MICHIGAN STATE: Five Days and Counting

Indiana (2-1) looks to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Ball State on Saturday when it hosts Michigan State (3-1) in both teams' conference openers. HoosierNation.com kicks off its day-by-day preview of this weekend's match-up with "Five Numbers to Note" about the contest...

143 – carries for Michigan State tailback Javon Ringer through the first four games, an average of 35.8/game. Ringer actually has one more carry through four games than Indiana does as a team after three games (142), and IU hasn't had a tailback carry the ball that many times since 2005 when Chris Taylor finished the season with 156 carries. The Spartans' 5-9, 202-pound senior has made the most of his opportunities, rushing for 699 yards (2nd nationally) and scoring 11 touchdowns (1st nationally). The Hoosiers are all too familiar with Ringer, who rushed for a then-career best 203 yards on 29 carries in MSU's 52-27 win over IU last season. He's since eclipsed the 200-yard mark twice, with both coming in the last two weeks. Ringer carried 43 times for 282 yards in a 17-0 win over Florida Atlantic, and followed that up with 201 yards on 39 carries in Saturday's 23-7 win over Michigan State.

4 – Interceptions for Spartan strong safety Otis Wiley, ranking him first nationally in the category. He opened the year by picking off a couple of passes in the Spartans' season-opening 38-31 loss against Cal, and then added two more this past weekend against Notre Dame. Wiley also leads the team with six passes broken up, and he's a player to be concerned about on special teams as well. The 6-2, 210-pounder is Coach Mark Dantonio's primary punt returner and is averaging 14.1 yards/return. That includes a 78-yard return against Eastern Michigan in the season's second week.

44.6 – the completion percentage of Spartan senior quarterback Brian Hoyer, who has completed just 45-of-101 throws this season. While much was made about the fact IU's Kellen Lewis completed less than 50 percent of his throws for the first time in 16 games on Saturday, Hoyer has completed 50 percent of his pass attempts only once in four games this season (an 8-of-12 effort against Eastern Michigan). Hoyer's struggles are surprising, considering he entered the season ranked No. 9 on MSU's career completion percentage list at 58.9 percent. He completed 65.2 percent of his passes as a freshman, 56.5 percent as a sophomore and 59.3 percent as a junior. He completely dissected IU's secondary a year ago, completing 20-of-23 throws for 190 yards and a touchdown.

32:49 - Michigan State's average time of possession, which ranks first in the Big Ten. Indiana, meanwhile, is holding onto the ball an average of 29:36 per game to rank eighth. The Spartans ground-oriented approach has enabled them to not only chew up yards on the ground, but also to take plenty of time off the clock. Their play calls have been nearly 2-to-1 in favor of the run (184 runs, 105 pass attempts), and they've averaged 10 more offensive plays than their opponents during the season's first month (72.3 vs. 62.3). That's exactly what MSU did to IU a year ago when it ran 90 offensive plays compared to IU's 36 and held the ball for 41:05 compared to IU's 18:55.

8 – years since IU last won its Big Ten opener. That win came in 2000 when IU rushed for 433 yards as a team on its way to a 45-33 win over Iowa at Memorial Stadium. Antwaan Randle El rushed for 187 and Levron Williams went for 131 for IU, which then proceeded to lose six of its final seven Big Ten games to finish 3-8. Since that win, IU has lost to Ohio State in 2001 (27-14), Ohio State in 2002 (45-17), Michigan in 2003 (31-17), Michigan State in 2004 (30-20), Wisconsin in 2005 (41-24), Wisconsin in 2006 (52-17) and Illinois in 2007 (27-14).

What's coming up:
On Tuesday - Four Players to Know
On Wednesday – Three Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – Two Big Concerns
On Friday – One Bold Prediction


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