PREVIEW: Michigan State vs. Indiana

MSU Corner Jaren Hayes will have hands full again

The Hoosiers are the worst rushing offense in the Big Ten and second to last in total offense. Senior running back Chris Taylor only managed 18 yards last week at Ohio State while quarterback Blake Power only passed for 72 yards against the Buckeyes.

What: Indiana (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten) at Michigan State (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten)
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI –capacity 75,005
Last Meeting: MSU 30, IU 20 (2004)
All-Time: MSU leads 37-14-2
In East Lansing: MSU leads 19-6-1
Injuries: MICHIGAN STATE- Receiver Kyle Brown-questionable
INDIANA-none

East Lansing: Two teams looking to bounce back square off on Saturday at Spartan Stadium. Indiana has impressive 6-foot-7 receiver James Hardy, who leads the Big Ten in yards per game (110.1), touchdowns (8), and he also makes big plays, averaging 16 yards per catch.

The Hoosiers are the worst rushing offense in the Big Ten and second to last in total offense. Senior running back Chris Taylor only managed 18 yards last week at Ohio State while quarterback Blake Power only passed for 72 yards against the Buckeyes stingy defense. The Spartans will look to stop the run as usual before they can focus on the Hoosier passing game, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten. Indiana is also the most penalized team in the Big Ten, with 56 penalties.

"They're a much improved football team," said head coach John L. Smith. "We're going to have to line up play well and more right in everything that we do."

Key Matchups: IU receiver James Hardy vs. Spartan secondary: 5-foot-9 cornerback Jaren Hayes has been matched up with the opponents' top receivers in previous weeks and he will take on a towering receiver in 6-foot-7 James Hardy.

The Spartans have been struggling with giving up the big play in past weeks and Hardy is one of the best at make those big plays. Hardy's longest touchdown reception this season is 83 yards, one of the longest in the Big Ten and he also averages in double-digits in yards per catch.

Hardy will be a handful for the Spartan defense but it all starts up front with pressure on quarterback Blake Powers. If they force him to make bad throws or leave the pocket, then the Spartans could see major results.

Special Teams: Indiana leads the Big Ten in kickoff return yards per return with 25.7 yards a run. The Spartan special teams have struggled, especially with giving up good field position to their opponents. With their fifth ranked pass offense, Indiana can take advantage of good field position through the air if given the opportunity.

Kicking Game: Spartan kicker John Goss continues to struggle and with every missed kick, John L. Smith thinks about his up and rising backup kicker Matt Haughey, who has been solid in practice, according to Smith.

"We're just trying to find a kicker," said John L. Smith, who appears to get even more frustrated with every week's lineup of missed kicks.

Indiana ranks second to last, just in front of Michigan State, who is last, in field goal percentage. Indiana has made three out of six kicks this season while the Spartans are four out of eleven.

Spartan Offense: The Spartan offense will be very vital early in the game on Saturday, first to establish the run game and then to keep playing for all four quarters without letting up. If the Spartans get a lead, they must protect it by still pressuring them on offense.

Michigan State's bowl hopes are on life support right now but yet if they win their four remaining games, they will qualify for a bowl game. Right now, Indiana's stands just where the Spartans are and has slightly similar hopes this year, but with their new coaching staff, a successful year would also mean to finish over .500.

Pick: Although both teams matchup well with each other and both are in the same boat, MSU has had a history of success against the Hoosiers. Michigan State's offense will wake up and the Spartan defense will show new life on Saturday. Michigan State 45, Indiana 20

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