Linebacker Mike Taylor is currently second on the team in tackles with 57 this year. MSU running backs Le’Veon Bell and Edwin Baker will demand that number to increase.[/media-credit]It’s not too common of a thing in sports for both teams in an upcoming match to have grounds for a grudge against the other. Usually it’s just one team that gets rebuffed while the other holds the bragging rights until next time.But between Wisconsin (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) football team and Michigan State (5-1, 2-0), the matter is a little more complicated.For Wisconsin, ranked No. 6 in the BCS standings, it’s a painful memory of a 34-24 loss at Spartan Stadium in last October’s Big Ten opener, which put a bruise on an otherwise euphoric regular season.In the hours that followed last Saturday’s 59-7 win over Indiana, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball said the Badgers hope to compensate for last year’s loss.“We feel like we owe them from last year, and we do owe them,” Ball said. “We’ll make sure that we practice extremely hard and go in there confident.”Meanwhile, for No. 16 Michigan State, it’s the frustrating fact that despite beating Wisconsin and tying them for the Big Ten crown, it was the Badgers who were invited to the Rose Bowl, while the Spartans were relegated to the Citrus Bowl.And in the hours that followed his team’s 28-14 victory over rival Michigan last Saturday, Spartan safety Isaiah Lewis made it clear how determined he and the rest of the MSU defense is, saying they’re going to “hurt” UW quarterback Russell Wilson.And now both teams will get another chance to settle the matter.For nearly a decade, home field advantage has seemingly proven to be quite a difference-maker between the two teams. Neither team has tasted victory on the other’s turf since Wisconsin did so in 2002. Since then, the University of Wisconsin is 0-3 at Spartan Stadium.For the second straight year, though, the Badgers will make the trip to East Lansing. But that prior experience may give them a lift this time, according to UW center Peter Konz.“It was tough last year; we didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “[I had] never been [at Spartan Stadium] – a lot of guys, it was their first time. So I think it was a blessing to have gone there and experienced what we’ve experienced because this year we’re going into another hostile environment.”“It’s going to be nighttime this time; teams are higher ranked. It’s going to help us, what we faced last year, to get mentally prepared coming into this game.”In East Lansing, the Badgers won’t find just an unfriendly atmosphere where wins are hard to come by, but they’ll also face perhaps the nation’s best defense as well.After six games, the Spartan defense has all sorts of gaudy numbers to affirm its dominance. For those keeping count, MSU is first in defensive passing efficiency (84.35), first in pass defense (119.17 yards per game), second in total defense (186 per game), third in rush defense (67 per game), fourth in scoring defense (10.83 points per game) and eighth in sacks (3.5 per game).But what’s made bigger news as of late for the Spartans defense is unnecessary roughness penalties (six came last week) and post-game quotes like the one from Lewis.The Spartans are 13th in the nation in penalties per game with 7.67, and on Thursday the Big Ten handed down a one-game suspension to defensive end William Gholston for “violating the Big Ten Sportsmanlike Conduct Agreement” against Michigan last week, ruling him out for Saturday’s game against UW.Gholston was seen on camera twisting the helmet of one Wolverine player and, later, punching another in the helmet.The intimidating nature of the Spartan defense is something UW head coach Bret Bielema attempted to simulate in this week’s preparation.“We kind of embrace it,” Bielema said. “We don’t run from it, so I give my offensive scout, or my defensive scout teams the liberty to say whatever they want and push [starters] within reason.”The message: Stay cool.“You got to be smart about it. You got to recognize that this is almost like a gameplan type-thing,” Konz said. “That’s part of our preparation because we know that’s part of who they are and that’s part of their defense.”On the other end of the ball, Michigan State brings one of the Big Ten’s best quarterbacks in senior Kirk Cousins, who’s third in league in passing yards with 219.5 per game and fourth in efficiency rating at 140.5.Similar to his counterpart, Wilson, Cousins is flanked by a stable of capable running backs, most notably sophomore Le’Veon Bell, standing at 6-foot-2, 237 pounds, and Edwin Baker at 5-foot-9, 210 pounds. The two are both hitting an average of just under five yards a carry and are combining for 117.8 a game.“Baker, he’s the smaller and quicker one, but they each got speed,” linebacker Mike Taylor said, who is second on the Badgers with 57 tackles. “Bell is almost 240 pounds; you got to tackle him really fundamentally. You got to play them both tough.”
Sarah Kim | Daily TrojanDo the JuJu · Junior wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster broke out of his early season slump going for 89 yards on eight catches against Utah.Friday. Smith-Schuster leads the team in touchdowns with two.On Saturday, the football team continues its difficult schedule, playing their second undefeated team in as many weeks. In just its second home game of the year, USC (1-3) will face an unranked ASU (4-0).This will arguably be the toughest game the Sun Devils have played so far after playing Northern Arizona, Texas Tech and Cal at home as well as one road game against the University of Texas at San Antonio.ASU has been handling its business and USC put a heavy focus on its defense during this week’s practices. The Sun Devils have the top-scoring offense in the conference while averaging 48.8 points per game. This is also the seventh-highest offensive average in the FBS.Additionally, the team is averaging 21.7 points in the fourth quarter, meaning USC will have to seal the deal if they get an early lead, something they failed to do last week against Utah. The Sun Devils have scored all 18 trips they have made to the red zone. This offensive barrage will be a challenge for a USC team that ranks seventh in the conference in total defense.The men behind the scoring flurries have been redshirt sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins and a strong running back corps, including juniors Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage.“I’m beyond impressed with Manny Wilkins and his pocket sense of being able to create off pass attempts,” head coach Clay Helton said. “He’s as good as I’ve seen thus far in that area.”Wilkins has thrown for 1,085 yards with 5 touchdowns and three interceptions while going 84-125 on the season. He is also the second-leading rusher for the Sun Devils having accrued 312 yards on 56 attempts with 4 touchdowns.“One of the things that stands out to you immediately is their up-tempo offense,” Helton said. “They are putting up 80-plus plays a game.”The high-tempo offense has translated into a high-scoring machine and the top two running backs will pose a problem for the Trojans if their front seven struggles to stop the ball they way it did against Utah. Richard has 356 yards on the season and is averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He also has 1 touchdown.One of the most dynamic performances in the country this season came from Ballage who tied the FBS record for most touchdowns in a game after scoring 8 against Texas Tech. Ballage is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and has 285 total yards to complement his 9 touchdowns on the year.Part of containing the explosive offense will involve quarterback pressure, something the team has focused on this week after failing to register a sack against Utah last week. Due to the pace of the Sun Devils, Helton said he expects to see more playing time from freshman defensive ends Connor Murphy and Oluwole Betiku and junior inside linebacker Olajuwon Tucker.Offensively, redshirt freshman Sam Darnold is starting his first game in the Coliseum, and even though he admitted to feeling some nerves before last week’s game, he is preparing as normal for Saturday’s matchup.“They’re a really good football team, a really good bunch,” Darnold said. “Obviously late in games, what you saw in that Cal game with two late interceptions, that was obviously huge for them. It’s a great football team, we’re just looking to execute and play our style ball.”The Sun Devils have the toughest run defense in the conference, allowing only 95 yards per game, but have the worst pass defense, giving up 404 yards per game. Helton said he wants senior tailback Justin Davis to get 20-25 carries this game, but if ASU stifles the run game, Darnold will have to find his receivers.Against Power-5 teams, the Trojans have not thrown for a touchdown this season, but there were signs of life in the air against Utah with Darnold connecting with top receiver junior JuJu Smith-Schuster for eight catches and 98 yards.“The whole game plan wasn’t set up around me, but there were plays that were made for me,” Smith-Schuster said. “A lot of the plays were nine-yard stop routes and with the defense they were playing, I was allowed to get the ball more.”Smith-Schuster and company face the Sun Devils in a 5:30 p.m. clash in the Coliseum. The game is also being televised on FOX.