With just a little over a month and a half until college football kicks off we decided it was as good a time as any to begin our series breaking down Indiana’s opponents for the 2013 football seasons. From here on out we will be previewing two games per week making sure that you are fully versed for each and every matchup of the season. So without further adieu…Opening Night!
Week 1: Indiana State Sycamores
Time & Date: 7 pm, Thursday, Aug. 29th
Venue: Memorial Stadium (Bloomington, IN)
TV: Big Ten Network
Sycamores at a Glance:
Head Coach: Mike Sanford (First Year)
Last Season: 7-4 (5-3)
Sycamore Returning Leaders:
Passing: Mike Perish (55.4%, 1615 Yds, 10 TD, 8 INT)
Rushing: Shakir Bell (1475 Yds, 5.5 Avg, 11 TD)
Receiving: Demory Lawshe (393 Yds, 12.7 Avg, 3 TD)
Preseason Magazine Predictions:
Sporting News: 5th in the Missouri Valley Conference
Why the Sycamores could win:
Sycamore running back Shakir Bell has the ability to shred a Big Ten caliber defense, as he did last year (192 Yards) when taking on the Hoosiers to the brink in their 24-17 loss.
As far as the Hoosiers helping Indiana State’s cause, continuity on special teams could be an issue in Week One, as it was back in 2012. Groza Award Watch List Kicker, Mitch Ewald, missed two of his three field goal attempts in that game. In addition, the Hoosier quarterback situation still being up in the air, finding stability under center could very well be a question that gets asked over and over again during the early part of the 2013 season.
Why They Won’t Pull it Off:
First and foremost Indiana has the clear talent advantage and the gap isn’t even close. Sure, the Sycamores have a few gems that they have unearthed, but if you break down the roster, especially where depth is concerned, it is no contest.
The Sycamores were able to come out and surprise Indiana with their level of play last year as the Hoosiers sleepwalked though the first half, leading to a 17-10 halftime lead for Indiana State. That will not be the case this time as Kevin Wilson and company will have a much easier time instilling the fact that this is not a complete walkover game.
This is also the first game under the new Mike Sanford regime for Indiana State. The Sycamores will be starting anew after Trent Miles, who lead them to three straight winning seasons, departed for Georgia State during the offseason.
While Indiana St returns much of its offensive talent from their successful 2012 campaign, it will be hard for the team not to miss a beat as their leadership at the top has changed hands. The biggest concern for the Sycamores should be Indiana’s potent offense, which has ten starters returning. It is rather unlikely that they will score just 24 points this time around.
I fully expect the Doug Mallory lead Hoosier defense to game plan around the running exploits of Shakir Bell and force Indiana State to beat them through the air. On offense don’t be surprised if two, or even all three of the quarterbacks in question for the job entering camp get some playing time. All three could prove to be effective with the loaded supporting cast that is around them at the skill positions.
While the Sycamores are an experienced bunch, they should be no match for Indiana when the two teams take the field to open the 2013 season. Even if Indiana is not firing on all cylinders, they should be able to pull this game out. If it does come together early for IU, this thing could get ugly quickly. The Hoosiers have bigger plans for this year than to just display improvement; they want to stake their claim to a bowl berth in year three under Wilson.