They return home after being defeated by now-No. 24 ranked Northwestern, 44-29.
The Spartans bring in a team that was just recently knocked off the top-25 rankings. Their two losses of the season came in the third week against then-No. 20 ranked Notre Dame and this past weekend in their first Big Ten matchup against then-No. 14 ranked Ohio State.
One of the main reasons for both losses was the winning team’s ability to keep junior running back Le’Veon Bell to under 80 rushing yards.
Bell is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation on rushing, with an average of 131 yards per game and five rushing touchdowns.
The Michigan State offense runs through Bell and his ability to make plays, as seen in the first three wins so far.
He has rushed for 210 yards and 253 yards against then-No. 24 ranked Boise State and Eastern Michigan, respectively.
If Bell has a good running day for the Spartans, then the Hoosiers will need to do the same with their four running backs and pass attack.
The Big Ten Conference is known for being one of the best defensive conferences in the nation.
“They are very aggressive, they are big, they are strong, they are everything you would expect in a Big-Ten-level defense,” Kevin Johns, IU assistant offensive
The Spartans are ranked 12th in the nation on points allowed per game, with 12.8 on average.
“They are a pretty solid team, but I feel like we can get after them pretty well,” sophomore wide receiver Cody Latimer said.
Junior linebacker Max Bullough and junior safety Isaiah Lewis lead MSU with 38 and 32 tackles, respectively.
Lewis, who played for Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, also adds an interception with a 40-yard return to his stats.
Not just those two players on the defense, but all around the team presents a challenge for the Hoosier offense.
When Johns was asked if one of the MSU defensive areas can be exploited, he responded by saying, “I don’t know. They are good all over the place. We are going to try and do the best we can, but I don’t know if there is one area that we need to go after.”
Wide receivers junior Kofi Hughes and Latimer both made major catches for the team in the last game, and Latimer said they need to do the same again this Saturday.
“We just need to make plays. Also, play really fast out there,” he said.
Overall, playing against one of the nation’s top defenses will be a test for the Hoosier offense, but the team has been preparing in practice for success on the field, Johns said.
“They present a lot of challenges, but our kids are excited and ready for it. It will depend on our ability to execute and come through for us,” he said.
Latimer is confident with the coaches’ game plan and hopes for their first Big Ten win at Memorial Stadium.
“Our coaches are preparing us well, and we are looking forward to getting a win,” Latimer said.
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