Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The Hoosiers have put up some solid numbers this year against mostly subpar opponents.
Michigan State bounced back from the loss against Arizona State with a road win over Northwestern, snapping a three game losing streak to the Wildcats. Up next in Big Ten play is their first divisional matchup against Indiana. The Hoosiers are looking for their first conference win after losing to Ohio State two weeks ago. Here’s what you need to know about them:
School: Indiana University
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Head Coach: Tom Allen (3rd season, 13-16 overall)
Record: 3-1 (0-1 in B1G)
Rivalry Trophy at Stake: Old Brass Spittoon
All Time Series: Michigan State leads 48-14-2, and has won nine of last ten meetings
Tom Allen is still looking to get Indiana to a bowl game, after going 5-7 in each of his first two seasons at the helm in Bloomington. To do that, the Hoosiers will need to win more than the two conference games they have won each of the last two years.
Let’s hope they don’t start this week.
Indiana has put up an average of 33.5 points per game, good for 48th nationally. They have eclipsed 30 points in three of their four games, but those were against Ball State (111th scoring defense), Eastern Illinois (FCS), and UConn (91st scoring defense). In their other game they were held to 10 points by Ohio State.
The rushing offense has not been there for Indiana so far, as they rank 102nd in total rushing at 120.50 yards per game, and 109th in yards per carry. As a result, they run the ball 34.5 times per game, 91st in the country in attempts per game.
The passing offense is a different story. IU is 20th in passing yards at 308.5 yards per game. They are 42nd in yards per attempt and 41st in QB rating. They are 31st in attempts per game at 36.5 passes tossed per contest. Their passing stats compare pretty closely with Western Michigan, who MSU faced a couple weeks ago and held to a season low seven yards per attempt.
Defensively Indiana ranks 35th in scoring defense allowing 19.5 points per game. They held Eastern Illinois (FCS) scoreless and UConn (125th in scoring) to three points. But they gave up 24 to Ball State (45th in scoring) and 51 to Ohio State. So again the context is important.
The Hoosiers are 51st against the run allowing 127.5 yards per game and 57th in yards per attempt giving up 3.77 yards per rush.
Against the pass Indiana is 21st overall, allowing 167.5 yards per game. They are 10th in yards per attempt and 23rd in opponent passer rating. They have allowed just five passing TD’s and have two interceptions.
Indiana has 10 sacks in four games, good for 36th in the country. They have allowed seven sacks, which is middle of the pack nationally.
However, the Hoosiers have a negative turnover ratio, having given it away twice more than they have taken it away.
Players to Watch
The quarterback with be a game-time decision for Indiana. Michael Penix Jr. started the season as the starter but missed the last two games with an injury. He was averaging 8.7 yards per attempt and had three touchdowns against two interceptions in the early going. He also carried the ball nine times for 79 yards.
The other option is Peyton Ramsey, a junior who was the starter last year. Ramsey has been solid, completing 74.3% of his passes for 635 yards and five touchdowns with two picks against. He has also carried the ball 18 times but only gained 22 yards.
Speaking of running the ball, Stevie Scott III is the leading rusher for IU, with 215 yards on 58 carries (3.71 yards per run) and four touchdowns. No other Indiana player has even 100 yards rushing. Scott also has eight catches for 74 yards out of the backfield.
The Hoosiers spread the ball around in the passing game with three different players having caught at least 15 passes so far. Sophomore tight end Peyton Hendershot leads the team in receptions (18), yards (234), and touchdowns (3).
Junior wideout Whop Philyor has 17 catches for 229 yards and a score and Ty Fryfogle (I swear I’m not making these names up) has 15 receptions for 136 yards.
On defense, linebacker Raekwon Jones leads the team with 24 total tackles.
Eight different Hoosiers have at least two tackles for loss, with Michael Ziemba leading the way with 3.5 TFL’s.
Jerome Johnson, Demarcus Elliott, and Allan Stallings IV each have two sacks to lead the team.
Senior kicker Logan Justus has yet to miss a kick this year making all six field goals and 14 extra points he has attempted.