Who, Where, When: The Hoosiers travel to East Lansing to face Michigan State at Spartan Stadium Saturday. The kickoff for the 58th Battle for the Old Brass Spittoon (and 62nd meeting overall) will be at 3:30pm on ABC/ESPN2. Your broadcast team is Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham, with Laura Rutledge on the sidelines. Both teams come in off emotional week 7 games, though Michigan State's ended far better.
Numbers of Note: 2006, the last time Indiana won the Old Brass Spittoon (the Hoosiers last win at Michigan State was 2001). 464, Nate Sudfeld's passing yards against Rutgers last week, the second most in a single game in school history (behind only Ben Chappell's record of 480). 4, the number of passing touchdowns Sudfeld needs to become Indiana's all time leader in that category. 2, the number of extra points Indiana blocked against Rutgers, both credited to Darius Latham.
Michigan State Thoughts, courtesy of OTE's own Andrew Kraszewski: On paper, this game has a lot of indicia of a Trap Game (TM): MSU just scored an unfathomably dramatic win over a hated rival, they have a bye to look forward to which should help with their many injuries, and despite a potent offense, IU is looking like its typical, non-menacing self after last week's collapse. Maybe some of that comes into play. But really, this game will probably be competitive even if MSU were fully engaged. IU's well-stocked passing offense is perfectly suited to attack TE Spartans' thin, underperforming secondary. I do expect an MSU win because IU doesn't have a game breaker like Tevin Coleman anymore, but don't be surprised when MSU doesn't cover.
MSU Fun Facts: Has only been named Michigan State since 1964, and every prior name included Agriculture in some fashion. Very nearly became "The Michigan Staters", but a local sportswriter refused to use the nickname, and settled on Spartans as his preferred nickname, leading the university to adopt the same moniker soon afterwards.
Notable MSU Alumni: Covered in last year's edition of this preview.
Prediction: I would love to be optimistic about this game. If IU-Rutgers has actually ended at the point I stopped watching last week, I would absolutely be predicting IU to get the upset here. Unfortunately, football games last 60 minutes instead of 40, and Indiana has proven to be quite terrible at playing a full 60. This game will likely be an offensive shootout, unless Michigan State can clamp down more than they've shown at times this season. Nate Sudfeld appears healthy, and the running back corps is doing its best to step up in Jordan Howard's absence, but getting Howard back would be huge. There's been no word as of this writing on whether Howard will play. If he does, Indiana may yet play themselves into a position where they could threaten the Spartans. If he doesn't, Indiana will play hard, but ultimately come up short. My (totally unscientific) prediction is yet another year of Ol' Brassy staying in East Lansing after MSU wins 42-35.
Next Week: Indiana finally gets a bye. So hopefully, we won't have a similar bye week to 2014.