Who, When, Where: The Hoosiers meet the Scarlet Knight at high noon in High Point on Saturday. BTN’s Wayne Randazzo and J Leman have the call. Recent history (which also pretty much encompasses all the history between these two teams) has not been kind to the Hoosiers. The first meeting was a Nate Sudfeld-less Hoosiers squad putting up a game fight on the back of 300+ yards rushing by Tevin Coleman, but ultimately being overwhelmed by the lack of a passing game and defense. Last year, Sudfeld was healthy, but the Indiana defense was..... subpar, to put it nicely. A fourth quarter comeback for the ages left Indiana 0-2 against the Knights, a record they look to change in 2016.
Big Men on Campus: We’ll give Tegray Scales his obligatory mention for defense, but the offense finally got going against Maryland, so they get a big shout out here. 5 different Hoosiers scored a rushing touchdown against the Terps, and three of those same Hoosiers went over 100 yards rushing in the game as well. (Diamont, Natee, Redding, Lagow, and Paige scored, and the first three were the 100 yard rushers.) We’ll see if they can keep those kinds of numbers going, but for one week at least, something went right.
Zuzu’s Notes on Rutgers: Rutgers has had 2 weeks to prepare. The team captains have gone on record saying that it's time to get stuff done and they believe our last 4 games are very winnable. Rutgers will have a home field advantage as fans will likely flock to this game since we've beaten Indiana twice in the past, noon or not to try and glimpse that elusive Rutgers win.
Our offense was much more successful when Rescigno was the quarterback and spreading the ball out amongst receivers. Doing this allowed us to actually score in the Minnesota game. A healthy Gio (last game he pulled his hamstring) can pass AND run, so Indiana would need to be wary of both possibilities. Our defense recorded some solid stops in our last outing. Look for Patton, Jawuan Harris, Rescigno, Pinnix-Odrick, and Tariq Cole, who was named as the most underrated player in the Big Ten by Land of 10.
How This Game Will Go During Basketball Season: There will only be one meeting between these teams during the regular season, and it will be in Assembly Hall. The only saving grace for Rutgers might be the lack of IU students, depending on whether or not winter break lasts that long. It’s also possible that this might be the first game back from break for the students, in which case they’ll be rowdy. Either way, it probably doesn’t end well for the Scarlet Knights.
Prediction: This is the year where the unthinkable is becoming commonplace. I’d like to believe that this is a game Indiana should win easily, but I could have (and probably did) say that last year as well, and look how that turned out. Call it paranoia if you must, but I think this is going to be a close game, which probably doesn’t mean good things for the Hoosiers. Won’t stop me from saying IU wins 31-24, but I say that with not much confidence in the scoreline.
Next Week: Penn State comes to Bloomington. That one thing I can definitively say about the game is that it isn’t a rivalry game.