Struggling Michigan State desperate for win vs. Wisconsin

Wisconsin (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) at Michigan State (2-4, 0-3), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (Fox)

Line: Wisconsin by 7½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook

Series record: Michigan State leads 30-24.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Wisconsin hopes to keep the momentum going under interim coach Jim Leonhard following its rout of Northwestern. The Badgers snapped a two-game losing streak with the win to stay in the race for the Big Ten West crown. Michigan State is desperate for a win as it has dropped four straight since opening with victories over Western Michigan and Akron. The Spartans have been outscored 149-68 and given up 2,114 yards in those losses.

KEY MATCHUP

Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz vs. Michigan State’s pass defense. Mertz threw for a career-high 299 yards and matched a career high with five touchdown passes against Northwestern. He’ll be facing a defense that’s ranked 122nd out of 131 teams, allowed 292 passing yards per game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wisconsin: WR Chimere Dike had a career day vs. Northwestern, totaling 10 catches, 185 yards and three touchdowns, all career highs. He is the first Wisconsin WR to haul in three scores and go for 185-plus yards in a single game since Lee Evans did so against Michigan State in 2003.

Michigan State: RB Jalen Berger, a Wisconsin transfer, leads the Spartans in rushing with 308 yards and four touchdowns. Berger had a team-high 301 yards rushing for Wisconsin in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season but was dismissed from the team in October 2021 after his playing time had dropped significantly.

FACTS & FIGURES

Wisconsin has won two of the last three regular-season meetings between the two schools, winning in 2016 and 2019. Michigan State’s last victory over the Badgers came in 2012 when it rallied for the overtime win. … Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen has rushed for least 100 yards in 11 of his last 15 games. The Badgers are is 10-1 when Allen reaches the century mark. … Michigan State’s LB/DL Jacoby Windmon leads the FBS in forced fumbles (5), is tied for seventh in sacks (5.5 for 31 yards), and is tied for 16th in tackles for loss (8.5 for 40 yards). … Wisconsin S Kamo’i Latu was named the Big Ten defensive player of the week after his two-interception performance against Northwestern.

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