Coming off of a rough game against Georgia State, Wisconsin came into East Lansing with a new starting quarterback in redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook.
#11 Wisconsin rolled into Sparty-land, defeating #8 Michigan State, 30-6.
After a week of preaching how important third down conversions and offensive efficiency were, head coach Paul Chryst had to have been happy with how his offense responded.
Hornibrook led the offense in converting early and often on third down, going 9 for 12 on third down, and converting six first downs. The first time starter was also able to spread the ball around and throw beautiful balls downfield. Jazz Peavy finished with four catches for 96 yards, Troy Fumagalli finished with four catches for 42 yards, and Rob Wheelwright finished with three receptions for 34 yards.
Chryst did not shy away from gutsy play calls. On 4th & 1 from the three-yard line in the second quarter, Alec Ingold kept the team’s first drive alive, getting the first down. Hornibrook then finished the job completing a touchdown pass to tight end Eric Steffes, giving the Badgers a 7-3 lead. His gutsy calls early on gave the Badgers some fight in a tough road game.
But, despite Hornibrook’s successes, the Wisconsin defense was the story of the game.
The biggest play in the first half came when linebacker T.J. Edwards applied the pressure on Michigan State quarterback Tyler O’Connor and senior cornerback Sojourn Shelton intercepted a pass as Wisconsin took control on the Michigan State 28-yard line. The Badgers would capitalize on a 1-yard touchdown run from Corey Clement.
Wisconsin’s defense quickly responded in the second half when D’Cota Dixon forced a fumble that was taken all the way back 66 yards for a touchdown by safety Leo Musso.
The Spartans would muff a snap on a punt that led to another Clement touchdown. In all, the Badgers forced four turnovers and added four sacks. T.J. Watt led the pass rush with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.
For the first time since 1962, Wisconsin has defeated two top 8 teams in the country in the same season. Both of these have come away from Camp Randall.
The Badgers will face another daunting task next Saturday as they face Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Photo courtesy of AP Photos.