Fresh from the biggest win in head coach Kevin Wilson's Indiana University tenure, the Hoosiers try to build on that positive mojo when they travel to East Lansing Saturday for a Big Ten matchup with Michigan State.
Success and road games haven't been uttered much in IU football history, so this week's contest should go a long way toward determining the shape of the Hoosiers 2013 season. To win, IU would buck a series trend that isn't favorable. The Spartans own a commanding 42-15-2 advantage in games between the two programs, and IU hasn't tasted victory in East Lansing since 2001. The Hoosiers last win over the Spartans dates bate to 2006.
But as they say, that was then and this is now. Saturday's matchup features an intriguing offense versus defense sub-title, as the Hoosiers are capable of exploding offensively when things are clicking. Sophomore QB Nate Sudfeld gives IU a downfield passing threat that can score on any play with a talented and deep group of receivers, headlined by Cody Latimer and Kofi Hughes. Sophomore RB Tevin Coleman shows glimpses of being a special player as well.
Meanwhile, the Hoosiers, with a refurbished offensive line due to injury, will face one of the Big Ten's better defenses in the Spartans attack unit. Michigan State is an athletic, active squad led by LB Max Bullough and S Kurtis Drummond. IU's Sudfeld should be challenged by a Michigan State secondary that possesses both talent and experience, and could bait the young signal caller into some ill-advised throws.
On the other side of the ball, IU came up with a better defensive effort in last week's win over Penn State, though the final statistics may not back that up. The Hoosiers made key stops when they needed to and took advantage of Penn State miscues. CB Tim Bennett continues to emerge as a rising player for IU, and DL Bobby Richardson is maturing into a dependable presence up front as well.
The Spartans offense has sputtered through their first five games, despite a 4-1 overall record. Connor Cook took over the QB duties and has been effective in the early going, throwing seven touchdowns and just one interception. He'll look to a pair of outside targets in WR's Macgarrett Kings and Bennie Fowler, who have combined for five scores.
With both teams holding a 1-0 mark in Big Ten play, the winner will take a leg up in their respective divisions.
Extra Points: OG David Kaminski was lost to the Hoosiers for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL during the Penn State contest....Michigan State has allowed only 152 yards passing and 51 yards rushing through five games. IU is averaging 346 yards through the air and 189 yards on the ground.