Michigan State football embarrassed by Wisconsin, 38-0


Mark Dantonio reacts after Michigan State’s blowout loss to Wisconsin in Madison, Oct. 12, 2019.
Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press

MADISON, Wis. —  Michigan State football looked like it was sleepwalking Saturday inside Camp Randall Stadium.

Maybe it was the cold, gray, windy day. Or the recent players leaving for the NCAA transfer portal. Or last week’s beatdown at Ohio State.

And maybe it had something to do with No. 8 Wisconsin being dynamic on defense and overwhelming on offense. Because the Badgers certainly are and showed it in a 38-0 victory.

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Oct 12, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers fullback John Chenal (44) rushes with the football as Michigan State Spartans cornerback Josiah Scott (22) defends during the second quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. (Photo: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

It was the manner in which the Spartans got bullied and bashed that made it one of the worst and most thorough beatdowns of Mark Dantonio’s tenure. It was just the second time the Spartans were shut out in Dantonio’s 13 seasons at MSU, the only other a 38-0 loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal on Dec. 31, 2015.

The Spartans (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten) now get a week off before hosting No. 9 Penn State on Oct. 26 and have back to back losses to dwell on during the first of two byes.

Crushing day

MSU got dominated from start to finish on both sides of the ball in much the same way they used to do to opponents in the middle of the decade – controlling the clock and running the ball with power, allowing its defense to stay fresh and be physical.

The Spartans totaled just 149 yards of offense. They managed just seven first downs, the first time they were held under 10 since Dantonio’s debut season in 2007 against Ohio State. They had the ball just over 20 minutes.

The offense managed just 87 yards before QB Brian Lewerke got benched after Wisconsin returned a fourth-quarter interception for a touchdown, with just two first down drives in his seven possessions. The senior went 7-of-16 for 53 yards passing and ran for 4 yards on eight attempts. He was sacked twice.

The defense fared little better.

Wisconsin (6-0, 3-0) totaled 402 yards and is the third straight team to score 30 or more on the Spartans. MSU became the just the sixth team to hold RB Jonathan Taylor under 100 yards, but he had 80 yards on 26 attempts with two scores. QB Jack Coan went 18-of-21 for 180 yards and a TD as the Badgers held the ball for over 39 minutes.

Paltry start


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csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.

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