Michigan State Spartans
2008 record: 3-1
2008 Sagarin: 30 (IU is #82)
2007 record: 7-6 (3-5), lost to Boston College in Champs Sports Bowl
2007 Sagarin: 47
Series: Michigan State leads 39-15-2
Last IU win: 2006, 46-21 in Bloomington
Last MSU win: 2007, 52-27 in East Lansing
Last MSU win in Bloomington: 9/25/04 (30-20)
IU doesn't exactly have a get-well game on the horizon after a disappointing blowout loss to Ball State. Last year, Javon Ringer brutalized the Hoosiers, gaining 203 yards on 29 carries, and after a so-so debut against Cal, Ringer has been doing it again: 34-135 and 4 TDs against Eastern Michigan; 43-282 against Florida Atlantic; 39-201 against Notre Dame. The main difference between this year and last year is that Ringer is doing it by himself this year. In 2007, Ringer shared carries with Jehuu Caulcrick, which ran for 97 yards against IU in addition to Ringer's production.
It hasn't all been pretty for MSU's offense. QB Brian Hoyer has completed only 44 percent of his passes and has thrown only one touchdown and two interceptions. It's odd, because Hoyer had a respectable season last year, completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing 20 TDs to 10 interceptions. I fear that IU's secondary will be just what he needs.
MSU's defense is doing fine, ranked #50 in total defense and as with MSU's offense, better numbers against the rush than against the pass.
This series has fluctuated between blowouts over the last couple of years. IU won 46-21 in Bloomington in 2006, a game that IU led 46-7 and probably was IU's most thorough thrashing of a Big Ten opponent in the last 15 years. In 2007, MSU more than returned the favor, winning 52-27 and outgaining IU 558-193. The 2004 game in Bloomington counts as one of the bigger heartbreaks in recent memory, one of many should-haves from Gerry Dinardo's last season. IU led 20-7 at halftime but didn't score in the second half at lost 30-20. That was the second game after IU's upset win at Oregon. IU followed that win with an embarrassing game against Kentucky in which IU gave up 51 points to a team that scored only 173 all year, and then a huge choke job against MSU. But I digress.
I'll have more to say about this game over the next couple of days. The Hoosiers have done a decent job of rebounding from disappointment in the last couple of years. In 2006, after losing to SIU and Connecticut, IU won at Illinois for the first time since 1979 and then upset #13 Iowa. Last year, IU rebounded from what seemed like a disappointing loss to Illinois by winning at Iowa. Still, there's really nothing in the teams' performances that gives me much optimism for this matchup.