2011 Michigan State Spartans Football

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Michigan State Spartans vs Indiana Hoosiers Football Preview



Michigan State University’s football team has historically lost a lot of games it should have won on paper. A program victimized by many ambush losses over the years has missed out on the Rose Bowl and other prestigious pigskin prizes because it has failed to focus on sleepy Saturday afternoons against unheralded opponents. This weekend, a team with visions of championships dancing in its mind’s eye will try to be wakeful and watchful against a team that, on paper, should not be able to offer much of a contest.

Michigan State merchandiseThe Michigan State Spartans (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) will try to take another step toward the Big Ten Championship Game when they host the Indiana Hoosiers (1-9, 0-6) on Saturday at Spartan Stadium in their final home game of the season.

With wins in their final two games, the Spartans would clinch the Big Ten Legends Division crown and lock up a berth in the inaugural conference title game.

Last week, the Spartans hammered Iowa, 37-21, in Iowa City. Michigan State led 31-7 at halftime, powered by quarterback Kirk Cousins, who shrugged off his penchant for throwing crucial interceptions in high-stakes road games by throwing for 260 yards and three touchdowns. The Spartans’ defense forced three turnovers, and held the Hawkeyes to 87 yards rushing.

Michigan State truly exorcised a lot of demons and took a substantial forward step as a program with that win in Corn Country. MSU hadn’t won at Iowa since 1989. Last season, the Hawkeyes handed Michigan State its first defeat of the season, blowing the Spartans out 37-6 at Kinnick Stadium. The ability of Sparty to respond to last year’s drubbing is just the latest indication that the subculture in the Michigan State locker room – while not yet completely transformed – is in the process of changing under head coach Mark Dantonio. Michigan State merely needs to make sure that it is vigilant and passionate this upcoming Saturday against an Indiana team that cannot match up with Sparty in the trenches.

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The struggling Hoosiers had a bye week last week. Two weeks ago, IU hung around at Ohio State for most of the afternoon, tying the score in the third quarter and trailing by just seven for most of the fourth, but ultimately fell 34-20.

True freshman Tre Roberson is now firmly entrenched as Indiana’s starting quarterback. Roberson had 244 yards of total offense at Ohio State, and rushed for 121 yards three weeks ago against Northwestern. In Roberson’s three starts, Indiana averages 27.5 points, 231.7 rushing yards, and 411.7 total yards.

The Spartans are 6-0 at home this season. Indiana hasn’t won at Michigan State since 2001. The winner of the Indiana-Michigan State matchup receives a rivalry trophy known as the Old Brass Spittoon. Michigan State, of course, is intent on winning something much more important: a Big Ten division title, en route to conference crown.

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer


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