BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Michigan State looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season when it travels to face unbeaten Indiana on Saturday night in the Big Ten opener for both squads. The No. 23 Spartans have had a week off since falling at Arizona State 16-13, while the Hoosiers are coming off a home rout of Ball State 38-10.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Michigan State -4.5
The Michigan State offense sputtered against the Sun Devils despite 314 yards passing from junior quarterback Brian Lewerke, the fourth-highest output of his career. The Spartans led 13-3 in the third quarter but surrendered 13 points in the fourth on three scoring drives of 65 yards or more, as Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins finished with 380 yards through the air. The Hoosiers’ offense has been more running than passing, with freshman running back Stevie Scott leading the way with 388 yards and three touchdowns. But against a Spartans' defense that ranks first in the FBS in rushing defense, allowing 34.5 yards per game, the pressure will be on sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey (479 yards, five touchdowns) to move the ball through the air.
ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (1-1)
The Michigan State running game was nearly non-existent against Arizona State, with the Spartans finishing with 63 yards on 27 carries and lead back LJ Scott rushing seven times for 19 yards. Scott didn't play much in the second half of the game with a leg injury, and his status for the Indiana contest is up in the air, though he was listed on the team's starter at running back on the depth chart. Sophomore Connor Heyward was the team's leading rusher against Arizona State with 22 yards to go with four receptions for 43 yards, and the son of former NFLer Craig "Ironhead" Heyward likely see more time against Indiana whether Scott is healthy or not.
ABOUT INDIANA (3-0)
Indiana running backs coach Mike Hart knows a little bit about Michigan State, having called them the "little brother" to Hart's Michigan team during his playing days, a comment that drew the ire of Spartans coach Mark Dantonio. Now, Hart is hoping his young running backs -- freshman Ronnie Walker and Scott -- can help the Hoosiers have some success against Michigan State's vaunted run defense. Indiana has averaged 5.3 yards per carry and 235 yards per game during its 3-0 start and will need to continue to attack on the ground to try to break through against the Spartans and set up possible play-action passes.
1. Michigan State WR Cody White tied his career high with nine catches against Arizona State and also recorded his second career 100-yard receiving game with 113 yards.
2. Indiana has had 24 freshmen, including 12 redshirt, see the field in its first three games.
3. Dantonio is 8-1 against Indiana, including 3-1 at the Hoosiers' Memorial Stadium.
PREDICTION: Michigan State 31, Indiana 21