4 storylines for IU’s game at Michigan State

1. Containing quarterbacks
Both teams feature mobile quarterbacks in IU’s Peyton Ramsey and Michigan State’s Brian Lewerke. The Spartans’ sophomore ranks third in the Big Ten in total offense, averaging 249.2 yards per game. He led MSU in rushing through the first five games of the season and remains first among conference quarterbacks with 53.0 rushing yards per contest. He’ll command plenty of attention, both in terms of designed runs and improvised plays. Ramsey, meanwhile, is third among Big Ten quarterbacks with 30.8 rushing yards per game.

2. L.J. Scott will play
Michigan State will have its top running back available despite his arrest this week for driving without a valid license for the seventh time in the past two years. Scott, a junior, has the most complete skill set in the Spartans’ backfield. He’s coming off a career-best performance last week at Minnesota, where he rushed for 194 yards on 25 carries, while tying his personal high with two rushing scores. It’s unclear if Scott will be forced to sit as punishment for any portion of Saturday’s game.

3. Defensive strengths
After a down year in 2016, Michigan State’s defense has returned to form. The Spartans have been particularly strong against the run and they rank third in the Big Ten and eighth nationally in rush defense (93.3 yards per game). Indiana continues to build on last season’s defensive turnaround and boasts one of the league’s most consistent secondaries. The Hoosiers are third in the Big Ten in third-down defense (.291) and fourth in pass defense (180.8 yards per game). Indiana has also held its past two opponents, Charleston Southern — an option offense — and Michigan, to 58 total passing yards. Will Lewerke prove capable of testing Hoosier defensive backs this week?

4. Cobbs and company vs. Spartan secondary
Michigan State’s defensive backfield will look to rebound from a poor final quarter at Minnesota last week. The Spartans yielded three fourth-quarter touchdown passes to the Gophers’ backup quarterback. Indiana receivers, too, will look to create more separation than they managed last week against Michigan. Simmie Cobbs was targeted a team-high 10 times, but finished with merely four catches for 39 yards. IU slot receiver Luke Timian will look to follow up his 95-yard performance, while Taysir Mack will aim to bounce back from a quiet afternoon against the Wolverines.