THE OPPONENT: The Sycamores are coming off a 7-4 season a year ago that saw them lose their final two games after opening the year 7-2. Indiana State closed the year with losses to Illinois State and Youngstown State. A year ago, Indiana State lost its season opener in Bloomington to Indiana, 24-17. This year, the Sycamores follow up Thursday night's game at Memorial Stadium by traveling the following weekend to West Lafayette and taking on Purdue.
THE SERIES: Indiana leads the all-time series 4-0. All four of those games were played in Bloomington. Indiana State and Indiana have played in 1925, 2003, 2007 and 2012. This is the second game of a three-game series between the two schools. The final game of the contract will be in 2014.
COACHING DEBUT: Mike Sanford makes his coaching debut as the head coach at Indiana State in this one. In five season as a collegiate head coach, Sanford has a 16-43 record. In his career, he is 13-18 in home games, 3-25 on the road and 5-5 in games decided by three points or less.
FOR OPENERS: Indiana State is 43-49-7 all time in season openers with a .467 winning percentage. ISU last won its season opener in 2010 with a 57-5 victory over St. Joseph's (Ind.). The last time ISU won a season opener on the road it was in 1980, a 13-10 win over Drake. This is the fourth time ISU and IU have met in a season opening game with IU holding a 3-0 advantage.
AGAINST THE BIG TEN: Indiana State is 0-10 against the Big Ten in history which includes its 0-4 record against Indiana. ISU is also 0-3 against Purdue, 0-2 versus Minnesota and 0-1 against Penn State. ISU is actually 0-11 against Big Ten schools if you count original conference member Chicago. Indiana State lost to Chicago in 1929, 18-0.
SYCAMORES PICKED SIXTH IN MVFC: Indiana State was picked to finish sixth in the 10-team Missouri Valley Football Conference. Three ISU players were named to the 2013 Preseason All-MVFC team including Shakir Bell, Calvin Burnett and FN Lutz.
UP NEXT: Indiana State returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 7 against Purdue. Kickoff is set for Noon (ET) and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch.