Who, When, Where: For the 63rd time, Indiana and Michigan State will tangle on the gridiron. For the 59th time, the Old Brass Spittoon will be at stake. Indiana’s record in this “rivalry”, as with most Big Ten teams, is less than stellar. The last time the Hoosiers claimed the Spittoon was 2006, with 7 straight Spartan wins since. Kickoff from Memorial Stadium is 8pm Saturday night, with Eric Collins and Glen Mason on the call for BTN.
Big Men on Campus: Ricky Jones pulled in 8 catches against Wake Forest for 208 yards, setting two career highs for him as well as becoming only the 6th Indiana wide receiver to catch a 200 yard game. Richard Lagow set the Indiana record for passing yards in a game with 496, eclipsing Ben Chappell’s old record of 480, set against Michigan in 2010.
How MSU is doing so far, by Andrew Kraszewski: Last week made it clear that MSU doesn't yet have functional answers to all its offseason questions: quarterback, offensive line, and defensive line chief amongst them.
That said, though, it's been miscues in key situations for MSU that have really killed them. Turnovers and horrendous special teams play turned what was a fairly even game with the Badgers from scrimmage into a calamity, and if they keep making those mistakes, every game on the schedule is losable. I would expect a more focused performance this week - Dantonio's teams always show up well after a loss - but there are real issues here to be exploited until proven otherwise.
How Will This Game Go During Basketball Season?: The only regular season meeting between the teams is January 21st in Bloomington. The students should definitely be back from winter break by then, so expect Assembly Hall to be rocking. As far as how the on-court product will look, that’s still up in the air, but I would expect a competitive game regardless. Possibly moreso that whatever’s gonna happen on Saturday.
Prediction: Let’s be honest: Michigan State hasn’t looked terribly impressive so far. And in spite of that, the Spartans are a 7 point favorite pretty much across the board. Not that you would seriously expect Indiana to be favored in this matchup, but 7 feels kinda odd, as in it should either be higher, or closer to 3 or 4. Even down a couple of key defensive players, this is still Michigan State. Galaxy class defense or not, they’re still pretty good. Could this game go better than last week vs. Wake? As long as Richard Lagow doesn’t make another serious bid for most interceptions thrown in a game, certainly. On the other hand, trusting blindly in Indiana to win a football game against another Big Ten school is utterly insane, and while I am many things, I am not yet that. Spartans will their way to a 35-24 win.
Next Week: We go to Ohio State. Oh, joy.