game, Michigan State fell several places to Number 17 in the AP polls. The Badgers, on the other hand, leaped to Number 8. Wisconsin is on a roll. They haven’t allowed more than three offensive touchdowns this season.
Coach Paul Chryst attributed their Victory on Saturday to Luck, though no one can dispute the fact that Wisconsin was clearly the superior team of the two. This is despite the fact that everyone overlooks Wisconsin even though the side won 3 straight Big Ten Titles between the years of 2010 and 2012.
The fact that they have only made a single appearance in the conference title game since losing to Ohio State in 2014 is worth noting. There is a lot of competition in the league and the likes of Ohio State and Michigan tend to steal all the attention.
Right now, though, the Badgers are in the perfect position to change everything. The team has kicked the season off in high gear, beating the likes of Michigan State and LSU. If their next two games (against Michigan and Ohio State) go as well as they expect, those are the sorts of victories that would serve them well with the playoff committee in the event that they win the league championship.
Even if the win against Michigan State was as a result of luck, no one can deny the fact that the Badgers have looked really good in the last few weeks; their performance over the last stretch of three games cannot be ignored, regardless of what one has to say about the failings of their opponents during those first three games.
Wisconsin showed that they have learned from past mistakes during the Michigan State game when their front contained running back LJ Scott. They also worked to pressure QB Tyler O’Connor.
The Badgers made a number of blunders during the game, but Michigan State was in no shape to capitalize on those weaknesses. They simply lacked the consistency while moving the ball.
Chryst wasn’t shy about admitting that a lot of the success they saw in the game was as a result of Michigan State’s many mistakes. The side gave the Badgers too many chances, and Chryst’s players had the discipline to capitalize on these opportunities.
Wisconsin now comfortably sits in 12th position when it comes to total defense; they are also 10th against the run. The question on everyone’s mind now is whether the Badgers can use this momentum to take the season as a whole.
They played well enough against Michigan State; the Badgers clearly understand the fundamentals of football. If the team can maintain this consistency, they could surprise everyone.
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