This is the seventh in a 12-day series looking at Michigan State’s opponents this football season and their chances against the Spartans.
Week 7: Indiana
Time and Date: 3:30 p.m., Oct. 18
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.
TV: ABC, ESPN or BTN
Hoosiers at a glance
Coach: Kevin Wilson (fourth season, 10-26)
Last season: 5-7 overall; 3-5 Big Ten (4th, Leaders Division )
Returning starters: 16 (seven offense, nine defense)
Preseason magazine predictions
Athlon: 5-7 overall, 2-6 Big Ten (6th, East Division); ranked No. 58 nationally
Lindy’s: 6th Big Ten East; ranked No. 69
Sporting News: 5th Big Ten East
Why they’ll beat the Spartans
No offense has given MSU more trouble over the last two seasons. The Hoosiers’ tempo, creativity and underrated skill-position talent put up a combined 55 points against the Spartans in 2012 and ’13. Indiana led the Big Ten in scoring last season at better than 38 points per game, and returns its leading rusher (Tevin Coleman), a big-play receiver (Shane Wynn), three offensive linemen and one of its two starting quarterbacks (Tre Roberson). If this defense is at all improved, the Hoosiers will play a role in determining the East Division, even though they aren’t ready to challenge for it.
Why they won’t
Even in causing MSU headaches, the Hoosiers haven’t beaten the Spartans. In fact, MSU under Mark Dantonio has never lost to Indiana, while scoring 40 or more points all but once. Indiana has a lot of its defense back, but it also has a lot of its defense back — a crew that gave up more than 7 yards per play last season. The Spartans won’t be scared of a shoot-out and should be the more complete team, playing in an atmosphere that’s far from intimidating.
This game ought to scare MSU fans — the back end of two straight road games, a week before Michigan’s visit to Spartan Stadium. The Hoosiers aren’t Purdue. If MSU sleeps on this game, at all, it’ll likely come limping home with an unexpected loss.
Spartans look to avoid letdown at Purdue on Oct. 11
No easing into Big Ten play, as Huskers visit Oct. 4
Impressive new coach adds intrigue to Wyoming’s Sept. 27 visit
New coach, same EMU Eagles visit on Sept. 20
A telling test at Oregon on Sept. 6
Rose Bowl encore begins with Friday night lights vs. Jacksonville State on Aug. 29