The Wisconsin Badgers and the Michigan State Spartans meet on Saturday night for the first-ever Big Ten Championship game. For a head-to-head series that has seen momentum shift according to home field advantage, as a true road team last one in head-to-head play back in 2002 when the Badgers beat the Spartans 42-24, the excitement only builds for a neutral-field showdown at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.
The staff at SB Nation's Wisconsin Badgers blog, Bucky's 5th Quarter, are focusing in on stopping Spartans QB Kirk Cousins:
The key for UW will be containing MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has made a habit of converting third downs against the Badgers. The senior quarterback has completed 64.3 percent of his passes and boasts a 21-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has thrown just two picks in his last seven games.
In response, SB Nation's Michigan State Spartans blog, The Only Colors, doesn't particularly think the Badgers defense has what it takes to stop Cousins and the passing attack:
Wisconsin's pass defense has been ranked tops in the Big Ten by virtue of giving up only 144.5 yards through the air per game. This is my rebuttal. Quick: What do Edward Wright-Baker, Tre Robinson, Taylor Martinez,Braxton Miller, Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve, MarQueis Gray, Nathan Scheelhaase, and the Matt McGloin/Rob Bolden have in common? Those are the quarterbacks other than Kirk Cousins that Wisconsin's faced in conference this season. The Badger defense also faced Northern Illinois QB Chandler Harnish, who must be better than at least half the QBs I just listed. So even though Wisconsin might have the top pass defense in the Big Ten, the degree of difficulty in quarterbacks faced hasn't been too steep.
This is going to be a fun one, so make sure to join in the action and stick with SB Nation throughout the day for updates and more.
Game date, time: 7:00 p.m. CST, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011.
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana
TV channel: FOX
Spread: Wisconsin favored by 10 points
Series history: Michigan State leads, 30-20
For more on this game, head over to Wisconsin blog Bucky's 5th Quarter and Michigan State blog The Only Colors. Visit SB Nation NCAA Football for more on Championship Weekend.