Game Week Q&A is back, and it's rivalry week. Adam Johnson from The Crimson Quarry stopped by to talk about that Hoosier offense and the awesomeness that is the Old Brass Spittoon. You can see my answers to his questions here.
1. What's the quarterback position look like? I know you have a few guys and some have dealt with injuries. Is it Sudfeld's team now?
This is definitely Nate Sudfeld's team now, but don't be shocked to see some Tre Roberson too. We had a QB conflict to start the year, but it has been quite obvious for a few weeks now that Sudfeld is the guy. However, in the last two weeks it has appeared that Kevin Wilson has at least partially solved the riddle of finding a way to get Roberson involved too. Roberson got onto the field against Penn State and the first three times he touched the ball, Indiana wound up in the end zone. So especially in goal to go situations we'll see some Roberson on the field. Nate is going to do the majority of the passing though. If the line can keep him on his feet, you can't really beat him. Just hope to limit the damage.
2. On the other side, is the defense a liability? Can it be just good enough to win some more games?
The defense has always been a liability at Indiana. It is much less so this year though. I would make the argument that despite the 44 points put up by the offense against Penn State it was the defense that won the game. They limited the Penn State rush, came up with big plays and had Christian Hackenberg limited to basically throwing over and over to Allen Robinson. The numbers ended up not being the prettiest due to the quick strike offense leaving the Hoosier D on the field for a lot of plays, but they performed admirably. It gives us in Bloomington hope that they can be just a little worse than average going forward instead of catastrophically bad.
3. What are three keys to the game for Indiana?
Limit the rush of the Michigan State offense. Keep Nate Sudfeld off the turf and don't make stupid mistakes. You'll forgive me if I still don't trust the Michigan State offense. I think if the Hoosiers can limit the rush and force you guys into a lot of 3rd and longs it will be a good day on defense. The biggest key is to keep Sudfeld from getting grass stains. If given any modicum of time he can beat almost any defense. When rushed he's prone to some pretty poor decisions. Which is where the last point comes into play. No dumb turnovers. The MSU defense is going to get their share of big plays. Indiana can't add onto that by making dumb plays without the defense's help.
4. Is the Old Brass Spittoon the most underrated rivalry trophy in college football? I say so.
To be 100% honest, I'm not certain a lot of IU fans know of its existence. It's been such a lopsided "rivalry" that Indiana has only had it in their possession 6 times since the end of the 60s. That being said, as a physical trophy it is pretty awesome. I also really like Purdue and our Old Oaken Bucket and the Paul Bunyan Axe. I think it is safe to say when it comes to trophies, the Big Ten is number 1. B-1-G! B-1-G!
5. Give me a score prediction and why.
I'm super hesitant to put my name to any score. Why? Because I could see it going a lot of ways. I don't think this will be a blow out in any direction but I can see any of three scenarios, IU close win, IU close loss and IU loss that was closer than what it looked by the end of the game. I don't think MSU's offense is good enough to put up more than 30ish points and I don't believe IU will score less than 14 of their own. The spread is currently at 10, so I'll take IU and the points. Michigan State 24 - Indiana 17
Thanks again to Adam for answering my questions.