Another close game likely in store for Spartans; Narduzzi praises Bullough

We’re about 27 hours from kickoff and it’s almost time to “Jump Around” like they do at Camp Randall Stadium.

Michigan State is 4-4 and will be trying to avoid a third straight loss when it visits Wisconsin on Saturday.

And if the past is any indication, the Spartans are in store for another close, tightly contested game. Five of MSU’s games this season have been decided by five points or less. And games against Wisconsin have typically been close.

The Spartans are 3-3 against the Badgers since 2007 with each of the games being decided by less than 10 points. Here is a look at the MSU-Wisconsin series since Mark Dantonio took over as coach.

2007 – Wisconsin 37, MSU 34
2008 – MSU 25, Wisconsin 24
2009 – Wisconsin 38, MSU 30
2010 – MSU 34, Wisconsin 24
2011 – MSU 37, Wisconsin 31
2011 – Wisconsin 42, MSU 39*
*Big Ten championship game

MSU hasn’t visited Camp Randall Stadium since Sept. 26, 2009 when Scott Tolzien passed for four touchdowns in a Badger win. The Spartans have lost three straight games at Camp Randall. Their last victory in Madison was on Oct. 27, 2001 when Jeff Smoker and T.J. Duckett led the Spartans to a 42-28 win.

Wisconsin’s strong combo at tailback in Montee Ball and James White provides a concern for MSU. After struggling early in the season, Wisconsin’s ground attack has picked things up.

“Wisconsin’s running game is a concern, especially with the big offensive line,” MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said in comments released by the Spartan football Twitter feed. “They’re so big up front, they can engulf you.”

That’s where junior middle linebacker Max Bullough figures to be big for the Spartans. Bullough is having a strong season, ranking seventh in the Big Ten with 68 tackles. Bullough has picked things up the last four weeks, finishing with double-digit tackles in three of those games. His play has made him a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

“Max Bullough is a great football player. He’s playing so much better than he did a year ago,” Narduzzi said. “Max is playing with a lot more power and confidence. Mentally, he’s a genius. He knows how to get everybody lined up. With all of the in-game adjustments Max makes on the fly, it like having a computer play middle linebacker.”

Offensively, Aaron Burbridge continues to make a big impact. He enters Saturday’s game, leading the Big Ten in receptions per game (6.3) in conference play and second in receiving yards per game (91.3).

“Aaron Burbridge has exceptional ball skills, and he catches the ball naturally,” MSU offensive coordinator Dan Roushar said in remarks released by the official Spartan football Twitter feed. “Like B.J. (Cunningham), Aaron competes the same way on the practice field as he does on game day.”

For Saturday’s game, fifth-year senior Tyler Hoover will serve as MSU’s fourth captain.

Also football related, Solari writes that the Spartans will need another strong defensive effort against the Badgers.

In other links, the MSU hockey team seeks an improved CCHA start. From Big Ten basketball media day, Graham Couch writes about the conference being excited its hoops season after disappointment on the football field and there’s also a piece on women’s basketball player Klarissa Bell, who is looking to regain her “scorer’s mentality.” And MSU is hosting the Big Ten cross country championships this weekend and prep editor Dick Hoekstra previews the event, which features former local prep standout Maverick Darling running for Wisconsin.

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25 Responses to Another close game likely in store for Spartans; Narduzzi praises Bullough

  1. avatar Spartan in Los Angeles says:

    Let’s get behind my boys and turn this mojo around. Perhaps Coach Dantonio
    Can borrow a page from Poncho’s study of Oregon’s fast paced practice from the film room of the Breslin. We need a surprise here, something Wisconsin is not prepared for. A quick 14 points before adjustments can be made. Our defense can take it from there. Start the game with a perfectly executed onside kick perhaps? Think out of the box , Mark.
    Go Green

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      If we get 14 points in the first two possessions, I revise my prediction
      MSU 20
      Wisconsin 17
      Go White!!

    • avatar GoSt8Go says:


      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        Has anyone here seen my old friend play action?
        Can you tell me where has gone
        He freed a lot of wide outs but is seems the good they die young
        I looked around and he was gone

        Has anybody here seen my old friend misdirection?
        Can you tell me where he’s gone?
        He fooled a lot of linebackers but it seems the good they die young
        I looked around and he was gone

        Has anybody here seen my old friend no huddle?
        Can you tell me where he’s gone?
        I thought I saw him getting erased on Dan Roushar’s dry board
        With play action, misdirection, they were gone.

  2. avatar MayoSpartan says:

    Do Brian’s comments about the Badger game capture a desperate and negative tone, and rightfully so?

    MLive has a bit more MSU content, but the slant is also dismal… and the past couple of games may indicate a much better performance from Maxwell & Co’ s offense is in the making. If you read this guy’s stuff …. our “program’s downward direction…” makes it sound as though one rough season proves MSU is a flash in the pan.


    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      One down year does not change a program, look at Michigan coming back from 3-9. Physically we are right there with everybody, games just went the other way this year, theoretically we should have split our four close games and be 5-3 right now. We will win 9 or more again next year, let’s just get to a bowl for the extra practice.

  3. avatar jerseyjohn says:

    i was at the 2001 game in madison..it was the game tyrell dortch left in an ambulance..if i recall it was also bobby williams’ only big ten road victory.

  4. avatar GoSt8Go says:

    Wisconsin’s rushing offense is statiscally worse than scUM’s. Passing-wise, they are 100th in the country. Guess what Narduzzi will do?

    They’re defense is a bit behind ours in both passing and rushing. The game being in Madison and the history of this game between the two, expect a brawl.

    MSU 13-10

  5. avatar behind the green curtain says:

    It appears the marine is throwing in the towel gentlemen

    USMCret says:
    October 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm
    I am throwing in the towel. For the rest of the year I will follow the Arkansas Razorbacks. Their coach is a natural born leader who has the hogs on a roll.
    We can not compete with the 100 million dollar budgets in Columbus and Ann Arbor, just like I could never compete with the top pilots in the Marine Corp. Can anyone help me raise funds to buy out Roushars contract?

    • avatar IBleedGreen says:

      Goose poop.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        Thanks, man. JLS is starting to post under my moniker and then claiming he “found it”. (You know like you kid brother or sister did when she had you stuff – or you did when you had theirs).

        Point of fact folks, Agent 86 leads the B1G in Passing yards as does Le’Veon in rushing yards. Just need to have those numbers to translate to points.

        • avatar behind the green curtain says:

          After reviewing and breaking down the film, position by position I am concerned about Wisconsin. It would appear to me that Dantonio has at least 40 million reasons to be worried.
          It is appalling how many glaring and fundamental physical mismatches I saw . I have always been a big supporter of Coach Dantonio, but I am now starting to question whether MSU can stay with this team?

          • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

            Did you just cut and paste this? wow, such a talent. Don’t eat the paste, at your age, it’s not a diarrhetic, try prunes.

            Hope you haven’t picked out the double wide, yet. I hear he’s getting the mortgage for it from Country Time.

          • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

            Double wide nothing. He’s going to have to live under a pier in Santa Monica.

  6. avatar Breadtruck86 says:

    We’ve had some great games with these guys the last few years. Here’s to hoping they walk away with another win.

  7. avatar GoSt8Go says:

    Proud to have been with Shane in a few grad classes, not because of his football experience, but because he was genuine guy. Best to Max tomorrow. There is another season to make a grandfather’s dream come true. Go State Go

  8. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Brian, Diamond83 is one of the better writers at MLive. The new guy is no better than Cracker – he just wants everyone to know how much better the SEC is.

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