Run and Shoot: First Qtr Recap: Spartans playing power game

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First Qtr Recap: Spartans playing power game

MADISON, Wisc. -- As mentioned in our pre-game report, the Spartans run the ball and pressure the quarterback about as well as any Big Ten team. They've been successful at both at Wisconsin so far, and that's been the difference.

Three times the Spartans have pressured Tyler Donovan. The first Donovan got the pass out, but the next time stopped a drive and the third produced a fumble (recovered by Wisconsin) which forced the Badgers to punt from their own two-yard line. That pressure has helped the Spartans win the battle for field position, and thus give their offense a short field to work with. The first Spartan scoring drive lasted just :51, the second 1:39.

The Badgers have run the ball well, but Michigan State has done even better. On 10 carries the Spartans collected 105 first quarter yards. The one-two punch of Jehuu Caulcrick and Javon Ringer has been devastating for a Badger defense trying to catch its breath. And when Devin Thomas has run the ball (21 yard gain on second scoring drive) it's added yet another element to the Spartan attack.

One positive for the Badgers: just before the end of the quarter Donovan was starting to heat up in the passing game.

This game will be a battle for turf throughout.

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