Detroit News scouting report: Indiana at Michigan State

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

No. 10 Indiana at Michigan State

Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing

TV/radio: ABC/760

Records: Indiana 3-0; Michigan State 1-2

Line: Indiana by 7.5

Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News breaks down the Spartans’ Week 4 matchup with Indiana:

Michigan failed to sack Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) in its loss to the Hoosiers.

Key matchup


Narrowing this down to just Michigan State’s secondary probably isn’t fair, because if the Spartans have any hope of limiting Penix and the Hoosiers offense, it will take all 11 players on Michigan State’s defense.

Penix, who has been outstanding this season leading the Hoosiers to an overtime win over Penn State in the season-opener then lighting up Michigan last week for Indiana’s third straight victory, has already proven how effective he can be against Michigan State. In last year’s meeting, Penix completed 20 consecutive passes at one point and nearly rallied the Hoosiers to a victory. He finished with 286 yards passing and three touchdowns while running for a fourth score.

The Spartans have been solid on the back end through the first three games, but last week in the loss to Iowa the pass rush disappeared and the Hawkeyes picked up big chunks in the running game. If Stevie Scott III and the Hoosiers ground attack has the same success this week, it should make things much easier on Penix, who has thrown for 750 yards and seven touchdowns this season and is starting to appear on some Heisman Trophy lists.

Subscribers: Wojo's Pigskin Picks: Can anyone in Michigan reverse our football misery?

Hoosiers to watch

Stevie Scott III, RB: The junior earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last season and entered 2020 on the watch lists for the Maxwell and Doak awards. He’s the 14th player in Indiana history to run for more than 2,000 yards and his 26 career touchdowns are tied for first in the Big Ten among active players. Scott scored twice against Penn State and two more times in the win over Michigan and has run for more than 100 yards nine times in his career.

Whop Philyor, WR: The senior was a second-team All-Big Ten performer last season by catching 70 passes for 1,002 yards and five touchdowns and entered this season on the Biletnikoff Award watch list. He currently leads the Hoosiers with 21 receptions for 252 yards with one touchdown. In last year’s meeting with Michigan State, Philyor had 14 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. He notched his seventh 100-yard game two weeks ago against Rutgers then had 11 receptions last week in the win over Michigan.

Jaylin Williams, CB: The junior has recorded an interception in each of the first three games to give him a team-high five in his career. The three interceptions are also the most in the Big Ten as Williams also has eight tackles, a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries. Last season, Williams appeared in all 13 games last season, starting the final seven games and finishing with one interception and three pass breakups.

More: MSU mailbag: Will the Spartans win another game in 2020? Well ...

Facts and figures

►While the Spartans have won 10 of the last 11 in the battle for the Old Brass Spittoon, it’s the Hoosiers who enter the game ranked in both national polls for the third straight week, sitting at No. 10 in the AP and coaches polls. Indiana is ranked in the top 10 for the first time since reaching No. 10 in the AP poll on Sept. 22, 1969. The Hoosiers are also 3-0 in the Big Ten for the fourth time overall and the first time since 1988.

►Michigan State has given the ball away 10 times through three games and ranks 121st in the nation out of 123 teams at minus-2.33 turnover margin per game, a stat which plays right into the hands of the Hoosiers. Indiana is first in the Big Ten and tied for fourth in the nation at +6 in takeaway margin and ranks second in the nation with 8 turnovers forced.

►The Hoosiers have been remarkably efficient in the red zone this season, coming away with points in all 16 trips inside the 20-yard line, the second-highest total in the nation without a failed conversion. Indiana has scored 12 touchdowns in its 16 trips and on the other side, the Hoosiers have only allowed opponents to score in five of nine trips to the red zone, which ranks third nationally.

Subscribers:Detroit News predictions: Indiana at Michigan State

Twitter: @mattcharboneau