Clement (6) dives toward the goal line over
Michigan State's Kevin Williams, right, and
Shane Jones (49) and Wisconsin's Brett Connors
(64) during the second quarter of an NCAA
college football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016,
in East Lansing, Mich. Clement was short but
scored on the next play.
EAST LANSING, Mich. —
By the time
Alex Hornibrook's first start was over, there wasn't
much question about whether he could handle one of
the toughest road tests in the Big Ten.
Hornibrook threw for 195 yards and
a touchdown, and 11th-ranked Wisconsin turned its
early-season showdown with No. 8 Michigan State into
a rout, beating the Spartans 30-6 on Saturday.
"You've got to have respect for a
guy whose first start is against a Michigan State
defense," Wisconsin running back Corey Clement said.
"He's going to come out the next
game and do even better. I think he's just getting
his feet wet."
The freshman quarterback outplayed
fifth-year senior Tyler O'Connor, his Michigan State
counterpart. The Badgers (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) were the
better team in the first half and then outscored the
Spartans 17-0 in the third quarter.
Michigan State (2-1, 0-1) was down
13-6 early in the third and had the ball in
Wisconsin territory when LJ Scott's fumble bounced
to Wisconsin's Leo Musso in the secondary. O'Connor
was the only player with a decent shot at him on the
return, and Musso spun past the quarterback and went
all the way to the end zone for a 66-yard touchdown.
Wisconsin tight end
Eric Steffes, left, catches a pass for a
touchdown against Michigan State's Demetrious
Cox during the first quarter.
O'Connor finished 18 of
38 for 224 yards with three interceptions.
"People have been saying a lot of good things about
us lately," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "And
now we'll take some shots."
Clement ran for two touchdowns for Wisconsin, which
went with Hornibrook at quarterback after Bart
Houston started the first three games. Hornibrook
wasn't spectacular, but he kept his cool.
"That's something that I take pride in, just staying
the same level, not going too far up or too far
down," he said.
quarterback Alex Hornibrook pitches the ball
during the first quarter.
WISCONSIN: Some were skeptical about the Badgers
after their season-opening win over LSU, since it
wasn't clear if LSU would be as tough as advertised
this season. But Wisconsin has now gone on the road
and pounded the defending Big Ten champions. Even
before the Badgers took total control in the third
quarter, they were pressuring O'Connor and
preventing Michigan State from doing anything
significant with its running game.
MICHIGAN STATE: A win at Notre Dame last weekend
looked like business as usual for the Spartans, but
their outlook changes considerably now. This was
their most lopsided defeat at Spartan Stadium since
falling 42-14 to Penn State in 2009.
WISCONSIN: There should be no denying the Badgers a
spot in the top 10 after this victory. There were
four Big Ten teams in the top 11 before this game.
MICHIGAN STATE: The Spartans have been ranked in the
AP poll for a school-record 45 consecutive weeks.
They're unlikely to fall all the way out after this
lopsided loss, but another performance like this
would put that streak in some jeopardy.
Dantonio ran down the list of categories in which
his team came up short: "Possession time, turnovers,
running the football, sacks, third-down conversions,
combined with fourth-down conversions. It's all
right there. That's why you don't win a football
Wisconsin had the ball for 32:48, forced four
turnovers, outrushed Michigan State 122-75 and went
7 of 16 on third down. The Spartans were sacked four
This was a rare blowout in the recent history of
this series. The previous seven meetings were
decided by an average of 4.9 points.
WISCONSIN: K Rafael Gaglianone missed the game
because of a back problem. Andrew Endicott missed an
extra point but made his first career field goal,
from 41 yards in the third.
MICHIGAN STATE: LB Riley Bullough missed the game
with an unspecified injury.
Wisconsin: This was the start of a brutal five-game
stretch for the Badgers. Next up is a trip to play
Michigan in Ann Arbor next weekend, followed by
games against Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska.
Michigan State: The Spartans will have to change
gears when they play on the road against an Indiana
team that likes to move fast on offense.