Michigan State is hoping to recapture some of the spirit of 1998. That year, they went into Columbus to face top-ranked Ohio State and came away with an earth-shattering 28-24 upset win. Mark Dantonio was an assistant on the staff of Nick Saban, who was on the East Lansing portion of his Coaching Across America tour. Dantonio hopes he can find some of the old magic. Coincidentally, 1998 also happened to be an autumn in which the Indians ousted the Red Sox from the playoffs. One win from the World Series, the state of Ohio hopes the historical analogy has its limits.
The Spartans run the ball very well, with Javon Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick, and if they can get a lead it could be interesting to see if they can manage it. If MSU does run the ball well with Ringer, they can thank the results of some test scores for why he's not on the other sideline.
But in the end, Michigan State is going up against a defense that has been airtight and MSU has had problems cashing in their red zone opportunities. They can't get in a scoring race, and they haven't defended the pass all that well. None of which bodes well for trying to escape Columbus with a win.
This was the right point in the schedule for Wisconsin to draw Northern Illinois. With a game against the struggling Huskies this week and a home date with Indiana next week, UW can quickly put up a couple wins and get to 7-2. That won't solve the tangible problems that have been exposed the last two weeks, but it might help the intangible element of the psyche, as they gear up for November games with both Michigan and Ohio State.
The Badgers got some good news this week with their receiving corps. Paul Hubbard is recovering quicker then expected. On the field, freshman Kyle Jefferson is taking advantage of his chance to play and caught six passes for 124 yards in State College, and was named his team's offensive MVP. A more inspiring story of recovery in the UW receiving corps is the tale of position coach Henry Mason, who continues the road back from a spinal cord injury.
Purdue is doing some shuffling at running back. Kory Sheets' unproductive outings against Michigan and Ohio State, combined with his propensity to put the ball on the ground have led Joe Tiller to look more toward a running back-by-committee. We can look for three or four players to get carries in their home game with Iowa. One of them may be Jaycen Taylor who is rapidly recovering from a broken arm.