Michigan State and Indiana play on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Find game time, TV channel how to watch online information, odds and picks below.
The No. 18 Spartans (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) will host Indiana (3-3, 0-3) over their homecoming weekend in a Big Ten East matchup. Coach Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State team will look to avenge a 24-21 overtime road loss against the Hoosiers in 2016, but more importantly, it will look to become bowl eligible with its sixth win.
Michigan State is riding a three-game winning streak after a 30-27 victory over Minnesota, while Indiana has fallen to three of the Big Ten’s best in No. 2 Penn State, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 19 Michigan. The Spartans will make it four ranked opponents in Indiana’s first four conference games.
Michigan State-Indiana football TV channel, time, live stream
Michigan State and Indiana play at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 21.
Kickoff time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
TV channel: ABC
Michigan State-Indiana football picks, odds
Michigan State is a 7-point favorite on MyBookie. The over-under is 46 points.
Michigan State-Indiana preview: 3 keys
1. Win the special teams battles.
Michigan State has been up and down in this department all season. It has one of the nation’s best punters in Jake Hartbarger, but it has also struggled to put kickoffs into the end zone. True freshman Connor Heyward offered a glimmer of hope on kickoff and punt returns with 121 yards against Minnesota, but only after the Spartans muffed multiple punts against Michigan.
And while the Spartans have been largely solid in special teams coverage, they gave up a 100-yard return touchdown to Western Michigan star Darius Phillips in Week 2. And this came after he’d done it to them two years ago. They should’ve known better.
Now the Spartans will face one of the best punt returners in college football, J-Shun Harris. Harris has averaged 23.3 yards per return and taken two punts back for touchdowns. Michigan State can’t afford to give up quick and easy points on special teams to Harris.
2. Get that turnover margin up.
Michigan State sits right in the middle of the Big Ten and national rankings with a turnover margin of zero. But the Spartans haven’t been there consistently. They started the season by fumbling at will through their first three games, while not forcing the opposing offenses to do the same. Then they forced seven turnovers from Iowa and Michigan while not coughing it up a single time. Last week, they returned to their fumbling ways against Minnesota.
Whether turnovers are returned for touchdowns or set up the opponent with great field position, they have killed the Spartans. They outgained Notre Dame in their lone loss of the season but lost 38-18 mainly because of their inability to protect the ball. This can’t happen again.
Indiana will give Michigan State an opportunity to get back on track. The Hoosiers sit at the bottom of the Big Ten with a paltry minus-9 turnover margin, mainly because they have mustered only four takeaways. If the Spartans can move the ball without losing it, they’ll be in good shape.
It sounds a lot simpler than it is. Michigan State has won its close games, which is an improvement over the 2016 season. But the Spartans sure haven’t made it comfortable.
In the wins over Iowa and Michigan, Michigan State failed to score a single second-half point, relying on its defense to hold firm. Then against Minnesota, the Spartans’ defense collapsed and allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter, forcing the offense to put points on the board to secure the victory. In Big Ten play, Dantonio’s team has yet to put forth a complete second-half performance.
And how does that happen? For starters, by finishing drives with points, something Michigan State has struggled to do. It enters Saturday with the No. 11 red-zone offense in the Big Ten and will face the No. 13 red-zone defense. Something’s got to give.