Four takeaways from MSU football's 56-17 win over Indiana on Saturday
No. 8 MSU flaunted its muscles on Saturday, reeling off 42 unanswered points to beat Indiana, 56-17, at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.
MSU now turns its focus to Michigan this week, as the Wolverines travel to Spartan Stadium on Saturday. Before looking ahead to U-M, here are four takeaways from this past weekend.
Closing out Indiana
After back-to-back weeks of nearly blowing a substantial lead, MSU took care of business in the second half against Indiana.
MSU was able to reel off 42 consecutive points and used a stifling defensive effort in the second half to hold Indiana scoreless. Head coach Mark Dantonio said closing out opponents was something the team talked about this week and was pleased with the Spartans’ finish on Saturday.
The solid performance has temporarily quieted naysayers outside the program and eliminates some doubt in MSU’s second half troubles.
Nick Hill emerging as weapon
It was not senior Jeremy Langford who led the Spartans in rushing on Saturday, but another senior running back in Nick Hill who racked up the most yards on the ground for MSU.
Hill ran for 178 yards on 16 carries, including a 76-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Following the game, Hill said he was smiling as he hit the endzone on that late touchdown run because it finally sunk in that he had achieved his first 100-yard game as a Spartan.
“When I broke free I kind of had a semi-smile on my face as I (hit) the open field,” Hill said. “I had to make sure no one was around me but as I hit the endzone I could feel a huge relief off my shoulders.”
Hill now has 465 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the season. The senior running back is developing into a productive second option in the backfield for MSU, which is something every team can use.
Pressure on QB key
A lot of Saturday’s success against Indiana can be pointed to the defense, especially the front seven. MSU’s defense recorded four sacks against the Hoosiers and constantly put pressure on the freshman quarterback Zander Diamont.
The constant pressure out of MSU’s front seven resulted in only 11 passing yards against and stands as an area the Spartans will surely key in on this week.
Michigan ranks tied for 82nd in the nation in sacks against, averaging more than two sacks per game. MSU recorded seven sacks last year against U-M, and now against an even worse offensive line, expect defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi to dial up the heat on Friday.
Rivalry week on banks of red cedar
It’s finally here, the week that all college football fans in the state of Michigan look forward to every year. Well, maybe not so much for U-M fans and alumni as of late.
MSU and U-M will renew their annual rivalry this Saturday — kickoff at 3:30 p.m. — at Spartan Stadium with the Spartans looking to continue their recent success against the Wolverines. MSU has won five of the last six meetings and enters the week favored by as many as 17 points against U-M.
U-M hasn’t scored a touchdown against MSU since Oct. 15, 2011, and will have its work cut out again this season. Regardless of the record, this game is a special one to everyone in the Spartan locker room from top to bottom.
“It’s always a great week,” Dantonio said after MSU’s victory over Indiana. “It’s a great week for college football, it’s a great week for our program and we’ve always embraced it.”