Michigan State gave up 323 rushing yards at then-No. 4 Ohio State last week, the second-highest total the Spartans have allowed during coach Mark Dantonio's tenure.
Things could be equally difficult this week.
After losing 34-10 to the Buckeyes, Michigan State (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) travels to face No. 8 Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0) in a conference matchup in Madison, Wis.
Badgers junior running back Jonathan Taylor is fresh off a Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week effort, in which he scored a career-high five touchdowns -- four rushing and one receiving -- in Wisconsin's 48-0 rout over Kent State.
Taylor leads the nation with 16 touchdowns and ranks second in rushing, averaging 149.0 yards per game. He has scored a touchdown on the Badgers' first series in each game this season. Taylor has rushed for 100-plus yards in 27 of 32 career games and amassed 4,916 career yards.
Michigan State's leaky performance last week was unusual. The Spartans led the nation in rushing defense last season and have forced 12 turnovers in six games. They still rank 21st in the nation in rushing defense (100.3 yards per game), even after the Ohio State disaster.
"A lot of those guys, they don't miss too many tackles, and they gang tackle, so they get to the ball," Taylor said of Michigan State's defense. "One of the biggest things is that you're going to have to fight for every yard, (and) make sure we have great ball security."
Wisconsin likely will also need a strong performance from junior quarterback Jack Coan, who has won seven straight games dating to last season.
Coan is completing 74.6 percent (85 of 114) of his passes, with 939 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.
Michigan State senior quarterback Brian Lewerke went 20 of 38 for 218 yards, a touchdown and an interception against Ohio State. He is averaging 257.2 passing yards per game, completing 124 of 212 passes for 1,543 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Dantonio said on Tuesday he's impressed with Taylor's talents, but another big challenge will be Wisconsin's defense.
The Badgers lead the nation in total defense (178.6 yards per game, scoring defense (5.8 points per game) and ranks second in rushing defense (47.6 yards per game). They have three shutouts, including South Florida and Central Michigan to start the season.
"They operate well together," said Dantonio, in his 13th season as Michigan State's head coach. "They're very well tied together -- you can tell its team defense. They have a lot of guys making a lot of plays, and they're bringing people from every direction, at times.
"They're tough to say, 'OK, where's the pressure coming from?' So, you've got to be able to designate that and then you've got to block them up."
One of Wisconsin's main tasks will be containing senior wide receiver Darrell Stewart, who paces the Big Ten in receptions (41) and receiving yards (624).
Saturday's game will be the first meeting between the teams since 2016, when the Badgers scored 17 points in the third quarter en route to a 30-6 win in the Big Ten opener for the teams in East Lansing, Mich.
--Field Level Media