MURRAY PREVIEW: Five Days and Counting

After Saturday's 31-13 win over Western Kentucky, Murray State is next up for the Hoosiers on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. HoosierNation.com kicks off its day-by-day preview of this weekend's match-up with "Five Numbers to Note" about the contest...

3 – very well known coaches who have headed the Murray State program in the last 25 years before moving on to become big names at the I-A level. The first was Mike Gottfried, who was 22-11-1 at Murray State from 1978-80 before moving on to Cincinnati, Kansas and then eventually Pitt, where he was 26-17-2 from 1986-89. Next up was Frank Beamer, who was 42-23-2 at MSU before going to his alma mater, Virginia Tech, and building them into a national power for the last 21 years. Beamer's Hokie teams have compiled a 164-85-2 mark and have been to 15 straight bowl games. Finally, Houston Nutt was 31-16 at the Ohio Valley School from 1993-96 before leaving for one season at Boise State and then 10 at Arkansas, where he went 75-48 from 1998-07.

20 – starters returning for Murray State from last year's squad. In most instances that would be cause for concern, but the Racers are a Football Championship Series (formerly I-AA) team that was just 2-9 a year ago overall. That was actually an improvement for Coach Matt Griffin's team, which was just 1-10 in his first year at the Kentucky school in 2007. Unlike recent IU match-ups against FCS teams such as Southern Illinois and Nicholls State, Murray State isn't one of the top teams at their level and would seemingly pose very little threat to the Hoosiers in Bloomington. Murray State does enter the game 1-0 after a 41-17 win over NAIA school Lambuth last Thursday.

5-8 – that's the height of Murray State quarterback Nico Yantko, who came into last week's game in relief of an injured Jeff Ehrhardt and completed 10-of-15 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns to lead Murray State to a 41-17 win over Lambuth. Ehrhardt was the OVC Freshman of the Year last season and was expected to be the centerpiece of the squad this season, but his availability for the IU game is very much in doubt. If he's unable to go, it will be the diminutive Yantko under center. Yantko actually spent the 2007 season bouncing around on the defensive side of the ball, getting looks at linebacker and safety. But he beat out Chris Franklin for the No. 2 job in the fall and now might be the starter until Ehrhardt is back to full strength.

17 tackles for Murray State linebacker Nathan Williams in the season opener. Williams is back for a sixth season at the OVC school after being granted a medical hardship in the off-season. Williams played as a freshman in 2003 but then missed the entire 2004 season with a hip injury. After leading MSU in tackles in both 2005 (103 tackles) and 2006 (100), he went down with a season-ending injury in the first game of the 2007 season, a 73-10 loss to Louisville. But he was back in a big way in the season opener, adding 2 ½ tackles for loss and a sack to help Murray State to its first season opening win since 2004.

18 – Hoosiers who made their collegiate debuts last weekend. While familiar faces such as Kellen Lewis, Will Patterson and Greg Middleton figure to lead the Hoosiers in their quest for a second straight bowl appearance, the added depth this year's team has should also be a big part of the success as well. The players who saw their first action last weekend were: Darius Johnson, Donnell Jones, Chris Adkins, Max Dedmond, Dennis Zeigler, Milton Owens, Andrew McDonald, James Brewer, Matt Ernest, Fred Jones, Jeff Boyd, Chris Hagerup, Richard Council, Demarlo Belcher, Ian Reeves, Zach Davis-Walker, Josh Hager and Jerimy Finch.

What's coming up:
On Tuesday - Four Players to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

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