It isn’t too often that coaches are given a fourth chance to get to a bowl game in this current day in age of college football. Then again, Indiana isn’t exactly your average football program. As head coach Kevin Wilson enters year four changes are the name of the game, and going bowling at the end of the season is goal number one.
Getting that done requires winning six games, which was a threshold too high a season ago. It inspired defensive changes, with new coordinator Brian Knorr coming in and establishing the Big Ten’s second 3-4 defense in as many years.
Since arriving in Bloomington the offense has never been the question, and the hope will be that Knorr’s defensive changes will be just enough in his first season to make this team in to a bowl-eligible one.
Interest in the Hoosiers football program has been on a huge rise since Wilson came on campus, but 2014 is put up or shut up time for this team. Will the Hoosiers be up to the challenge? Let’s see how this season plays out in our first look at the Big Ten East.
Aug. 30 – vs. Indiana State: WIN
No matter the defensive struggles in the past the Hoosiers should be good enough on offense to handle whatever the Sycamores have up their sleeves. For a new defense this will be a decent first test given the spread offense Indiana State runs, but it won’t be a significant enough of a test to win. Hoosiers by a lot in this one.
Sept. 13 – at Bowling Green: WIN
This will be a much more significant test, but having the previous week of will be a huge advantage for Indiana. It will give them time to make plenty adjustments ahead of this test. Last season wasn’t much of a test, with the Hoosiers winning 42-10, but something clicked for the Falcons following that game and the team comes in to 2014 as one of the best in the MAC. Look for this to be a lot closer than last season, but still a Hoosiers win, even on the road.
Sept. 20 – at Missouri: LOSS
Despite the fact that Missouri losses its best offensive weapon (WR Dorial Green-Beckham) and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year (Michael Sam) for vastly different reasons, the Tigers did make it to the SEC championship game in their second season in the SEC for a reason. Coming back is one of those reasons — quarterback Matty Mauk. Playing a second-straight road game and facing what still should be a formidable SEC foe doesn’t bode well. Until Indiana proves they can win a game against higher competition I’m not putting money on them to win this one. It will be closer than last season’s 45-28 loss at home though.
Sept. 27 – vs. Maryland: WIN
After a tough Big Ten opener, this game should feel a lot more familiar to the Terps thanks to the spread attack Indiana uses. In a game that could be an offensive explosion, I’m looking to the team with a better run game and that means I’m picking Indiana at home. This is my pick for the highest scoring game of the Big Ten season, with both teams capable of putting 40-plus points on the board. Indiana at home takes this one though.
Oct. 4 – vs. North Texas: WIN
Shiny new helmets won’t do anything to impress or scare the Hoosiers; after all they did unveil about 9 billion of them on their own last season, right? That said, North Texas is not to be taken lightly on the football field anymore. Having the underrated and under appreciated (looking at you Iowa State) Dan McCarney as head coach makes a huge difference. Despite the competitive uptick, don’t expect it to be enough to overcome Tevin Coleman and the Hoosiers run game, let alone IU’s passing attack. Look for a nice win streak heading in to the majority of Big Ten play.
Oct. 11 – at Iowa: LOSS
Sorry to say this Hoosiers fans, but that two-game win streak will be gone in a hurry. Iowa has a chance to be a major player in the Big Ten West and with this game at home it should be favored to win. Iowa’s defensive front is one of the better in the Big Ten, and it will provide the Hoosiers offensive line all it can handle. Look for the defense to be enough to slow down Indiana’s high-flying attack and get a bigger than the score indicates victory, somewhere around 35-24.
Oct. 18 – vs. Michigan State: LOSS
The nice part of Indiana’s schedule is that it gets a few of the big games at home this season, too bad one of them happens to be against defending B1G champs, Michigan State. It’s an all-around nightmare of a matchup on paper, but recent history suggests these two teams are closer than you’d think. IU lost 42-28 last season, but it kept the game within a score until the fourth quarter. This game has the potential to be an upset given MSU will be looking ahead to games against Michigan and Ohio State, but the Hoosiers just aren’t up to the task yet.
Nov. 1 – at Michigan: LOSS
Looking in to the crystal ball this far in to the season for Michigan is a difficult task. On the one hand Devin Gardner and the passing game appear to have plenty of talent in them, but on the other the run game could be a major let down. What makes the difference in favor of U-M in this one is a defense that goes vastly underrated and under appreciated thanks to an offense that has stole the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Don’t look for a repeat of the crazy 63-47 scoreline we saw last season.
Nov. 8 – vs. Penn State: WIN
By this point in time Indiana is due for a win, and by this point in time Penn State is due to find out why its concerns about depth were well founded. While the Nittany Lions have some great starting pieces all over the place, history tells us some of those pieces are going to break down. Having this game at home also is a good reason to think Indiana gets off its now three game losing streak. So is last season’s 44-24 beat down at Memorial Stadium. Look for more of that to happen in 2014.
Nov. 15 – at Rutgers: LOSS
Rutgers is probably on the bottom looking up in the Big Ten East, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be competitive. Considering the cross-division games with Nebraska and Wisconsin, this is going to be the Scarlet Knights’ best opportunity to pull off a win in its first Big Ten season. For some reason, under Wilson, this team doesn’t play very well on the road and that makes this game ripe for the picking. So does a Rutgers front seven that is very underrated. Look for Piscataway to hit the food trucks hard after winning a first conference game.
Nov. 22 – at Ohio State: LOSS
The Big Ten East rears its ugly head with Indiana having to go to Ohio State in hopes of securing a bowl game. Sorry Hoosier faithful, it ain’t going to happen. You could take Braxton Miller, Noah Spence and Joe Bosa all out of this game and the Buckeyes would still have the talent to stay on the level of Indiana in my book. Look for this game to be a bit closer than the expected odds will have it though.
Nov. 29 – vs. Purdue: WIN
What better way to clinch your first bowl appearance since 2007 than by doing so against your bitter rivals? Indiana hosts Purdue looking to start a multi-game win streak in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket for the first time since 1993-94. It will happen as Indiana shows it’s mettle after a tough Big Ten season’s worth of lessons on defense. Also, quite frankly the talent gap on the offensive side of the ball is rather large. Congrats, Hoosiers, you’re going bowling!
Overall Record: 6-6
Big Ten Record: 3-5
Indiana Hoosiers 2018 Season Review: The good, the bad and the ugly
The bowl games are known, the College Football Playoff committee continues to screw with the Big Ten and programs across the country are in reflection mode.
So, we’ll join them in taking a look back at the 2018 season in-depth. That starts with an honest assessment of the good, the bad and the ugly that took place this year.
For the Indiana Hoosiers, there’s no bowl game like many were thinking would happen. So, that means the time for reflection in certainly now.
What happened to a season many thought would see the Hoosiers head to a bowl game? A disappointing 5-7 campaign is what happened and we’ll try to get to the bottom of the why here for you.
Need we say more? Probably not, but let us expound on the breakout star of the season for the Hoosiers.
Scott finished the year 4th in the Big Ten in rushing, racking up 1,137 yards on 228 carries with 10 rushing touchdowns to his name as well.
Just how vital was Scott to the Hoosiers success? His 228 carries were the second-most of any running back in the Big Ten this year. Imagine where Indiana would be without him? It’s a frightening thought.
Indiana’s next step can’t come without a better defensive performance. This was supposed to be the strength of the head coach, but you can make a really solid argument that since becoming the head man the defense has taken a turn for the worse.
No example of that is better than the lack of production from the Hoosiers pass defense.
Indiana finished 11th in the Big Ten in pass defense, giving up an average of 240.6 yards per game. That’s a massive drop from last season, were IU was 4th in the Big Ten last year in passing defense, giving up just 179.7 yards per game.
You may be able to chalk some of it up to players who were off to the NFL or the real world thanks to graduation, but this is a program that should be building enough depth to sustain a loss or two at any position. Losing one Rashad Fant shouldn’t mean the entire group gives way.
This was also a pass defense that gave up a B1G-worst 27 passing touchdowns to just 13 interceptions on the season. Something has to change here given the pass-happy offenses that permeate the Big Ten East division these days.
Earlier on we mentioned the name Stevie Scott. One could argue he was the only good piece of news for this offense in 2018.
Ignore the fact that Indiana’s pass game was third in the conference by the numbers (and yes, I’m a numbers guy). Were those numbers because of pure quality or quantity? Indiana also finished third in the B1G in passing attempts on the year as well.
The Hoosiers also complied just 257.8 yards per game through the air with Peyton Ramsey at quarterback. Indiana was also third in the league in passing offense last season, but averaged just about 10 yards per game more.
In fact, the analytical numbers bare the fact that it was really the run game that was the difference this year. With a solid run game, the Hoosiers offense went from 98th to 72nd in the country in S&P+ offensive rankings.
While Ramsey threw for more than 2,800 yards this year, he also had a touchdown to interception ratio of 19 to 13 — not exactly killing it.
It is a bit baffling because it isn’t like there is a dearth of talent at wide receiver or anything. Names like Simmie Cobbs and Nick Westbrook are quality receivers that most teams would love to have in the mix.
Neither of those names were the one to lead the team in receptions either and only one of the teams receivers finished in the top 10 of the conference in receptions and that was Luke Timian, who had 46 receptions for just 422 yards and not a single touchdown.
That should tell you all you need to know about how misleading the passing game stats were for the Hoosiers in 2018.
Growth from the passing game is needed if this offense and this team want to get back to a bowl game. We’ll see if they have that ability in 2019, as it’s a make-or-break year for head coach Tom Allen.
*all stats courtesy of CFBstats.com unless otherwise noted.
Predicting the 2018 Indiana Hoosiers season game-by-game
As the 2018 college football season enters the first real week, it’s time to lay everything on the line for the Indiana Hoosiers. For us at talking10 that means it’s time to go game-by-game and give you how we see the season playing out.
The annual tradition continues, but with a new twist. This year we’re going video format as we re-launch our YouTube page. So, how does our talking10 kingpin, Andrew Coppens, see the 2018 Indiana Hoosiers season playing out?
Let’s take a look:
Don’t forget to subscribe to the talking10 YouTube page. We’ll have video breakdowns and commentary all throughout the 2018 football season. You don’t want to miss it.
Can Illinois or Indiana’s QB change spark either program?
We’ve nearly hit the halfway point for some teams in the Big Ten, and that means time for plenty of reflection. Two programs have done plenty of that over the past week, as both Illinois and Indiana have gone in different directions with their starting quarterbacks.
Earlier this week, Illinois announced that Jeff George Jr. would be the starter. It was a move few didn’t see coming given the anemic production of the Illini offense with Chayce Crouch at quarterback.
Indiana wasn’t far behind, as head coach Tom Allen revealed redshirt freshman Peyton Ramsey would become the sole quarterback to play going forward. It ended four weeks of a two-quarterback system in place.
Both decisions seems smart on paper, but which one will make the biggest impact on their team?
Case For Peyton Ramsey:
Sometimes you win the job out of necessity and some times you win the job because you’ve outplayed everyone else. For me, the latter is true for Ramsey.
One of the most undertold stories of this season has been Indiana’s struggles in the pass game. Everyone saw them carve up Ohio State’s defense for over a half and assumed all was good. Well, Lagow has been ineffective and Ramsey has added a different dimension to an offense trying to find an identity.
To date, Ramsey has split time with Lagow in four games. He’s completed 60.4 percent of his pass (besting Lagow’s 56.3 mark) for 316 yards (6.6 yards per attempt, compared to 6.4 for Lagow). In just 48 attempts this season, Ramsey has equaled Lagow’s TD number at 4, while throwing just one interception.
Throws like this one to Simmie Cobbs for an 18-yard TD is the spark and kind of performance Ramsey can produce:
With an offensive line in flux, Lagow’s immobility has shown to be a big issue. He’s got the arm, but it really isn’t any good when you are under pressure and can’t move? Lagow’s got minus-30 yards on the season, meanwhile Ramsey is second on the team with 117 yards on 34 carries in his limited time on the field. That’s good production for a team searching to get back to the wild offensive numbers they are used to putting up.
A spark is needed, but so is consistency more than anything. Ramsey provides both and for a Hoosiers team that has a ton of talent around him, this should be the calming influence needed to help this team get to a bowl game.
That’s especially the case when you notice how Allen and his teammates respond to his mentality on and off the field.
“It’s more collective. It was really just this game. It was more of a buildup over time,” Allen said earlier this week, via Indiana’s Scout website. “We love both guys, awesome people. … There’s just a grit to (Ramsey), a toughness to him. He’s got a linebacker mentality to how he works.”
Case for Jeff George Jr.:
Illinois is in the middle of a youth movement on both sides of the
George also isn’t a first time starter. He played starter last season, being inserted in to the toughest of road situations possible — a freshman on the road at Michigan. That experience can be helpful for sure, and something George Jr. brought up in talking to the media this week.
“I’m excited to go out there and try to make something happen and try to get this offense rolling. I think I can do my part,” George Jr. said, via IlliniInquirer. “I feel like I know how tough it is to win a game. We went through some ups and some downs last year and now nothing is new.”
There’s also the fact that it did seem as if his connection with the likes of Malik Turner, Mike Dudek and Co. was better than Crouch’s was.
Look, something had to happen, because with Crouch at QB the Illini offense became as one-dimensional as Minnesota’s offense often was with Mitch Leidner behind center the past two years. It didn’t work well for the Gophers, and with a defense still figuring out who it is for the Illini, that would’ve been disastrous the rest of the way.
This is also a great opportunity to showcase George Jr. against the toughest of competition. He’ll go up against a schedule that includes Northwestern, Ohio State and Wisconsin still to go.
Head coach Love Smith seems to be going with a sink or swim mentality to this team — pushing younger players to the brink to see if they respond or fold. Putting George out there as the starter the rest of the way is more of that, and it may be that the rest of his teammates respond to that idea more than they did with Crouch.
Final Verdict: Peyton Ramsey
This one is easy for me. Ramsey has more weapons to work with in the form of wide receivers like Simmie Cobbs and Luke Timian in the fold. He also has a decent running back in freshman Morgan Elison, who is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and has 310 yards in four games so far this season.
As for Jeff George Jr.? Sure, he’s got the same freshman running back with potential as Indiana does, but he’s not set up for success like Ramsey is. Mike Dudek is a weapon and Malik Turner can be good…but Turner has also been inconsistent to say the least.
George also has a bigger body of work, and that body of work suggests a pretty average quarterback at best. He’s completing just 43.1 percent of his passes for 681 yards and five touchdowns to seven interceptions in five games played in his career.
Call me crazy, but those numbers don’t inspire me.
Let’s see who can play better, but if there’s someone who has already shown the ability to succeed under pressure, that has been Ramsey. I’ll take his numbers, situation and moxie over George any day of the week.
Indiana Hoosiers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Preview: Welcome to the Big Ten in Week 1
The 2017 season kicks off with a Big Ten matchup for the first time in years. Join us as we preview the Buckeyes vs. Hoosiers.
When: Thurs., Aug. 31; 8pm ET
Where: Bloomington, Ind.; Memorial Stadium (52,929)
All-Time Series: Ohio State leads 72-12-5
Last Meeting: Ohio State win 38-17 (2016)
Welcome officially to the 2017 college football season my fellow Big Ten nuts out there. There couldn’t be a more perfect way to start the season than by hitting the ground running with some B1G football, and that is exactly what we get on Thursday night as the Ohio State Buckeyes and Indiana Hoosiers collide in Bloomington, Ind.
This game may not be a marquee matchup, but it is a Big Ten game and there are plenty of storylines all around this one. We’ve got ex-Indiana head coach turned Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson against his old team. We’ve got two quarterbacks with a lot to prove entering their senior seasons and a whole cast of new characters on the Buckeyes sideline.
We’ll start to get answers to a lot of big questions, but let’s kick our preview off with a look at the most burning question entering this game.
1 Burning Question: What offenses will we really see?
Indiana and Ohio State provide plenty of intrigue, you know, with the whole Kevin Wilson as co-OC vs. his old team and all that. But, the biggest question burning in my mind is just what both offenses will actually look like in Week 1.
Will the Hoosiers keep the offense that Wilson laid the foundation for or will we see some wrinkles? What about Wilson’s influence on Urban Meyer’s power-run version of the spread offense. That isn’t exactly Wilson’s cup of tea and it appears that the passing game is going to be critical to success for the Buckeyes in 2017.
So, if you’re watching this game, keep a close on just how different or not these offenses are for the 2016 versions we saw. Whichever one either adjusts best or executes the old version best is likely to come away the winner on Thursday night.
2 Key Stats
21: That is Ohio State’s current winning streak against the Hoosiers.
Ohio State has beaten up on a lot of teams over the years, but few have been beaten up as bad as the Hoosiers have been. Even with the resurgences of the IU program to respectability, it hasn’t changed the fact that they can’t seem to beat the Buckeyes ever. Indiana’s last win in the series came back in 1988, a 41-7 beat down of the Buckeyes. Why is that relevant to this game? Well, that win also took place in Bloomington, Ind. and a 21-game win streak is long for anyone, including the Buckeyes.
152.2: That was Indiana’s rushing average per game in 2016.
It also happens to be a low-water mark for a program that became one of the Big Ten’s best rushing attacks over the course of the previous three seasons. Last season showed that the depth that was once there had become depleted. Even with 1,000-yard rusher Devine Redding in the mix, the Hoosiers slipped to 11th in the Big Ten in rushing. While the passing attack will always get the big attention, the silent and deadly run game needs to return in Bloomington for the Hoosiers to have success.
3 Key Players
Mike Majette, RB (Indiana): Why is a guy you’ve likely never heard of so vital to the cause for the Hoosiers? Well, one of the best-kept secrets to the Hoosiers rise under Kevin Wilson was the ability of the run game. From 2013 to 2015, the Hoosiers ranked no worse that fourth in the Big Ten in rushing offense. Last season saw a dramatic falloff as Jordan Howard left for the NFL draft and the Hoosiers were just 11th in the Big Ten in rushing. Majette played in just eight games, but put up a healthy 4.6 yards per carry in his sophomore season. If the Hoosiers want to win tonight, Majette needs to be a star and right now, that is a big question mark.
J.T. Barrett, QB (Ohio State): If you would’ve told me that we haven’t seen J.T. Barrett win a Heisman Trophy following his freshman season, I would’ve thought you were crazy. Yet, Barrett hasn’t lived up to the potential shown in his first season. Now, we have Barrett working with a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. All the talk this offseason has been how Barrett can improve as a pocket passer and as a true dual-threat quarterback. Will Wilson’s influence on the offense be a spark for Barrett or has he hit a ceiling? With Indiana’s improving defense, he will be tested tonight.
Damon Arnette, CB (Ohio State): Sometimes there is nothing like being thrown in to the deep end of the pool. While Arnette got game action in his freshman season — making 21 tackles and picking off one ball — there’s a difference between being a bit player and “the guy.” Arnette steps in to starters role for the first time and he’ll likely have the biggest test of the season going against quality names like Simmie Cobbs, Nick Westbrook and Donavan Hale. Can he pass this test early on? If not, it could be dangerous news for the Buckeyes hopes in 2017.
The Buckeyes defensive line is scary good, but the rest of the team is a bit suspect in terms of experience heading in to the opener. While there is a ton of potential and recruiting talent, let’s see it on the field. Personally, I believe the OSU defense has a scare put in to them for the first half of the game at the very least. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Hoosiers putting up 17 points in the first half before being shut down after adjustments are made at halftime.
This will be best Memorial Stadium atmosphere ever: Perhaps atmosphere and Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. don’t always go hand-in-hand (unless you’re talking about one of the worst in the Big Ten).
Score: Ohio State 34, Indiana 17 (Listen here for more on the game).