MADISON - While Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema has prepared all week as if Michigan State defensive end William Gholston would play Saturday, he said the news Thursday of Gholston’s suspension won’t affect Wisconsin’s game plan.
The Big Ten suspended Gholston for Saturday’s game in East Lansing for violating the league’s “sportsmanlike conduct agreement” in last week’s victory over Michigan.
The suspension stems from an incident in the third quarter when Gholston punched Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan.
“You kind of just treat it like an injury situation,” said Bielema. “You thought he was going to be there and he’s not, but I know our kids were looking forward to the challenge of playing him.”
Gholston was leading the Spartans with seven tackles for loss through six games.
No. 15 Michigan State (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) has allowed just 10.8 points per game this season, which is fourth in the nation. The Spartans defense is expected to give the offense of No. 4 Wisconsin (6-0, 2-0), which leads the country averaging 50.2 points per game, its biggest challenge so far.
“They roll guys through there,” Bielema said of Michigan State. “I don’t know who will get the start, but they play three or four d-ends, so I don’t see a change schematically.”
Gholston was flagged for two personal fouls during Saturday’s game. He also received a penalty for twisting the helmet of Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson.
Medical redshirt a possibility for Gordon
Wisconsin freshman running back Melvin Gordon will be out three to four weeks after undergoing a procedure on his injured groin. Since Gordon has played in only three games this season, Gordon may be in line for a medical redshirt.
“You’re allowed four (games) in the first six (to qualify for a medical redshirt), so hopefully, that will come through,” Bielema said. “He actually wants to play if he can come back sooner than they expect, so it’s kind of a wait and see.”
Gordon has rushed for 98 yards and one touchdown this year.
Bielema receives high praise for “Depth Chart”
While he was able to catch just a few minutes of ESPN’s Depth Chart Wednesday night, Bielema certainly liked what he saw.
ESPN chose Wisconsin as one of four schools to feature on its program, which aired for the first time Wednesday. The show gave television viewers an inside look at the Badgers throughout their preseason practices.
Auburn, Oklahoma State and Arkansas were the other three schools chosen by ESPN.
“My phone was blowing up left and right, just about the positive side of it,” Bielema said. “I know the kids were giving Russell (Wilson) and everybody grief (Thursday) about what they saw on the show, so it was a fun thing.”
Toon to return Saturday
Badgers senior wide receiver Nick Toon has practiced all week and will play Saturday in East Lansing. Toon missed last week’s win against Indiana after suffering a left foot injury in the team’s victory over Nebraska Oct. 1.
He leads the team with 25 catches for 447 yards and has also caught six touchdowns.
Badgers to practice on grass Friday
Wisconsin will practice on the University Bay fields Friday in order to replicate the playing conditions for Saturday’s game.
Spartans Stadium has a natural grass playing surface, while Camp Randall Stadium is artificial turf.
Bielema said his inquiry about actually practicing at Spartans Stadium Friday was denied.
More from the infirmary
Badgers senior defensive lineman Patrick Butrym received a little work in practice Thursday after missing time earlier in the week with a sprained ankle he suffered against Indiana. Bielema said he’ll probably sit out Friday’s practice but should be “full-go” for Saturday.
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