Box Score Review – Michigan State

There’s a reason why Bill Connelly had Indiana with a postgame win expectancy of 61%. The Hoosiers did a lot of things well. Or rather, kept Michigan State from doing things well. Anyway, let’s dive in.

  • Both teams struggled to generate much of anything offensively. Neither team performed well in efficiency or explosiveness.
  • Despite Kenneth Walker and Michigan State’s reputation as a good rushing team, Indiana was actually the more efficient rushing team. Stephen Carr had a dismal yards per carry average but that was exacerbated, as it often is, by lack of explosive rushes. His long was just 8 yards, but he managed a 44% success rate by constantly picking up the yards necessary to stay on schedule. That ties his non-garbage season high which came against Western Kentucky. His non-garbage season-long average is just 37%.
  • If you like short passes, let me direct you to the Indiana offense. Jack Tuttle managed just 3.6 yards per attempt. You have to go back to the first 3 starts of the Zander Diamont freshman year campaign in 2014 to find an Indiana team that performed that poorly passing. Indiana’s running back was targeted 9 times, 2nd highest on the team. Stephen Carr caught all his targets, but that’s about all you can hope for. He’s catching the ball, maybe breaking a tackle every now and then, but he isn’t a home run threat.
  • Donaven McCulley has a pass listed on our box score (and Carr has an additional reception). While the official stats show a Stephen Carr rush due to the play being a lateral pass, the intent of the play was obviously a pass. Maybe I shouldn’t assume that, but I’d hope the coaching staff wouldn’t put McCulley in for his first game action and ask him to throw a lateral pass. Anyway, in the same way that sacks are officially rushes, but we treat them as pass plays, we’ll treat that play as a pass.
  • Noah Pierre! With Tiawan Mullen out, Pierre stepped up in a big way. He had an interception and pass breakup, plus he made a nice 2-yard tackle-for-loss on a pass to Jalen Nailor.
  • Indiana made it inside the Michigan State 40-yard line 5 times and managed just 15 total points. The Hoosiers are averaging just 3.7 points per drive inside the 40 this year. In Indiana’s consecutive 5-7 campaigns in 2017 and 2018, Indiana averaged 3.9 points per drive inside the 40. The last two seasons Indiana has averaged 4.6. You can see where this season is going.