Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
The Indiana Hoosiers face off against the Michigan State Spartans in a homecoming clash for the Old Brass Spittoon. The Spartan offense comes into the game averaging a very un-Spartanlike 45.5 points per game. The Hoosiers will have their work cut out for them as they try to beat the Spartans for the first time since 2006. If Indiana wants to accomplish this feat the Hoosier defense will have to try and do these three things:
1. Put Connor in the Pressure Cooker- Connor Cook is a very good quarterback, but like most college signal callers he is susceptible to making bad throws because of pressure. He has a quirk in his footwork, where he literally hops before he throws the ball in the pocket. This opens him up to having a lack of power behind his throws. The Hoosiers defensive line, especially guys like Ralph Green III and Bobby Richardson must get into the backfield and make Cook uneasy.
2. Force a Turnover Early- The crowd should be a good one for a 3:30pm homecoming kick on national TV and the Hoosiers need to get them involved early, because we all know the students will head back to the tailgate fields and bars at the first sign of trouble. The defense must make a play early and get the ball in good field position early for an offense that will need some help. Indiana has had trouble forcing turnovers, but they have been better than last season. Putting pressure on Cook and being aggressive in the secondary will lead to a big play for the Hoosiers. With the crowd into the game early the defense should be flying around.
3. Avoid the Here We Go Again Syndrome- We have all been there in life. That moment when something negative happens and we think “Oh no, here we go again”. Last week Indiana’s defense let up a long 80-yard drive that was followed by a pick-six and a busted play that went for a score against Iowa. The Hoosiers defense needs to get settled in early and take it one play at a time. If the Spartans do break a big play, forget about it and move on. Do not let one score become two or three scores.