SCOUTING REPORT: MSU wants to bring pressure

Indiana's big play wide receiver James Hardy is a player who some liken to a poor man's Randy Moss, a big, lanky target who can get up and catch the football in a crowd.

EAST LANSING -- Indiana's redshirt freshman quarterback Kellen Lewis is a highly athletic quarterback from Florida who can hurt you passing or running as opponents have found out this year.

He hit on 19-of-25 passes against Iowa to help pull off an upset of a Hawkeye team that was ranked #13 at the time. Lewis has thrown for 1,244 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions, but just a 53.5 percent completion percentage, typical for a freshman seeing his first playing time. He has run for three touchdowns this season. In the backfield the Hoosiers have a trio of solid running backs in the playing group.

Look for MSU's SirDarean Adams, the speedy bandit from Florida, to draw 'spy' duty on Lewis to keep him contained in the pocket.

Josiah Sears is a bruising fullback who had a big game against Wisconsin. Sears has 225 yards and four touchdowns this season. Marcus Thigpen, nicknamed the "pocket rocket" has 4.22 speed, has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and is dangerous in the open field. He has two scores rushing and one receiving. Demetrious McRay has good 4.47 speed as well. MSU's linebacking corps of Adams, middle linebacker Kaleb Thornhill and WILL backer David Herron, Jr. are coming off an emotional high after being responsible for several big defensive plays that allowed the Spartans to come back from 35 points down at Northwestern.

Head coach John L. Smith had indicated that he intended to switch Adams with safety Nehemiah Warrick, but an injury to Warrick scuttled the move. Smith indicated Warrick could play Saturday.

"Well we'll have to wait and see, all that is speculation at this point. I don't know out of all those guys who are banged and bruised and where they are, what it's going to be like tomorrow. We have to wait and see what happens to day with treatments, how they feel today and then go tomorrow."

Indiana's big play wide receiver James Hardy is a player who some liken to a poor man's Randy Moss, a big, lanky target who can get up and catch the football in a crowd. The former basketball star caught three touchdowns pass against Iowa and will be a focus of MSU's secondary.

Hardy caught 61 passes for 10 touchdowns passes in 2005 and has four touchdown receptions so far this season. Jahkeen Gilmore who caught 30 passes for three touchdowns last year, has and . 19 coming into the matchup with Michigan State while James Bailey, who had 27 passes and three touchdowns in 2005, has caught 20 balls this season.

Adding to the group is the emergence of two newcomers, Nick Polk, and "Big Play" Ray Fisher. Polk is the second leading receiver with 26, and Fisher has 18 receptions.

Justin Frye, a senior who started at right tackle and right guard has moved into the center slot and has 34 straight starts since his redshirt freshmen year. Right guard Johnathan Sandberg had been a career backup until this year. Left guard Pete Saxon is a true freshman and is the "prototypical offensive linemen" that Hoppener has stated he wants on his team. Roger Saffold at left tackle is another true freshman and is big and athletic. The right tackle is Charlie Emerson, a converted defensive lineman.

MSU hopes that Ervin Baldwin, Cliff Ryan and Jonal Saint-Dic can exploit the inexperience of the Hoosier offensive line and get after Lewis. MSU believes that if they bring pressure, they can force Lewis into bad decisions.

The Spartans have a big job in front of them, they simply must have energy against Indiana from the start, as the Hoosiers play much better at home and have a solid secondary.

Falling behind in a similar fashion this week could be a disaster.The Spartans infusion of young players and a hurry up offense gave a jump start to the entire team against NU and the Spartans will need more of the same against Indiana.

Michigan State head coach John L. Smith indicated that the Spartans are still banged up, but the team's spirits are high.

"I know they're believing in each other," said Smith regarding the team's mood following a near miraculous comeback against Northwestern. "Sometimes we have trouble getting seventy (players) on that bus to go, being banged up a little bit, but those seventy (players) in the room are buying in to each other."

Defensively, the trio of Kellen Lewis, James Hardy, and Marcus Thigpen will have to be dealt with. Thigpen is especially dangerous because of his solid kick returns which give the Hoosier offense good field position. Hardy is always dangerous as a receiver, and Lewis can get loose as a runner and is solid enough in the passing game and can do damage.

Corner Kendell Davis-Clark will likely be called upon in the absence of Greg Cooper. Smith says he likes what Davis-Clark brings to the table.

"Kendell [got] better as the game went on and will continue to get better as the season goes on," said Smith.

"He got the one P.I. (pass interference call) but that's going to happen on the outside so you just have to pat him on the back, tell him to tighten up don't worry about it and go make a play."

Smith said Davis just needs more playing experience to become a facotr in the MSU secondary. "He plays physical, he plays hard, he has nothing to do with lack of effort and he has great speed. He has some skills to go with that, so he's going to continue to get better and he's making plays on special teams as well."


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