Michigan State Spartans vs. Indiana Hoosiers Game Preview

The Old Brass Spittoon is up for grabs this weekend, as the undefeated, No.10-seeded Michigan State Spartans (6-0) travel to Bloomington to face the Indiana Hoosiers (2-3). The match is scheduled to kick off at 12:03 a.m. Eastern Time and will be broadcast on FS1.

After a promising campaign in 2020, Indiana did not get the start it wanted in 2021 with just a 2-3 record, but the Hoosiers faced a tough schedule with several top 10 opponents. Indiana is seeking to turn things around in his return game against Michigan State, and after a week off, should be well rested and focused. However, the task at hand is tough for the Hoosiers with the nation’s No.10 team coming to town, and the Spartans certainly want to get 7-0 before next week’s recess.

What makes things even more difficult for Indiana is the fact that starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. is likely to miss the game, and if he does, a relatively inexperienced Jack Tuttle takes over against the Michigan State’s fierce pass rush. On paper, Michigan State should win this, and while I think MSU ultimately wins, I also consider this a more difficult game for the Spartans than some believe.

Tale of the Band

Michigan State:
Record 2021 – 6-0 (3-0 in Big Ten)

2021 offense (averages per game) – 486.8 total yards, 269.67 passing yards, 217.2 rushing yards

Defense 2021 (averages per game) – 420.5 total yards allowed, 301.67 passing yards allowed, 118.8 rushing yards allowed

2021 cumulative points scored: 220 (36.67 ppg)

2021 cumulative points authorized: 116 (19.33 pages per day)

Current SP + ranking: 15

Record 2021 – 2-3 (0-2 in Big Ten)

2021 offense (averages per game) – 343.6 total yards, 221.4 passing yards, 122.2 rushing yards

Defense 2021 (averages per game) – 349.8 yards allowed, 223 passing yards allowed, 126.8 rushing yards allowed

Cumulative 2021 points scored: 119 (23.8 ppg)

2021 cumulative points authorized: 141 (28.2 ppg)

Current SP + ranking: 59th

Series History / All-Time Records

Face-to-face all-time record: Michigan State leads 48-17-2
Current series: Indiana with a winning streak
Michigan State’s Last Victory: Sep 28, 2019
Last victory in Indiana: November 14, 2020
Michigan State All-Time Record: 716-470-44 (.600)
Indiana All-Time Record: 499-689-44 (.423)

Uniform watch:

Now that’s cool! The Spartans are bringing back the “State” script for helmets, last seen in the opener against Northwestern. This weekend, the State of Michigan is combining helmets with the all-white “Stormtrooper” uniforms (MSU wore white tops with green pants against NU). White jerseys will have green numbering and lettering.

Let’s take a closer look at this week’s discussions:

No word from Indiana on the uniforms yet.

Previous match results

Michigan State 31, Rutgers 13

It was a record-breaking day for the Spartans, as Michigan State only became the fifth FBS team to have a 300-yard passer (Payton Thorne), 200-yard rusher (Kenneth Walker III) and a 200-yard receiver ( Jalen Nailor) all in the same game. Walker also had the longest scrum play in MSU program history with a 94-yard run, while Nailor set the SHI stadium record with 221 receiving yards. a single match, which was also the fourth largest single match in the history of the MSU program. Kicker Matt Coghlin also took the lead for most career field goals a Spartan made with 72, passing Brett Swenson for the all-time record.

As for the game itself, the first half was much closer than the second half, but Michigan State did a lot of damage on three big games in the first half, as Thorne found Nailor. for three touchdowns – a 63-yard game in the first quarter, followed by another 63-yard scoreline in the second quarter and finally a 65-yard bomb with 6:51 remaining in halftime. Rutgers scored a touchdown on his first possession of the game and scored two field goals in the first half, and the Spartans led the Scarlet Knights 21-13 at halftime.

MSU then knocked out Rutgers in the second half, beating the Scarlet Knights 10-0 thanks to Walker’s long touchdown run and Coghlin’s record-breaking goal. The final score was 31-13 in Michigan State’s favor, and despite all the records broken, there was still plenty left such as unruly penalties, weird training decisions, and mismanagement of time that the Spartans must clean up to move forward.

Penn State 24, Indiana 0

Indiana had a pass last weekend, but played at Penn State the week before, and the Hoosiers were excluded from that contest. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. injured his shoulder in that game, which is why his status is in doubt against Michigan State this weekend. But even before the injury, Penix and the attack on Indiana as a whole really struggled. Once Jack Tuttle came on in place of Penix in the third quarter, the offensive struggles continued.

Penn State led 14-0 at halftime after a few touchdowns from Sean Clifford, then took a 21-0 lead over the Nittany Lions’ first possession of the second half. Penn State came the rest of the way, scoring a field goal in the fourth quarter. The Nittany Lions limited the Hoosiers to just 264 total yards, including just 69 rushing yards and 195 passing yards. Indiana returned it twice and Penn State recorded two sacks. Simply put, IU has never threatened in this game.

Key matches

Michigan State Defensive Line vs. Indiana Offensive Line: Much conversation this week has centered around the struggles of Indiana’s offensive line, particularly in the running game. As Matt Sheehan pointed out in his “3-2-1 Preview” this week, Indiana has a “fill rate” – the percentage of stopped races at or behind the line of scrimmage – of 20.5%. This is not good, and ranks 97th out of 127 qualified teams in the country, according to Football Outsiders. The Indiana offensive line itself also generates just 2.45 “average line yards per carry,” which ranks 93rd in FBS. Overall, Indiana gets 3.4 yards per carry and the state of Michigan allows just 3.3 yards per carry. On paper, it looks like the Spartans’ defensive front must dominate the trenches, and it’s a clash MSU must win. Indiana is much better when it comes to pass protection, allowing nine sacks so far this season, but Michigan State is fifth in the country with 23 sacks and is due to make it to quarterback on Saturday.

Tiawan Mullen vs. Jayden Reed / Jalen Nailor: Mullen is an American cornerback. He missed the Penn State game, but is expected to come back against Michigan State. He’s one of the Big Ten’s best cornerbacks and will likely attract both Reed and Nailor at various points in the game. Of course, Reed and Nailor are two of the best pointers at wide receiver in the Big Ten, so whoever Mullen covers, it’s basically a heavyweight battle. Reed has been electric all season in receiving and punt return play, while Nailor has incredible speed, which he showed last week against Rutgers in all three long touchdown receptions. Keep an eye on the outside during the game.

Kenneth Walker III / MSU’s offensive line against Indiana’s top seven: Kenneth Walker III might be the best college football player in America right now. He’s the nation’s top rusher with 913 yards, and a big reason Michigan State is averaging 217.2 rushing yards per game after falling at the bottom of the country in that category last season. Indiana, however, has strong running defense, allowing just 126.8 yards per carry, which puts the Hoosiers in the top 50 in the nation. Indiana actually ranks slightly above Nebraska when it comes to rushing defense, and the Cornhuskers are the only team to have managed to contain Walker so far this season. As I said in my first “key game” above, Michigan State has to win in the trenches – on both sides of the ball.

Game Info

Time: 12:03 p.m. EST
TV channel: FS1
Site: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana
Weather forecast : Sunny with temperatures of around 55 degrees at start and a high of 60 degrees for the day, winds blowing west / northwest at a speed of 11 to 13 miles per hour.
Line: Michigan State -4.5


Michigan State is climbing high right now at 6-0, and with a week off and then a big rivalry game against Michigan ahead, the Spartans absolutely can’t look past Indiana. I truly believe the Hoosiers are better than the team’s records show – because IU had an incredibly tough slate early in the season – and IU has probably the toughest defense MSU has seen from Nebraska.

I expect Michael Penix Jr. to miss the game and Jack Tuttle to start at quarterback. While this is likely a setback for the Hoosiers, Tuttle has had two weeks to prepare for the Spartans, and the team should be recharged and focused after the week off.

It’s also a rivalry game with the Old Brass Spittoon up for grabs, and while Michigan State has dominated the series overall, funny things seem to happen in trophy games. Since it’s also Indiana’s return, maybe IU fans will come for this one and try to give the Hoosiers a solid edge on the field – but Memorial Stadium isn’t really known as the most intimidating stadium in the Big Ten.

Overall, I expect this one to play out the same as the Rutgers game. The Hoosiers will hold out and make the Spartans win everything. Eventually, however, the state of Michigan will prove to be too much for Indiana to handle.

For more thoughts on Indiana, check out our “Get to Know the Opponent” article or read our Q&A with Crimson Quarry – the home of SB Nation for Indiana Hoosiers content. For my answers to Crimson Quarry’s questions, read here.


Who wins the Old Brass Spittoon?

  • 93%
    Michigan State

    (90 votes)

96 votes in total

Vote now

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