Indiana (3-2)(1-0 B1G) at Michigan State (4-1)(1-0 B1G) (12:00 p.m. ET, on ESPN2)
Line: Michigan State -10 (Bovada)
Last Meeting: 2012: 31-27 Michigan State
3 Players to Watch:
1) Macgarrett Kings Jr. (WR, MSU):You all know how much I love the playmaking ability of Macgarrett and he has been putting it all on display the last few weeks. Last week he caught 5 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. He has also assumed the kick return and punt return position and would have took one back to the house at Iowa if he had received one more block. Kings has scored a touchdown the last three weeks and I think he will continue the trend this week against Indiana. If Kings does not make plays, whether it’s on offense or on special teams, the Spartans may have a tough time winning. Macgarrett has seemed to keep this offense going by providing a spark in the Connor Cook era and I expect more of the same this week.
2) Nate Sudfeld (QB, Indiana): Indiana has the 10th ranked passing offense and Sudfeld holds the reins. On the year Sudfeld has passed for 1,467 yards with 13 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while completing 64.2 percent of his passes. That tends to happen when you have two wide receivers like Cody Latimer and Kofi Hughes. The tandem has combined for 6 of Sudfeld’s 13 touchdown passes and the trio continues to impress weekly. Though he has been great this year, Nate has thrown 6 interceptions, three that came against Missouri. The Spartans secondary is surely the best Sudfeld and co. have faced all year and will be quite the test. If the Indiana quarterback can have a good day and not turn the ball over too many times, Indiana will surely have a chance to ruin the Spartan’s homecoming game.
3) Darqueze Dennard (CB, MSU): Another favorite Spartan of mine, Dennard has surely lived up to the hype thus far in 2013. On the year Dennard has 6 pass break ups and had 2 interceptions a week ago at Iowa. If the Spartans hope to shut down the Indiana offense, Dennard must help shut down the Hoosier’s explosive wide outs. If anyone can shutdown Kofi Hughes or Cody Latimer, it is Dennard and the matchups will be awesome to watch. Not only will the matchups be awesome to watch, the winner of the individual battles could largely determine the outcome of this game.
Connor Cook looked capable at Iowa and has given the Spartan faithful more hope that this offense could turn into a positive for MSU rather than a liability. The emergence of Macgarrett Kings and Bennie Fowler has been extremely important and the two have helped keep the chains moving. The Spartans should be able to move the ball against Indiana and should be able to reach the endzone a few times.
This may be the first true test for the Spartan defense. Indiana owns the 10th ranked passing offense and has averaged the 12th most points per game in the nation. Michigan State has not allowed more than 17 points this year and one of the two groups will not live up to their average. If the Spartans can shut down or slow Indiana’s passing game they will have an extremely good chance to win this homecoming game.
The Spartans are coming off of a “program win” in the mind of their head coach and could be a little over-confident heading into this homecoming game. That may result in a quick score for an explosive Indiana offense. But if Michigan State comes out and plays the way they did a week ago, this should be a victory for MSU. Which Spartan team and which Spartan offense will we see this week? I expect to see a focused Michigan State team and a competent Spartan offense.
My pick: Michigan State 31, Indiana 20