Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
The Hoosiers managed a meager three points last week at Wisconsin, their lowest out put since 2011. This week Indiana faces third ranked Ohio State in Columbus, and must put the debacle against Wisconsin behind them. The good news is that the Hoosiers should be able to score more than a field goal this weekend. Let’s touch on some keys to victory for the Indiana offense.
1. Take care of the Ball- In last week’s loss to the Badgers the Hoosiers turned the ball over twice and mishandled a whole bunch of snaps. People may blame it on the weather or a good defense, both of which are correct, but the Hoosiers were also just sloppy. Sudfeld looked lost from the get go bobbling a few snaps before lobbing a ball into the wind that turned into an interception. Houston and Roberson also put the ball on the ground. For the Hoosiers to steal a win in Columbus for the first time since 1987 those things cannot happen. The Buckeye defense will let up some big plays, however they thrive off turnovers and have some star power who will force turnovers. The forecast is not great for Saturday, it does change every few hours it seems, so hopefully this coaching staff threw in a few wet ball drills this week.
2. Take What the Buckeyes Give You- Once again referring back to last week, the Hoosiers looked OK for the first 4 plays, they utilized the short pass and run to get across the 50 and then forced a poor throw down field and the rest is history. Indiana cannot force the deep throws against the teams that are trying to take them away. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld has shown that he does not have the accuracy on the road to hit open receivers more than 20 yards down field. The Hoosiers don’t have to force things deep in order to win Saturday, work underneath, get the defense to move up and then go for a home run ball.
3. Score First- Seems to be a key every week, and in two of their first three road contests the Hoosiers have put up the first points and ended up losing. Given that the defense probably won’t stop this Buckeye offense much, it is imperative for the offense to come out on fire and get that leg up. It would be even better if the Hoosier offense can jump out to a two score lead and make the Buckeyes throw the ball more than they want.
The Hoosiers have a great opportunity this week on national television to change the nation’s perception of them. Beat the Buckeyes and heads will turn. The offense cannot lay another egg like last week, they must at least be competitive against a Buckeye team who allowed 35 points at Illinois last week. Tevin Coleman is a long shot to play, so Houston and Roberts will have to pick up his slack. The bowl hopes of Indiana rest on whether or not this offense is ready to go up against a national title contender on the road.