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Indiana in the Buff with Mr. Komodo: Marry the Land?

I don’t have a good pun for this one.

One of the 7 sacks I assume.
Marc Lebryk, USA TODAY Sports

Faithful readers, we arrive back here once again. It’s time for the weekly Indiana Hoosiers football preview piece here at Off Tackle Empire. I know few things really get your blood pumping like previewing a middling football team, so I’m here to give you a maximum effort piece today.

Indiana plays the Maryland Terrapins this weekend. This is one of 4 winnable games left on this schedule for the Hoosier team. Having already pissed away a game against Nebraska, this is a game the Hoosiers all but need to get.

But wait, isn’t Maryland good? Well allow me to do to Maryland what everyone else does to Indiana when Indiana has a good year…”WhO hAs MaRyLaNd BeAt? ThEy HaVeN’t BeAt AnYoNe ThAt’S AnY GuD.”

Now that I’ve got that out of my sys…ThE mArYlAnD Qb’S bRoThEr Is TuA tAgOvAiLoA wHo PlAyEd At AlAbAmA aNd Is In ThE nFl. (Also, best wishes and speedy recovery)

Whoops. Didn’t get that one out either. Anyway, it’s Maryland week. Let’s crack this nut before Indiana cracks mine.

History

Look at that!
  • Indiana leads this series 7-3. I’m sure that will change with time.
  • Last year, Indiana lost a shootout 38-35 last year at Maryland to essentially end all effort from the team last season.
  • Indiana was the first B1G game Maryland played in 2014. I was there. It was not fun for Indiana.
  • Maryland has not won 2 in a row in this matchup yet. I expect that to change on Saturday.

RECYCLED Fun Facts

  • Jim Henson graduated from Maryland. So…that’s neat.
  • So did Scott Van Pelt.
  • Maryland has 92 undergrad majors.

What I’m Watching For

1) Can the O-Line function literally at all?

Tom Allen fired the o-line coach Darren Hiller on Sunday. To be quite honest, it was a long time coming. The offensive line was a strength of the Hoosiers under Kevin Wilson and since Day 1 of the Tom Allen era it has deteriorated because of a) Tom Allen himself but also b) Darren Hiller. There’s been debate on this move believe it or not. Not because firing Hiller was the wrong move, but because you should have probably made this move….in fucking November when you launched Sheridan into the stratosphere. Now Indiana turns to Rod Carey, former Northern Illinois and Temple head coach. Not a bad substitution here, but what kinds of changes can be made in the season from an offensive line coach? From what I can gather, this move is largely symbolic at this moment as not much change can be made to offensive lines in the season. So can the line function any better than it has recently? We’ll see.

2) How full will Memorial Stadium be?

The answer is “not very.” That said, there were a hefty amount of students there last week much to my surprise. As the season continues to deteriorate, I expect the home field advantage to reduce further. With a 3:30 kickoff and relatively good weather, there could be some fans.

To be honest, fan attendance only matter because it shows the buzz around the program. When people are excited, they attend games. When people lose interest, they do not attend games. Indiana has had a real drop off in interest over the past year and a half and I’m really just interested to see how far the administration lets it slide before a move is made larger than an o-line coach. So how packed will the rock be? We’ll see.

3) Can Indiana pull out of the death spiral?

This is known as the death spiral. For basketball fans, think of this as February for the Hoosiers. Indiana is in desperate need of a couple wins. Those couple wins would do wonders to set the Hoosiers up to make a bowl and behold, these next two games are considered winnable. Not favorited, but winnable. i.e. we aren’t playing Ohio State in the next two weeks so you’re saying there’s a chance. These next two weeks will essentially make or break this season even though you could argue the Nebraska game did break it. Anywho, can Indiana get out of this death spiral? We’ll see.

Never Gonna Give You Up

Look, I know rooting for Indiana football is bad for my health. I know this. I just can’t stay away. Firing Darren Hiller isn’t going to turn a switch for this team either. It’s like changing the air freshener in the bathroom…it still smells like shit in there.

The real test here is whether or not you believe that Indiana is capable of competing in Big Ten football games. They have a win over a Top 25 team this season in Illinois, so they’re capable of something. Can they actually recapture that magic? Pull a win out against a fairly decent Maryland team? We’ll see. It is October Maryland we’re dealing with here.

Game Time: 10/15 – 3:30 PM EST – ESPN2