Here’s this week’s game preview from reader and frequent Hoosier Scoop commenter Mike P. What thoughts do the rest of you have on this week’s game?
FROM MIKE: It is time for my weekly â€œMike Pâ€™reviewâ€ of the upcoming IU game. This weekâ€™s game is against the Michigan State Spartans.
The Spartans started of the season on a roll, winning their first 4 games by a combined 131-62. They have now lost two straight.
The first game was expected, on the road to a Big Ten power house that is Wisconsin. There are not many who would have given MSU a chance in that game.
So it is not that MSU lost, but how they lost that is important. In the 4th quarter they had just scored 10 unanswered points to tie the game at 34. Wisconsin then went on a 10-play, 64-yard drive that used up 5:53 before kicking the game-winning field goal. This is not a meltdown like they had last year when they allowed Notre Dame to come from behind and win, but this maybe the beginning of the third straight year they have imploded, when you couple the Wisconsin loss and them losing to Northwestern in OT this past Saturday.
Letâ€™s take a look at how IU will match up with MSU this weekend.
IU is looking at a team who likes to run the ball, and from the stats so far this season, they do it very well, rushing for 1331 yards and 15 TDâ€™s on the season. They are coming in to this game averaging 221.8 yards per game on the ground. This MSU team has only fumbled five times this season, and has lost three of those.
The passing game is something to pay attention to also, gaining 230 yards per game and 11 TDs in the air while only being picked of 3 times in 6 games. This could be a day for the IU d-line to tee of on a QB, with MSU giving up 14 sacks this season. Tracy Porter needs to man up on Devin Thomas and limit his production. Thomas is Michigan State’s top receiver and has an average of 21.7 yards per catch. The key though will be the linebackerâ€™s ability to pick up the screen. Javon Ringer is second on the team with 20 catches out of the backfield for 213 yards, while gaining 752 yards on the ground.
So far this year MSU has shown that you canâ€™t run very well on them. They have only allowed 114.7 yards rushing per game. So what does this mean for IU? It means they go to the air. They are giving up 242 yards per game in passing. I think the high-powered IU offense can give MSU fits and really exploit them, allowing the rushing game to open up, especially if Bryan Payton gets the carries. The offensive line will have to be ready this week.
MSU is a threat to sack the QB, having done it 24 times already this season. The pressure will be on Kellen Lewis this week. Lewis will have to make things happen with his feet, scrambling to buy some time, and using the QB draw to his advantage, something they seem to have got away from the last few weeks. I am giving the receivers a break for some of the drops on Saturday due to the extreme heat, but this week they have to make the completions and limit the amount of drops. If they can do that, and protect the ball, it is a very real possibility IU comes back for Homecoming with a 6-1 record and already bowl eligible.
This can also be read on my personal fan blog that is in no way affiliated with the HT or The Hoosier Scoop at: http://hoosierfootball.blogspot.com/
Please stop by and let me know what you think.