“When you get to play in front of 80,000 fans it’s a big deal. It’s a whole different atmosphere here at Camp Randall,” senior linebacker Zach Baun said.
Zach Baun and the Badgers have become comfortable and accustomed to playing at Camp Randall with a five-game homestand early in the season.
The No.8 Wisconsin Badgers (5-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) will look to improve to 6-0 with Michigan State Spartans (4-2 overall, 2-1 Big Ten) coming to town for homecoming weekend.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2016 and the first meeting at Camp Randall since 2012. The Badgers won the last meeting in 2016 3-6 which is the only time Paul Chryst has faced the Spartans as head coach.
The week 7 matchup will be between two teams heading in two different directions with completely different mindsets.
Michigan State will look to bounce back from an embarrassing loss in Columbus a week ago and avoid falling to 4-3 while Wisconsin is hoping to continue to keep their ship moving. They have started out 5-0 on the legs of Jonathan Taylor and a smothering defense that has given up points on just five possessions so far.
The biggest matchup will be between Taylor and that daunting Michigan State defense that is stacked with talent that will be playing on Sundays in the future.
A week ago, J.K. Dobbins and the Ohio State offense had success on the ground with Dobbins gashing the Spartans front seven for 172 yards and a touchdown on 7.2 yards per carry. Before that, the prolific defense led by Kenny Willekes and Joe Bachie had only surrendered 1.86 yards per carry to opponents in their first six games.
We all know the Wisconsin offense is predicated on their running attack so the success of the offensive line and subsequently, the success of quarterback Jack Coan to open the middle will be huge.
The X-factor of this game might be how much pressure Jack Coan and the Wisconsin receivers can put on the Michigan State defense that also has s nice secondary led by cornerback Josiah Scott.
Coan has yet to be asked to do much with Taylor playing as well as he has so if Taylor is contained like he was against Northwestern, this game might come down to the play of Coan’s arm.
On the other side of the ball, the stout Wisconsin defense will look to prey on a suspect Michigan State offense. The offense is led by three-year starter at quarterback Brian Lewerke who has led an offense that has put up less than impressive numbers.
Against a top-ranked defense in Ohio State last week they only managed to put up ten points and their competition does not get easier with a trip to Madison this week.
Much like Chase Young made Lewerke’s day a nightmare in Columbus, Zach Baun and Chris Orr won’t make Camp Randall comfortable for Lewerke either.
The Badgers have already surpassed their 2018 sack total through five games and have their eyes on continuing their dominance and becoming one of the best UW defenses of all time.
The Spartans present a chance to shove it to critics who have pointed their early success to a “soft” schedule.
Back in conference play, the Badgers will look to improve to 6-0, and 3-0 in Big Ten play. They close out a stretch of five games at home before closing out their season with four of their six remaining games on the road.