MSU football will compete for Old Brass Spittoon on the road against Indiana on Saturday
On Saturday afternoon, No. 8 MSU won’t only be playing to remain in the College Football Playoff conversation, but for the Old Brass Spittoon.
MSU (5-1 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) will travel to Bloomington, Ind. on Saturday to take on the Indiana Hoosiers (3-3 overall, 0-2 Big Ten) in its annual battle for the Old Brass Spittoon. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.
Indiana enters the Big Ten matchup reeling after losing last week to Iowa, 45-29. Even more upsetting for Hoosiers fans is the loss of starting junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld, who went down with a separated shoulder last week.
On top of Sudfeld being out this week, a report out of the Indianapolis Star stated that backup freshman quarterback Chris Covington will also miss this week, leaving third string freshman quarterback Zander Diamont as the projected starter.
Covington’s mother, Sheneesha Edwards, said through an interview with the Indianapolis Star that her son wouldn’t play, but no official statement has been released from Indiana officials as of press time.
Diamont was expected to redshirt this season with zero appearances during his career.
Regardless of who starts this week, junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun said the defense will come prepared to play and look to take advantage of any mistakes either Covington or Diamont make.
“I don’t expect him to do anything out of the ordinary,” Calhoun said on Tuesday following practice. “I expect him to be a good quarterback, I expect him to be able to throw, I expect him to be able to run, but as mistakes happen we are going to try to capitalize on them.”
With Sudfeld out, MSU’s focus will shift to containing Hoosier standout junior running back Tevin Coleman. Coleman is on pace to run for more than 2,000 yards this season, currently rushing for 1,060 yards and 11 touchdowns through the first six games. Coleman also has recorded 15 receptions for 134 receiving yards.
Coleman racked up more than 100 all purpose yards last year against MSU, and head coach Mark Dantonio understands stopping Coleman will be key for the Spartans to experience success this week.
“He’s a guy that they want to get the ball to, there’s no question about that,” Dantonio said. “He’s got to touch the ball a minimum of 20?plus times a game. ... He’s a more complete running back. You see him running through tackles, and you know, your objective is to shut him down. I think he’s obviously one of the keys to victory for us.”
Dantonio added that he expects Coleman to be used in many different packages to open up other offensive threats.
Despite having the nation’s leading rusher in the stable, Indiana finds itself a two-touchdown underdog this week. Combine the expected Spartan victory with MSU’s next opponent — in-state rival Michigan — the question of overlooking the Hoosiers has emerged this week.
Dantonio said he isn’t worried about his players overlooking the Hoosiers this week because MSU has so much to lose in regards to post-season aspirations.
That same message has been translated to the Spartan players, with senior offensive lineman and captain Travis Jackson shooting down any Michigan talk. When asked on looking ahead to his final game against the Wolverines, Jackson downplayed the question and said he is solely focused on the current challenge at hand.
“I’m not looking past Indiana,” Jackson said. “So we’re not even thinking about that yet.”
This week’s matchup against Indiana will air on ESPN.