Spartans vs Hoosiers - More Thoughts From More Experts

Spartans vs Hoosiers - More Thoughts From More Experts

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Spartans vs Hoosiers - More Thoughts From More Experts

There are many experts out there who have lots of interesting and important opinions and perspectives on lots of important things. What are some other experts out there saying about Michigan State’s Big Ten opener against Indiana?

Contact @crowleysullivan

When it comes to Michigan State’s Big Ten opening contest against the 3-0 Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington this Saturday night, the amount of experts increases relative to the amount of experts who supply important opinions on, say, whether or not George Clooney will eventually save Darfur.

He will.

Eventually.

But the experts who are providing important thoughts and perspectives on how the ball game between the 1-1 Spartans and the 3-0 Hoosiers will go – what do they think is going to occur out on the football field this Saturday night?

Below are some words that paint a picture of a struggle that results, ultimately in triumph for the Green & White.

Take a look and glean from this perspective whatever you think may give you a better shot at being confident or earning more funds through investment strategies or just being confused or being calm.

One thing’s for sure – you’ll be a smarter person for having read through this expert opinion on the game –

Scouting report

When MSU has the ball

The Spartans have major issues up front, both in pass protection and tackle-to-tackle run blocking. MSU is averaging 114 yards rushing in two games, with LJ Scott at a career-low 3.4 yards per carry. Whether he plays after appearing to tweak his hamstring in the loss to Arizona State remains to be seen. If he doesn’t, the Spartans have had their most success throwing the ball with Lewerke (300.5 yards per game) and running outside zone plays with Connor Heyward (6.4 yards per carry) and La’Darius Jefferson (6.7). Lewerke and his top three receiver targets – Cody White (14 catches/183 yards/two TDs), Felton Davis III (8/133/1) and Darrell Stewart Jr. (12/113/0) – continue to display a strong connection, though the tight ends have struggled and do not yet have a catch. Senior safety Jonathan Crawford, who has started 41 straight games, has a team-leading 15 tackles with a forced fumble, a pick-six and a sack in three games. The Hoosiers lead the Big Ten and are eighth nationally against the pass, allowing just 135.3 yards per game.

When Indiana has the ball

Sophomore QB Peyton Ramsey has been effective and efficient in the Hoosiers’ hurry-up, high-tempo offense. Luke Timian (13 catches, 138 yards) leads a deep group of receivers, including 6-foot-3 Nick Westbrook and 6-4 Donavan Hale, who have combined for four TD catches. Indiana has been running more than passing, with true freshman Stevie Scott thriving with Ellison and Gest out. But it all starts with a veteran offensive line that has allowed just one sack this season, the best in the Big Ten and tied for fourth-fewest nationally, while creating plenty of running lanes for Ramsey and Scott. The Spartans have struggled to stop opponents’ short passing game, ranking 125th out of 129 teams by allowing 349.5 yards per game. MSU’s strength remains stopping the run, ranking No. 1 nationally by allowing just 34.5 yards per game. However, getting to the QB has been an issue against push-the-pace offenses the past two games, getting two sacks against both Arizona State and Utah State.

Peyton’s place

Ramsey beat out true freshman Michael Penix Jr. during preseason camp, and the third-year starter has displayed a dual-threat ability through three games. Ramsey has thrown for 479 yards and five touchdowns to two interceptions and completed 73.7 percent of his passes. Out of the hurry-up, the 6-2, 210-pound Ramsey has rushed for 106 yards on 23 attempts and has been sacked just once.

Great Scott

Scott has made an immediate impression at Indiana. The 6-2, 236-pounder earned back-to-back Big Ten freshman of the week honors after becoming the youngest Hoosier RB to post consecutive 100-plus-yard games. Scott ran 31 times for 204 yards and a touchdown in the muck against Virginia, then had 18 carries game against Ball State for 114 yards and two more TDs.

Prediction

MSU 21, Indiana 18: MSU is searching for answers to a banged-up offensive line and run game that has been stagnant for two weeks. Indiana has struggled defensively at stopping less-potent run games from Florida International, Virginia and Ball State. The Spartans will use the run game to dominate time of possession Saturday, then get a critical defensive stop late against the Hoosiers’ hurry-up offense to escape with a win.

Contact Chris Solari: csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari.

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