This is not how things were expected to go in the Big Ten Conference. At the beginning of the season, Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State (our MOMS) all ranked in the Top-25. All three had tremendous success early. It was very clear who the frontrunners of the Big Ten would be, as we discussed here in Week 1.
But then Wisconsin came along… and they didn’t even bring a cheese plate.
Wisconsin came in unranked, but quickly showed the football world the power of their defense in a close, low-scoring victory over National Championship hopeful LSU.
Saturday, they went on to knocked off Michigan State in a completely one-sided affair.
Like Wisconsin, Michigan State’s defense looked stout coming into Week 4. Sparty held the Irish to just 57 rushing yards. Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer had a great day passing with 344 total yards failed to actually pass for a touchdown until the end of the 3rd quarter. The final score of 36-28 belies the one-sided nature of this game- half of Notre Dame’s points came in the fourth quarter when Michigan State had all but assured victory.
But Wisconsin’s defense proved the more powerful over Michigan State. The Badgers held the Spartans to six total points off of two field goals all in the first half. Michigan State QB Tyler O’Connor completed only 47% of his passes and threw three interceptions. The Wisconsin defense even scored a touchdown off of a Michigan State fumble.
Offensively, Wisconsin is no juggernaut. They have an average QB, an average RB, and average receivers. But their defense has granted them unquestioned, albeit unwelcome, access to the Big 10 MOMS brunch club.
We’re not counting Michigan State out just yet. But they appear to be a few steps behind in what’s shaping up to be an even more contentious Big Ten Conference than originally anticipated.
And what about the other MOMS? Well, Ohio State is off this week after a dominant performance against Oklahoma, and Michigan made mincemeat out of Penn State. They’re sitting at the head of the brunch table.
The Badgers take on the Wolverines this week. Will Wisconsin knock off the other contender in Michigan? Keep checking in to see how the Drama of the MOM(S) unfolds.
Sports Analytics and Business at Indiana University
Statistics courtesy of ESPN
Image courtesy of Fansided.com