The Badgers and Spartans enter this game being able to relate to each other’s situations rather well. Their respective outcomes are practically a mirror image. Both teams began with a resounding 3-0 start against decent competition. However, both teams also experienced the rungs snapping on their ladder to success with losing streaks in the Big Ten.
The Spartans sauntered into Camp Randall Stadium handling a pretty fancy resume holding opponents to 40 yards on the ground and being the leading rush defense in the nation. Unfortunately for Michigan State, the interview process, conducted by Heisman candidate Ron Dayne, did not go very well. Dayne collected 51 yards on his first touchdown run four plays into the game and finished the day with 214 putting him 483 yards from the all time rushing record. Up to this point, the most Michigan State had allowed an entire team was 108 yards.
After defeating #7 Penn State on the road, Wisconsin dropped its next two to #4 Ohio State and #11 Northwestern to set their record at 2-3-1. Northwestern’s 35-0 victory demoralized the Badgers on route to their stunning 8-0 Big Ten Championship season. Therefore, coming into the game with 4-2-1 Michigan State, Badger fans were not expecting much from their team.