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Indiana hits road against nation’s top defense in Michigan State

Updated: November 13, 2013 6:13AM



BLOOMINGTON — The nation’s top defense awaits Indiana in the Hoosiers’ first road game of the season.

Michigan State leads the nation in rushing defense (51.2 ypg), pass efficiency defense (81.16 rating), and total defense (203.8 ypg). The Spartans are allowing 13.4 points per game, seventh best in the country.

And today’s homecoming game for the Spartans (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) is also the 500th game all-time at Spartan Stadium, where the Hoosiers haven’t won since 2001.

Kevin Wilson knows the Hoosiers (3-2, 1-0) will have to find a way to create their own energy in order to win on the road for just the third time in two-plus seasons.

“We do need to communicate better defensively,” Wilson said. “Fortunately, when you’re on the road, most people are quiet when their offense is out there. So that shouldn’t be a huge deal for our defense.”

If anything, it will be critical for IU’s offense to find ways to succeed against a Michigan State team that hasn’t allowed more than 17 points in any game this season.

“Their type of defense is, they make a lot of competitive plays,” Wilson said while acknowledging it’s going to take a total team effort for the Hoosiers to win.

Last season in Bloomington, the Hoosiers led 17-0 after the first quarter and 27-14 at halftime. But Michigan State rallied for a 31-27 victory. IU had just 35 yards on 19 rushing attempts in that game.

Key player: Tevin Coleman. Indiana’s starting running back is going to have to fight for every yard against Michigan State’s defense. He doesn’t necessarily have to eke out a 100-yard game, but he’s going to have to pose some semblance of a threat to provide balance to IU’s offense.

Indiana will win if: The Hoosiers find ways to score. IU isn’t equipped to win a 17-14 game; the Hoosiers are going to have to hit the mid-20s to have a chance at the win.

Michigan State will win if: The Spartans stuff IU’s running game. Not that the Hoosiers couldn’t win with Nate Sudfeld throwing 50 passes, but it will be difficult.

Prediction: Michigan State 27, Indiana 20

Correspondent Andy Proffet



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