You'll quickly notice a trend with these historic series recaps. Indiana is very far behind in all of them. Michigan State leads this particular series with a record of 43 wins, 14 losses and 2 ties. The ties came in 1939 and 1977. Three of the 14 Indiana wins came before World War II. So as you can see the Hoosiers haven't ever really put up much of a fight. Mostly it has been losses upon losses with a token win thrown in every 5 years or so. Minus a run of three straight victories in the late sixties.
Surprisingly as one sided as the series has been the average margin of defeat isn't all that outstanding. On average Indiana puts up 15 points to Michigan State's 27. In a series where you've only won 23.7% of the games, an average margin of defeat of 12 points is actually pretty good. It means that at least on average the Hoosiers are in the game. Of course recent history says not even that is true.
Since the new millennium, Indiana and MSU have taken the field against each other 10 of 12 years. In that span Indiana is under its average win percentage with only two victories. Once with Antwaan Randle El at the helm in 2001 Indiana went into East Lansing and took on the #22 Spartans. It had to be the most frustrating game in the world for MSU fans to be watching as their Spartans went down by a score of 37-22. Even more frustrating, Indiana had 48 yards of passing offense in the game. Instead the Hoosiers rushed for 489 yards to steal away the Old Brass Spittoon. In the game Levron Williams ran for 251 yards on 26 carries, Randle El scampered for 149 on 21 carries and Jeremi Johnson had 96 on 13.
The next win came in 2006. In a 5 win season, Michigan State was IU's 5th and final victim. After the win IU only needed one more win against either Minnesota, Michigan or Purdue to get into a bowl game. It didn't happen as Minnesota and Michigan blew out the Hoosiers and Purdue eeked out a win at home. But back to the MSU game. Kellen Lewis was the star as he threw for 5 touchdowns and ran for a sixth while the Hoosiers ran roughshod over the Spartans 46-21. A sophomore James Hardy was on the receiving end of those four touchdowns to set a school record that still stands today.
Sophomore Marcus Thigpen ran for 104 and caught two passes for 45 yards to finish the game with 149 all purpose yards and a touchdown. As impressive as the offense was, it was the defense that did a lot of the damage. Tracy Porter had eight tackles and forced a fumble that resulted in a safety. And the defense kept a Drew Stanton led Michigan State from acquired only 135 yards of total offense after a quick 80 yards to start the game. The score of 46-21 wasn't even that close as the Hoosiers allowed a 40 yard TD pass as time expired to push MSU's offensive output from 14 to 21 points.
The final game we'll take a brief look at is last year's loss to Michigan State. Indiana had MSU on the ropes for a majority of the game and like we saw over and over again last season, it was just a way to get our hopes up as Indiana would inevitably smash them with poor play. On homecoming, Indiana led by Cam Coffman was able to take a 27-14 lead going into half time against a Michigan State team that was supposed to blow IU away.
The Hoosiers jumped out to a 17-0 lead before Michigan State was able to put any points on the board. Through the no huddle and some trickery the Hoosiers were able to continue racking up points on one of the nation's best defenses. Probably the play that most won me over to Kevin Wilson's side was when Indiana up 24-14 kicked an onside kick near the end of the half and recovered it. Tacking on another 3 points to get our lead at half time up to 27-14.
Of course that is where it all started to go wrong. Michigan State's defense figured out the IU offense and the half time adjustments had the Hoosiers' minds reeling. Three and out became a phrase Indiana fans would repeat over and over as the Indiana offense was only able to acquire 50 more yards of offense in the second half. Still Indiana showed a ton of fight against a very good opponent and it was something we would continue to see on and off throughout last season. This is one of those games that made most of us think the Hoosiers were ready for a big step forward this year.
Indiana now will head to East Lansing on Saturday to take on Michigan State and try and grab their first victory in five tries. The Hoosiers are due and this year's offense seems capable of putting up enough points that the defense can hold a middling Michigan State offense to a pretty low score as well. The spread is currently at 10 points, but I don't see how Indiana doesn't score enough that Michigan State scoring 10 more than that seems like insanity. Feels like easy money to me taking Indiana. But we'll get more into that tomorrow.