Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
It’s Spittoon Week Hoosier fans! Yes, that’s a thing now. Hoosier Nation it is time to embrace the Battle for the Old Brass Spittoon. This weekend the Hoosier offense will face its toughest test yet when they line up against the vaunted Spartan defense in East Lansing. Indiana had a big first half last year against Michigan State, putting up 27 points, however they were shutout in the second half. As we settle into this long weekend here are three keys for the Indiana Offense to come away with the Old Brass Spittoon at Spartan Stadium.
1. Protect the Quarterback- Last year the Hoosiers used the screen pass to pick apart the Spartan defense in the first half. In the second half Michigan State adjusted and shut down the short passing game. The key for Indiana this year is to give Sudfeld enough time to find the deep man on passing plays so the Hoosiers can loosen up the Spartan D. The offensive line will have its work cut out for them as they have struggled to protect Sudfeld at times, especially against fast and strong d-lines.
2. Get a lead- Any type of lead will do for the Hoosiers, as getting off to a quick start will quiet the Spartan Stadium crowd and give Indiana even more confidence. MSU is not a great offensive team and if they fall behind quickly it could force them to be more one-dimensional and play right into Indiana’s hands.
3. Don’t Abandon the Run Game- But don’t force it either. Indiana plays best when the offense is balanced. While the Spartans do a great job at stuffing the run, the Hoosiers just cannot ditch it and throw the ball 50 or 60 times and win the game. Tevin Coleman has should big play ability and can go the distance from any where on the field. However, this can be dangerous because the Hoosiers cannot waste many possessions trying to establish a running game if it just is not there.
The one sure thing about Michigan State is that their defense will be ready to go. This will be a strength versus strength match up. The Hoosiers have the weapons to pull off the upset against the Spartans, but they have to follow the formula they used last week in the victory over Penn State and grab whatever points they can early.