By: Aidan Champion
The No. 10 Spartans are gearing up for their second-straight road game this weekend, looking to earn their seventh win before their bye week.
Michigan State comes off a solid 31-13 win over Rutgers in which wide receiver Jalen Nailor dominantly showed out, scoring three touchdowns and recording 221 receiving yards. He surpassed the 200 mark in just the first half.
The outcome could very well have been a much wider margin, had MSU been more mentally disciplined and not shot itself in the foot with its penalties.
The Spartans still have yet to play a complete game. Last Saturday’s game was a more positive circumstance, though, as an MSU defense that has struggled in past weeks turned things around in the second half of the matchup, completely shutting out the Rutgers offense.
Running back Kenneth Walker rushed for 233 yards, including a 94-yard TD that broke the record for longest play from scrimmage in Spartan history. It was Walker second 200-plus rushing game of the season, his first having been in his very first game for MSU.
Spartan safety Darius Snow had a career game as well, having led MSU’s defense with nine tackles.
Next up for the Spartans is Indiana, a team that hasn’t lived up to the expectations of its surprising success last season. The Hoosiers are 2-3 and have been hit with a tough schedule, as MSU will be its fourth ranked opponent so far this season.
Indiana comes off a shutout loss to No. 7 Penn State back on Oct. 2. The week prior, Western Kentucky gave the Hoosiers a tough fight, ultimately coming up short by just two points.
One of the main storylines to note ahead of Saturday’s matchup is the expected absence of Hoosier quarterback Michael Penix Jr. Penix suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s loss to Penn State, and it’s likely that backup Jack Tuttle will be starting behind center this weekend.
Tuttle has prior starting experience, having started in the Hoosiers’ final two games last season. He completed half his passes and threw for 77 yards against Penn State after Penix went down.
Not a lot of momentum is on Indiana’s side right now, but the Hoosiers are rested and will still be looking for a chance to get back on track at the halfway point of the season.
This game is really all up to MSU. As mentioned previously, the Spartans have not played well for a consistent four quarters. Fixing that will require a strong defensive outing from start to finish and a limitation on unnecessary penalties.
The offense will be there, whether on the ground, in the air or both. What MSU needs to do is take advantage of a weakened Hoosier team and leave Bloomington with a dominant win before heading into the bye week.
A chance at 7-0 before a week of rest and then a showdown with Michigan is on the line. It’s a privilege when you get to say fate is in your own hands, and that’s certainly the case for the Spartans this week.
MSU’s matchup with the Hoosiers kicks off at noon on Saturday.
Written by: Aidan Champion
Aidan is an MSU Journalism Student and Spartan Football writer for: impact89fm.org
Photo Courtesy of USA Today