Hoosiers Looking For Respect of Their Own

Bloomington, Ind. – When there's a match-up between the Mid-America Conference and a program from the Big Ten, it's generally the players from the MAC who talk about earning some respect from their counterpart. But this week, Kellen Lewis said the shoe might actually be on the other foot.

Bloomington, Ind. – When there's a match-up between the Mid-America Conference and a program from the Big Ten, it's generally the players from the MAC who talk about earning some respect from their counterpart. But this week, Kellen Lewis said the shoe might actually be on the other foot.

While Indiana owns a 29-4-1 record all-time against the Mid-America Conference and hasn't lost to a MAC foe in 30 years, Lewis is well aware of the fact that when MAC teams see Indiana on the schedule, it doesn't produce the same sort of awe that a Michigan, Ohio State or Iowa might.

"I take it will be the same atmosphere as at Ball State where the MAC teams might not respect us in the Big Ten," Lewis said. "Because of our previous record they feel like we're at the bottom of the barrel and beating us isn't out of the question."

That approach will help the Hoosiers as they head into a match-up that figures to be hotly-contested. Indiana has prevailed in trips to Central Michigan and Ball State the last two years, but those two victories have come by a combined eight points.

"The Mid-America Conference has been upsetting Big Ten schools a long time," said Lynch. "Every weekend it happens."

It happened last weekend when Bowling Green knocked off Minnesota, and Lynch is hoping to avoid being the next MAC victim. Having coached in the conference, though, Lynch knows his team will have its hands full on Saturday.

"One thing we all know as football coaches is there are very good football players everywhere," Lynch said.

- The Hoosiers expect to be healthy for Saturday's match-up in Kalamazoo. Demetrius McCray missed the ISU opener with a shoulder injury, but was expected back at practice Tuesday. The same goes for sophomore left tackle Rodger Saffold, who left the ISU game in the third quarter with a trapezius muscle problem. Joe Kleinsmith, meanwhile, pulled up in the second half after intercepting a ISU pass and is expected to miss practice Tuesday but will likely be ready to go by Saturday.

- IU Coach Bill Lynch and his staff are giving out weekly awards for the team's efforts on special teams, as well as recognizing the scout team members who excel during the week leading up games.

Lynch said the staff awards players special teams points based on a variety of criteria, and in the Indiana State game the top five special teams performers were (in order): Leslie Majors, J.T. Owens, Austin Starr, Tim Bugg and Tracy Porter.

Scout team awards for last week, meanwhile, went to freshman cornerback Chris Adkins and lineman Terrance Thomas on defense and wide receiver Colin Taylor and center Dan Rutigliano on offense.

- Lynch says he's looking forward to his team's trip to Kalamazoo for Saturday's match-up with Western Michigan.

He knows that the Broncos are one of the MAC's preseason favorites and a whole lot better than their season-opening 62-24 setback at West Virginia would suggest. But he also knows that there's still plenty to learn about his team, and he'll figure some of those things out this weekend.

"If you are going to have a really good season you have to play well on the road as well as at home," Lynch said. "Until you do it, you're never really sure. I guarantee this atmosphere we'll go into will be very similar to our next road game, at Iowa. We'll find out how this football team reacts and plays in this type of environment."

- Trea Burgess might have caught some on-lookers by surprise Saturday, but his effort didn't come as a shock to the IU coaching staff.

The redshirt freshman from Jeffersonville (Ind.) H.S. got a chance to play in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand and responded with a 10-carry, 50-yard, one-touchdown effort. While it was his first collegiate action, his performance mirrored some of the things he's done in camp, according to Lynch.

"He's a good runner, and he did it in camp," Lynch said. "It wasn't like, ‘Wow, where did this guy come from?' Some people in the stands might have been that way, but I don't think any guy on our sideline felt that way. We saw him do it throughout camp."

Despite his effort, Burgess will likely still find playing time hard to come by. He was the fourth tailback in the game after Marcus Thigpen, Josiah Sears and Bryan Payton, and IU is expect to have Demetrius McCray back this weekend as well.

"We have a lot of guys," Lynch said. "It's a pleasant problem to have from a coaching standpoint."

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