3Q update: Spartans still in command
December, 3, 2011
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com
INDIANAPOLIS -- We've got another good one brewing between No. 13 Michigan State and No. 15 Wisconsin here at Lucas Oil Stadium, where Michigan State leads 36-28 after three quarters of play. The offenses have slowed down a bit, but Michigan State hit on a huge play at the end of the quarter to regain its 8-point advantage.
- Kirk Cousins is having another huge performance against Wisconsin. The Spartans senior quarterback has completed 21 of 25 pass attempts for 270 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Aside from the pick, Cousins has been brilliant, continuing his surge from November.
- Jared Abbrederis has been Russell Wilson's favorite target for much of the season, but Abbrederis had no catches and wasn't targeted at all in the first half. Wisconsin needed to get No. 4 involved and delivered as Wilson evaded a face-mask-tugging Johnny Adams and found Abbrederis wide open for a 42-yard touchdown on the Badgers' opening drive of the second half.
- It has been a struggle for Wilson, who still doesn't have 100 yards passing. He's having trouble throwing over the Michigan State defensive line and caught a deflected pass for his second reception of the game late in the quarter.
- After taking several risks in the first half, Spartans coach Mark Dantonio passed up a fourth-and-3 situation from the Wisconsin 35-yard line and instead took a delay-of-game penalty. The decision looked a bit questionable, but Mike Sadler pinned the Badgers at their own 1-yard line.
- Wisconsin's offensive game plan has been a bit puzzling since the first quarter. The Badgers haven't really emphasized the run with Montee Ball, who had 105 rush yards in the first quarter but just 10 since. Also, tight end Jacob Pedersen has been a nonfactor, while Wilson continues to look for Toon, being covered by one of the league's top cornerbacks in Adams.
- Receiver/returner Keshawn Martin was one of my players to watch for Michigan State, and he has been a huge part of the game plan. Michigan State has hurt Wisconsin with swing passes and laterals to Martin, who has nine catches for 115 yards and four rushes for 22 yards. Martin has tortured Wisconsin throughout his career and looks to be having another big night against the Badgers.
- Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen has had an outstanding game with three sacks. Other big contributors for the Spartans defense include linebacker Chris Norman, safety Trenton Robinson, defensive end William Gholston and defensive tackle Jerel Worthy.
- Wisconsin fans did the "Jump Around" here at Lucas Oil at the end of the quarter.