Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
The Battle for the Old Brass Spittoon is renewed in Week 8 as the Hoosiers host Michigan State on Homecoming in Bloomington. For Hoosier or college football fans that don’t know that Indiana plays for a trophy other than the Old Oaken Bucket, look no further than here
Week 8: Michigan State Spartans
Time & Date: 3:30 pm EST, Saturday, Oct. 18th
Venue: Memorial Stadium (Bloomington, IN)
Spartans at a Glance:
Head Coach: Mark Dantonio 8th year at MSU 64-29
Last Season: 12-1 (8-0)
Spartans Returning Leaders:
Passing: Connor Cook (58.7%, 2755 Yds, 22 TD, 6 INT)
Rushing: Jeremy Langford (1422 Yds, 4.9 Avg, 18 TD)
Receiving: Tony Lippet (613 Yds, 13.9 Avg, 2 TD)
Preseason Magazine Predictions:
Phil Steele: 2nd in the Big Ten East
Lindy’s: 2nd in the Big Ten East
Athlon’s: 2nd in the Big Ten East
Sporting News: 2nd in the Big Ten East
Why the Spartans could win:
The Hoosiers have just one win in this series since 2001, and that came way back in 2006. The Spartans went 12-1 with a Rose Bowl win in 2013 and handed the Hoosiers a 42-28 drubbing in East Lansing. The 2014 edition of the Spartans return many of the same characters on offense. Connor Cook shined in the second half last season and should be poised to have a monster season. The Spartans also return running back Jeremy Langford who ran for 18 touchdowns and over 1400 yards last season. While Michigan State loses its top receiver in Bennie Fowler, they do return seven of their top eight receivers from 2013. The Spartans have too many weapons for the Hoosiers to stop and their defense will not allow the Hoosiers to put up the points they need to in order to take back the Spittoon.
Why They Won’t Pull it Off:
The Spartans had a magical season in 2013, and that has to wear off at some point. The vaunted Spartan defense will have to replace studs like Denicos Allen, Max Bullough, and Darqueze Dennard. The Hoosiers put a scare into Sparty the last time they played in Bloomington and it could happen again. Indiana’s big three of Nate Sudfeld, Tevin Coleman, and Shane Wynn are ready to take the next step and knock off a real giant in the conference.
This will not be your traditional cakewalk on homecoming. Michigan State has the tools to repeat as Big Ten champs, while the Hoosiers are breaking in a new defense and looking for weapons on offense. Michigan State will have an advantage on special teams as well. They return a terrific punter in Sadler, a guy who can pin the Hoosiers deep in their own territory. The Hoosiers do have weapons in the return game, with multiple players who can be a game changer at that spot. However, Indiana will have a brand new kicker and a punt unit that has had issues with protection. Stranger things have happened though, and the Spartans were not unbeatable last year. They did struggle on offense most of the year before Cook took off. The Hoosiers have the weapons on offense to put up points on this defense (27 points in 2012, 28 points in 2013).