BSU PREVIEW: Four Days and Counting

Ball State quarterback Nate Davis is the face of the program these days, but there are plenty of other players on Coach Brady Hoke's roster that present significant challenges for the Hoosiers this weekend. Today, we continue our day-by-day preview of the IU-Ball State match-up with "Four Names to Know" on the Cardinals' roster...

Dante Love, WR –The 5-10, 179-pound senior is the Cardinals' biggest playmaker, and Coach Brady Hoke will get him plenty of touches throughout the course of the game. Love has caught 25 passes in the season's first three weeks and his 144.3 yards receiving/game leads the nation. But Love won't only be on the receiving end of Nate Davis' passes this weekend. He also has rushed the ball 14 times this season, so IU can expect to see him get a handful of carries Saturday. He's also Ball State's primary kick returner and has averaged 25.4 yards per return. He ranked second nationally in all-purpose yards last season (206.9/game), and he's upped that to 242.0 this year, which ranks him third nationally. A speedster with 4.5 speed in the 40, Love gave IU fits a year ago when he caught 14 passes for 177 yards in IU's 38-20 win.

Darius Hill, TE – Love is understandably the most talked about pass catcher on the Cardinals' roster, but Hill is also someone to be concerned about. The 6-6, 235-pounder is Ball State's all-time leader for touchdown receptions with 27, and he's caught double-digit touchdowns in each of the past two seasons (10 in 2006, 11 in 2007). He ranks sixth on BSU's all-time receptions list with 127, and he's caught 11 balls for 168 yards and three touchdowns in BSU's first three games. Indiana did a nice job of slowing him down last year as he caught only two passes for 42 yards, and keeping him under wraps will be a point of emphasis for the IU defense.

MiQuale Lewis, RB –The ‘X' factor in this game could very well be Lewis, Ball State's 5'6", 184-pound tailback who ranks 10th nationally with 121.0 yards rushing/game. Lewis missed last year's game against IU due to the season-ending knee injury that he suffered against Nebraska, but he's returned this fall and is coming off back-to-back 100-yard games, including a 28-carry, 154-yard, two-touchdown performance against Akron. One of the biggest reasons IU has been able to win its last two match-ups against Ball State is because its managed to make the Cardinals one-dimensional – BSU rushed for only 41 yards in 2006 and 67 in 2007. Ball State is looking for Lewis to provide the offensive balance that's been lacking this time around.

Sean Baker, S - Baker is another player IU didn't go up against a year ago, as the Cardinals redshirted the then-true freshman. The 6-1, 205-pounder has made a huge contribution to the Cardinals' defense as a redshirt freshman, leading the team with 24 tackles despite not starting any of the first three games. He's coming off a huge game last week against Akron, totaling nine tackles, three interceptions and one fumble return for a touchdown. That effort earned him National Defensive Player of the Week accolades from the Water Camp Foundation. While starting safeties Alex Knipp and Trey Lewis figure to be in the lineup again Saturday, expect to see plenty of Baker as well, particularly with IU's preference to utilize three and four wide receiver sets.

What's coming up:
On Monday - Five Numbers to Note
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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