We did a Q&A with Andrew Rosin of Bucky’s 5th Quarter, check it out here!
1.) This has nothing to do with the upcoming game, but why are you a Badgers fan?
Ironically, I became a Badger fan in part because of a loss. I mean, my first game was back in the dark days of the Don Morton era (look him up kids). They lost to Western Michigan. And yet they celebrated. The Little Andrew found the 5th quarter to be awesome, and a tradition to be loved. Silly non-football reason, I know, but here it is.
2.) You made a (hopefully) sarcastic post before the season started about “Why Michigan State Will Go Winless”, and that seems a lot smarter than I thought it did. I thought we’d be 6-2 at this point, not 4-4. How serious were you in making those predictions?
Me, sarcastic? Nah. All honesty, it was a mixture of them being treated as a Legends Division sleeper, and the fact that I didn’t trust Andrew Maxwell as a quarterback and there being some pieces on defense gone to the league. If I was being honest? I would have tagged them at 4-4 or 5-3, if I was being nice.
But I would be worried about the possibility of going into the Northwestern game needing to win out to be bowl eligible.
3.) Do you believe, right now, that MSU-Wisconsin is the most heated rivalry in the B1G?
Yes. 100% yes. There is no game in the B1G that has anywhere near the energy that this game has, even despite the Badgers early-season and Sparty’s current struggles. And even before the bomb, the tiebreaker, and the catch and flop? The margin of victory’s never been more than one score since the Badgers and Spartans started back up in 2007. Shame this ends for a while after the year.
4.) What happened to Wisconsin at the beginning of the year? How much better have they gotten?
There was a massive amount of transition that the preseason magazines decided to ignore. They were overrated to start the year. Between the quarterback, the receivers, the offensive line, and the coaches that left after last year’s Rose Bowl? There was a lot that had to be settled. Also, the Badgers have had bad luck with injuries. Especially on the defensive and offensive lines and with Jared Abbrederis’ concussion.
How much better are they? They’re definitely up to a good team. But they have weaknesses. Placekicking for one. If Sparty’s up by two late and the Badgers need a field goal to win. No Badger fan will like those odds. And there’s a real hole in that there’s not a consistent second receiving option. You stop Abbrederis, and Stave struggles. At least that’s what the second half of the Nebraska and the Minnesota game showed.
But the running game is healthy. And that’s about 75% of why the Badgers win.
5.) What player on Michigan State worries you the most?
The obvious answer is Le’Veon Bell. The Nebraska game is a script that Sparty can use to win. Be patient with Bell, and thump and thump, and rely on the rush defense to force the Badgers into a massive amount of three and outs, thus wearing down the Badgers solid front seven.
Suffice it to say I’m worried about the run defense too.
6.) What under-the-radar player on Wisconsin should MSU be worried about?
Under the radar, eh? The Badgers have a massive run stuffer on the defensive line named Beau Allen. He’s good enough to bull his way into the backfield against most guards and centers, and take on two blockers so that the top notch linebacking crew can flow to the ball. A part of the reason why the running game got healthy was when Kyle Costigan was inserted into the starting lineup before the UTEP game. He’s a nasty run blocker and he will not be outworked. He’s got the sort of toughness to demand to stay in the game even when his knee’s falling apart.
7.) What does MSU have to do to beat Wisconsin, and vice-versa?
I’ve mentioned this before, but while the starters are talented, the Badgers aren’t deep on defense. And a team that can force the Badgers into three and outs, the running game starts to develop holes. They will also fall asleep for a play or three and get got on a big play. If Sawyer Kollmorgen can get a long touchdown, Andrew Maxwell can absolutely get one.
For the Badgers, they need to win third down. One of the situations where the Badgers have had issues have been on third and short. Stave’s gone 6-15 on third and 6 or less. And the Badgers have converted just over 50% on runs from 3rd and 3 or less. They sustain the drive, Sparty has no shot.
8.) I’m headed up to Wisconsin to watch the game. Do you have any recommendations/comments for me and everyone else going up to Madison as to what you should do/see?
If you want a nice bit of local flavor, you should go to Dotty Dumpling’s Dowry. The Burgers are top notch and a shake and cheese curds make for a fulfilling, if supremely unhealthy meal. Otherwise, for a newbie, take a walk down State Street. Visit the shops, and enjoy.
9.) Give us your best score prediction.
Badgers 21, Michigan State 13, Bell gets a TD, Ball gets 2.