MURRAY PREVIEW: One Day and Counting

The Hoosiers look to open the season 2-0 for the fifth straight season Saturday when they host Murray State (1-0) at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised by the Big Ten Network. Today, we conclude our day-by-day preview of the Hoosiers' week two match-up with our prediction for the outcome of the contest...

Bloomington - Everything is pointing toward one of IU's most lopsided wins in years Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

As if the challenge of playing a Big Ten team wasn't enough, Murray State (1-0) will head to Bloomington without its starting quarterback, Jeff Ehrhardt, who's out with a shoulder injury. The Racers will also be without its top returning receiver, Derrick Townsel, who suffered a hand injury in last week's 41-17 win over NAIA Lambuth.

And in case it hasn't been mentioned, Murray State is a Football Championship Series (formerly I-AA) team that was 1-10 in 2006 and 2-9 in 2007. They've dared to play Big Ten foes twice in their history (Wisconsin in 1999 and Minnesota in 2001), and they've beaten by a combined score of 115-20 in those two contests. Murray State wound up going 7-4 and 4-6 in those two seasons, respectively, so their program was on much more solid footing than it is now.

But after watching them on film, IU Coach Bill Lynch said there are things for his team to be concerned about.

"Offensively they've got some skill," Lynch said. "They've got some guys that can make plays, and they kind of exploded last Thursday night (against Lambuth). They give you some formation difficulty, they do some shifting and trading and different things that taxes you from a defensive standpoint.

"Defensively, I think they're athletic and they have a real good grasp of how to defend the spread because they run the spread themselves."

Lynch isn't about to say anything that would serve as bulletin board material for the Racers, but the truth of the matter is that Murray State is one of the weakest team to come to Memorial Stadium in the last decade. It's probably not as bad as last year's winless Indians State squad that was whipped 55-7 by IU in the opener, but the result of this game should be similar to that contest.

Hoosier fans should expect big numbers for IU's tailbacks and Greg Middleton. A team rushing total of more than 300 yards is a probability this weekend, and a much larger percentage should come from IU's tailbacks. Expect big yardage totals and a couple of big plays from Marcus Thigpen, Bryan Payton and Demetrius McCray.

Middleton, meanwhile, returns to the field after sitting out the opener due to a team suspension. With Murray State expected to be playing catch-up most of the afternoon, Middleton should have plenty of chances to chase down Racers' quarterback Nico Yantko. Prediction: Indiana 48, Murray State 10

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

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