3 Keys to Michigan State getting revenge against Indiana

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NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State
Oct 29, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio reacts to a play during the first half of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

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The Michigan State Spartans are back home following a very successful two-week road trip for night games in Ann Arbor and then Minneapolis. The No. 18 Spartans (5-1, 3-0 BigTen) celebrate homecoming this week against the Indiana Hoosiers (3-3, 0-3 BigTen) and are looking for a bit of payback… and a brass spittoon. Last year the Hoosiers snapped a 7-game losing streak by defeating MSU 24-21 in overtime. Well, this ain’t last year, and these are not those same Spartans. But talk is cheap, so let’s see how Michigan State wins back the Old Brass Spittoon.

Unleash the Beast

Last week L.J. Scott reminded everyone why he was the lead dog in State’s 3-headed rushing attack, racking up a career-high 194 yards on a career-high 25 carries, finding paydirt twice. Yes, there was a fumble (shocking I know), but with Scott’s overall production of 220 total yards, you’ll excuse that hiccup. He carried the Spartan offense against a top-25 defense in Minnesota, gashing the Gophers for a 24-yard touchdown in the first, and getting an easy six in the third when MSU used the toss-sweep to perfection.

Indiana’s defense is not nearly on the same level of Minnesota or Michigan, and the Hoosiers have allowed over 200 yards rushing three times this year. So Madre London and Gerald Holmes are absolutely needed to produce but Scott’s “The Guy”. When he gets rolling, like he did against Minnesota, he makes MSU’s offense potentially very dangerous. We should see a good showing this week against Indiana’s more-suspect defense. Speaking of defense…

Defense plays 60-Minute Football

For 49 minutes and 45 seconds, Michigan State’s defense DID ITS JOB against Minnesota. They held the Gophers to 156 total yards of offense, got a takeaway, and allowed only 13 points. But in the final 10:15 of the game, Minnesota, or more accurately quarterback Demry Croft and wide receiver Tyler Johnson, turned a 30-13 rout, into a 30-27 squeaker. Michigan State gave up 134 yards in the final six minutes, almost as much as allowed in the first 54 minutes, and almost blew the game. Meanwhile, in Bloomington… Indiana scored twice in the final 3:30 of regulation and forced overtime against Michigan.

You see where I’m going here.

Michigan State cannot have the defensive breakdown they had last week as we’ve already seen Indiana show ability to score late against a very good defense. If the defense plays a full 60 minutes of football, MSU will reclaim that nasty old spittoon.

Lewerke Continues Impressive Start

Through the first six games of the season, Brian Lewerke has completed 60% of his passes for 1177 yards, with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. He has also rushed for 318 yards and three touchdowns. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is 4-to-1, his record is 5-1, but last week he was 0-1 (touchdown-interception). So admittedly it was a small step back on his season as he was held to single-digit rushing yards to go with his 9-for-18 for 120 yards through the air. We have to remind ourselves that he is just a sophomore, but his play on the field has been nothing short of spectacular in helping MSU rebound from an abysmal 3-9 season in 2016 where quarterback-play was sorely needed. His poise has been very impressive, his legs have been a welcomed surprise, and his leadership has shown in his passion to get the job done. (See below)

Lewerke’s arm hasn’t been needed in the last three games as the defense and the running game, and a little bit of weather took center stage. But his growth through these last three weeks has shown in spades as he continues to make the correct decisions much more-often-than-not. His in-game reads should continue to improve, which will only lead to more points on the board, and more Michigan State victories.

GAMEDAY INFO

  • Date: Saturday, October 21
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Broadcast: ABC
  • Line: MSU -6.5
  • O/U: 46

DETROIT SPORTS NATION PREDICTIONS

DSN STAFFER PREDICTION
Don Drysdale 31-23 Michigan State
Carl Poposki 23-20 Michigan State
Rob Otto 21-17 Michigan State
Matt Bassin 30-17 Michigan State