There was not a whole lot of movement in the top portion of the Amway Coaches Poll this week, as most of the top teams maintained their positioning within the top 10. Alabama remains on top of the coaches poll, without much debate, ahead of Ohio State, Clemson and Louisville.
The Miami Hurricanes had the biggest rise in the coaches poll this week, jumping up five spots to No. 14 with a 3-0 record. The Hurricanes trail No. 13 Baylor, the highest-ranked team in the Big 12 in this week’s coaches poll.
No. 8 Wisconsin is one of three Big Ten teams in the top 10, joining Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan. No. 15 Nebraska moved ahead of No. 16 Michigan State this week.
Here is the full coaches top 25 for this week, with first-place votes noted;
Ohio State (2)
San Diego State
WATCH: Like his team, Mark Dantonio disappeared during blowout loss
Who knew that Mark Dantonio was into prestidigitation?
As you already know by now, No. 8 Michigan State was overwhelmed and embarrassed by No. 11 Wisconsin Saturday afternoon, then taken to the woodshed for good measure in a not-as-close-as-it-sounds 30-6 loss in East Lansing. The Spartans’ running game was practically non-existent on the afternoon (2.8 yards per carry), and its special teams weren’t much better.
Those two phases of the game essentially disappeared for the whole of the blowout, as did their head coach at one point in the contest.
It just might be time to start taking No. 11 Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) seriously as a Big Ten threat. Feel free to throw the Badgers in your late September College Football Playoff conversation if you are so inclined, but the Badgers made mincemeat of No.8 Michigan State (2-1, 0-1 Big Ten) and may have put the Big Ten on notice with some very challenging games still to come in the next month. Wisconsin picked up their second win against a top 10 opponent with a 30-6 victory at Michigan State.
Wisconsin put this game away in the third quarter. After taking a 13-6 lead into halftime, the Badgers defense made a big play to open the scoring in the second half. Michigan State running back LJ Scott had the ball pop out of his hands on a run up the middle, and free safety Leo Musso managed to pick up the loose ball and make his way down the left side of the field, shove aside Michigan State quarterback Tyler O’Connor attempting to make a tackle, and get some blockers to make his way to the end zone for a wild touchdown. The score seemed to deflate the Spartans just a little more than they already had been against the Badgers defense. Wisconsin took advantage of a special teams mistake when a punt snap went above the punter and the ball was downed at the five-yard line. One play later, Corey Clement ran in for a knockout blow of a touchdown, putting the Badgers up 30-6.
O’Connor was picked off by the Badgers defense three times in the game, and he completed just 18 of 38 pass attempts. Scott managed to pick up just 61 rushing yards on the ground for the Spartans. Michigan State may have to go back to the drawing board with its offense.
Wisconsin opened the year with a win against LSU, who was then ranked in the preseason top 10. Maybe LSU was overhyped (LSU was definitely overhyped), but take nothing away from what the Badgers have managed to do, even if this is a step-back year for Michigan State. Few teams have accumulated two quality wins the way Wisconsin has four weeks into the season. The only team that may have done better is Alabama, although the Crimson Tide’s win against now 1-3 USC looks far less sexy than it could have. Does this make Wisconsin the team to beat in the Big Ten? No. Not at this point, with Michigan and Ohio State still looming. But the Badgers are most certainly worthy of praise for what they have accomplished in September.
Next up for Wisconsin is a return trip to the state of Michigan to play the Wolverines. Michigan hosts Penn State today, looking to keep an undefeated start to the season in play. Wisconsin will be Michigan’s toughest opponent to date when the two meet next week in Michigan Stadium. Wisconsin will get a much-needed bye week after that but it gets no easier once they return to action. Wisconsin hosts Ohio State, visits Iowa and then hosts Nebraska in October.
Michigan State will hit the road next week to continue Big Ten play. The Spartans head to Bloomington to take on Indiana. Michigan State’s next home game will be no easy one either, with BYU heading in for a non-conference battle.
Wisconsin closed out the first half in East Lansing with a 13-3 run to take a 13-6 lead on Michigan State into the halftime break. If you were looking for a good defensive battle this afternoon, look no further than Michigan State vs. Wisconsin, because the Spartans and Badgers are playing tough on that side of the football.
Michigan State scored a field goal midway through the first quatre for the 3-0 lead, but the Badgers have managed to string together a 16-play drive covering 65 yards for a touchdown. Alex Hornibrook tossed a short pass to tight end Eric Steffes for a one-yard touchdown pass and the lead. Badgers running back Corey Clement scored from the goal line midway through the second quarter to cap a much shorter six-play, 28-yard drive setup by the defense. Sojourn Shelton picked off a pass from Michigan State’s Tyler O’Conner to put the Badgers up in great position. Michigan State would tack on another field goal before halftime.
The Spartans are playing without linebacker Riley Bullough, who was ruled out for the game and could potentially be out longer according to Vinnie Duber of CSN Chicago. Bullough is out due to an injury, the school announced prior to kickoff today. The injury was reportedly sustained last week against Notre Dame.
Wisconsin has taken advantage of their third and fourth-down opportunities so far. The Badgers have converted five of eight third down situations, and are a clean two-for-two on fourth down thanks to the fullback dive.
Protests during Week 4 of the college football season that began Friday night have bled over into Saturday’s action.
Prior to the Wiconsin-Michigan State this afternoon, three Spartans — fullback Delton Williams, defensive end Gabe Sherrod, safety Kenney Lyke — raised their fists in protest during the playing of the national anthem.