Who: Michigan State Spartans (4-1, 1-0) vs. Indiana Hoosiers (3-2, 1-0)
What: Battle for the Old Brass Spittoon
When: Tomorrow (Oct. 12) at noon (ESPN 2)
Where: Spartan Stadium
Fun Fact: Aside from tomorrow being the homecoming game for Michigan State, the Spartans will also be playing their 500th game in Spartan Stadium since its opening in 1923.
This season marks the 90th season that Michigan State has called Spartan Stadium home, and during that period, the Spartans have a home record of 339-147-13.
Matchup to Watch For: Indiana’s passing attack vs. the MSU secondary
The Hoosiers’ offense is entering tomorrow’s game with the 10th-ranked passing attack in the nation (346 passing yards per game), and they’re also the first-ranked total offense in the Big Ten (535 yards per game).
Indiana has three wide receivers who have four touchdowns on the year, and junior Cody Latimer — who only has two touchdowns — is third in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game (97.2).
Michigan State defensive backs Darqueze Dennard and Trae Waynes were flagged multiple times when they were tested by the Notre Dame offense in the Spartans’ only loss of the season. Dennard and Waynes are one of the best duos in the Big Ten, but the fast-paced offense that Indiana plays with isn’t comparable to any offense they’ve seen this year.
If Indiana did its homework, watch for the Dennard-Waynes combo to be tested downfield early. While the aggressive style of the two MSU corners can be a blessing, it can also be a curse depending on how generous the referees are feeling with their flags.
X-Factor: Michigan State Backfield
With the tempo that the Hoosiers’ offense likes to play at, it will be pivotal for the Michigan State offense to maintain long-clock eating drives. The backfield, which consists of four players with 20-plus carries on the season, will need to be used a lot in an attempt to allow the Spartans’ defense to rest in between possessions.
Also, while time of possession will be huge for the Spartans, it will be important to run the ball effectively because that’s what helps open up explosive plays downfield, something that Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio says he wants to see more of from his offense.
Prediction: MSU 27, Indiana 21
While the Hoosiers’ passing attack is one of the best in that nation, the Spartans’ defense is equally as good if not better. However, while the Michigan State offense has had issues this year, the Indiana defense has only given up less than 20 points in one game this season.
This game will come down to the Michigan State offense taking advantage of the opportunities its defense provides for them, and if sophomore quarterback Connor Cook and the Spartans’ receiving corps can pick up where they left off in last Saturday’s victory over Iowa then they should be able to pull it out.