- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

No. 8 Michigan State (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) at Indiana (3-3, 0-2), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Michigan State by 14 1/2.

Series Record: Michigan State leads 43-15-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

After struggling to close out conference games at home against Nebraska and last week at Purdue, Michigan State needs to show it can still dominate. The offense hasn’t been a problem, but the usually stout defense needs improvement. Indiana needs three more wins to become bowl eligible and can’t afford to lose another home game with only three more on the schedule.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan State’s run defense vs. RB Tevin Coleman. With true freshman QB Chris Covington making his first college start, the Hoosiers will need Coleman to do even more. Last week, Purdue averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored three TDs on the ground to stay close to Michigan State. The winner of this battle will probably collect the Old Brass Spittoon.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan State: WR Tony Lippett. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior leads the Big Ten in yards per game (110.5) and TD catches (eight) and is tied for fourth in receptions per game (5.3). With Indiana sitting last in the Big Ten in pass defense, Saturday could be another big day for Lippett.

Indiana: Coleman. He leads the nation with 176.7 yards rushing per game, has the nation’s longest 100-yard streak (eight) and has scored a touchdown in a school record 15 consecutive games. If Coleman comes up big Saturday, on perhaps his biggest stage of the season, it could be a breakthrough moment as Coleman tries to gain Heisman Trophy attention.

FACTS & FIGURES

Michigan State has won four in a row overall, 12 straight games against Big Ten schools including last year’s conference championship game and seven consecutive road games in league play. … Covington replaces Nate Sudfeld as Indiana’s starting quarterback. Sudfeld sustained a season-ending separated left shoulder in last week’s loss at Iowa. … Spartans coach Mark Dantonio will become the fourth member of the school’s 100-game club this weekend. His next win will tied tie Charlie Bachman for the second most wins (70) in school history. … Indiana has lost five straight in the series, starting in 2007.


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