1,448 – On Saturday, that's how many days it will have been since IU last one a Big Ten road game, and it took place in this weekend's destination – East Lansing, Mich. Antwaan Randle El and Levron Williams led IU to a 37-28 come-from-behind win over the Spartans Nov. 10, 2001. Since that game, Indiana has lost 15 straight Big Ten contests, including setbacks at Wisconsin and Iowa this season.
That run of futility hasn't been littered with a slew of near misses, either. Indiana has lost those 15 contests by an average of 22.9 points, including a pair of 17-point setbacks this year. Only three of those games have been decided by 10 points or less – in 2004 IU lost to Northwestern 31-24 in double overtime and at Illinois 26-22; and in 2002 Indiana lost at Northwestern 41-37.
That's easily the longest Big Ten road losing streak, as every team other than Indiana and winless Purdue and Illinois have won at least one Big Ten road game this season. Purdue last won a Big Ten road game on Oct. 9, 2004, when it beat Penn State 20-13, and Illinois' last Big Ten road victory was a 31-24 victory over Northwestern Nov. 23, 2004.
.200 John L. Smith's winning percentage at Michigan State from the midway point of the Big Ten season until the campaign's conclusion during the last two seasons. That's good news for Indiana, as this weekend's contest in East Lansing kicks off the second half of the Big Ten slate for both teams.
After quick starts in both 2003 and 2004, Michigan State finished each of those seasons by losing four of its last five games. This year's skid seems to have arrived a bit earlier, as Michigan State has lost three straight after starting 4-0 and climbing into the nation's top ten.
306- Yards of total offense Drew Stanton put up against Indiana a year ago in the Spartans' 30-20 win in Bloomington.
Surprisingly, Stanton didn't do his most serious damage with his arm, but rather his feet. Stanton rushed for 134 yards on 12 carries, including a pair of touchdowns. It was one of two 100-yard rushing games for Stanton a season ago, as the sophomore wound up rushing for 687 yards on 96 carries and five touchdowns in 2004.
While Stanton remains a threat to hurt teams by running it or throwing it, he hasn't been nearly the running threat this season as he was a year ago. Through seven games, Stanton is averaging only 21.0 yards/game rushing, compared to 57.3/game a year ago. Since Big Ten play started, he's averaging only 9.0 yards/game, with a best of 20 last week in Michigan State's 49-14 Homecoming loss to Northwestern.
While Stanton might not be hurting teams with the run as much as he did a year ago, he's been among the Big Ten's most dangerous through the air. He's averaging 291.4 yards/game passing (second in the Big Ten to Northwestern's Brett Basanez) and has 16 touchdowns. He's also completing 68.4 percent of his passes.
286.9 - The number of passing yards Michigan State is surrendering per game this season, which ranks ninth in the Big Ten. Only Northwestern (315.6/game) and Purdue (347.6/game) have been more inept at defending against the pass. The Spartans have also surrendered 19 touchdown passes (Northwestern and Purdue have given up a league-worst 20) and they've intercepted only five passes in 269 passes. Illinois is the only team with fewer interceptions with three.
6.9-Yards per carry for true freshman tailback Javon Ringer, the Spartans' starter at tailback. A 5-9, 185-pound freshman out of Dayton, Ohio, Ringer ranks ninth in the Big Ten in yards/game (83.4), but second in yards/carry. His biggest game to date was a 13-carry, 194-yard effort in the Spartans' 63-14 trouncing of Illinois in its Big Ten opener.
Ringer, though, isn't the only tailback that the Hoosiers will have to contain. While Ringer leads the team with 85 carries, there's also Jehuu Caulcrick (70 carries, 391 yards, team-best 6 TDs) and Jason Teague (56 carries, 321 yards, 3 TDs) to contend with. Caulcrick is the biggest of the bunch at 6-0, 245 pounds, while the 5-9, 193-pound Teague is another fleet-footed runner.
Like Ringer, Teague and Caulcrick also put up impressive yards/carry totals. Caulcrick is averaging 5.6 yards/carry, while Teague is going for 5.7 per run. As a team, Michigan State ranks second in the Big Ten in rushing (223.9 yards/game) despite the fact that it runs a spread offense.
What's coming up:
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday - Four Key Matchups
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Things IU Must Do to Win
On Friday – One Bold Prediction
On Saturday – Hoosier Gameday
Five Days and Counting...
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