Inside the Numbers: Indiana Hoosiers at Virginia Cavaliers

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By David Sugarman (@David_Sugarman2)

Week one of college football is in the books and it did not disappoint. From Maryland taking down Texas to Michigan handling Florida it was an exciting opening weekend and we’re already hungry for more. This week Indiana starts their non-conference slate with their only power five opponent in this portion of the schedule, Virginia. Let’s take a look at the numbers that matter in this week’s Inside the Numbers.

1 - There are lots of stats I could put to show that IU’s running game was abysmal and ineffective against Ohio State. They only had 17 rushing yards total, only attempted 27 rushes to 68 passes, but there’s one that stands out. IU had 25 first downs and only one of them came from a run play. It shows that Indiana was putting themselves in a plethora of third and longs and were forced to throw the ball almost every time to the point where Richard Lagow broke an IU single game passing attempts record. Virginia isn’t Ohio State, but no matter who it is, the Hoosiers need to show more of a commitment to the run game. It will make them less one dimensional and keep Lagow’s turnovers down. If Indiana is willing to run the ball on first and second down more often, they should be able to get into some better third down situations and take pressure off of Lagow.

68 - Piggybacking off our last statistic, between Richard Lagow and Peyton Ramsey Indiana threw the football a mind boggling 68 times against Ohio State. They had success in the first half, but were one dimensional and if you throw the ball 68 times you’re bound to make a few mistakes. That happened to the tune of two interceptions and a sack fumble. We’re not fooling ourselves, this is a pass first team, but that doesn’t mean they can’t show a commitment to a run game.

Minus-3 - Tom Allen takeaways were a big part of Indiana’s success last season, but they got beat in the turnover battle badly against the Buckeyes. Ohio State scored 17 points on three turnovers while Indiana didn’t turn them over once and didn’t come all that close either. There wasn’t a badly dropped interception, no forced fumbles and there was almost no pressure on J.T. Barrett, just one sack, so the chances of a sack and strip or hurrying Barrett into a miscue were very low. Indiana needs to get after the quarterback and find ways to force turnovers which should be a little easier this week against Virginia, but hardly a given. Virginia didn’t turn the ball over in their opener, breaking their 42-game streak of having at least one turnover in a game.

10 - What made the Indiana passing attack so dangerous in week one, even without Nick Westbrook, is that Richard Lagow spread the wealth. Ten different receivers caught at least one pass and seven caught multiple. If they can pass like that against Ohio State they should be fine against a Virginia team that gave up the third most passing yards in the ACC a season ago.

72 - Now take it with a grain of salt because it was against William & Mary of the Colonial Athletic Association, but that Virginia secondary that struggled for much of last season gave up just 72 yards through the air last week. Granted William & Mary threw the ball just 13 times to begin with and as we saw in week one Indiana likes to sling it around just a little bit more than that. IU will be Virginia’s first test to see if their defense has made any real strides since last season.

2011 - It’s the last time Virginia had a winning season. Since then the most wins they’ve had in a season is five and they’ve had two 2-10 campaigns. Simply put this is a must win for Indiana and frankly it was always a must win. You can’t beat Ohio State then lose to Virginia and Indiana has no room to start 0-2 with the rest of the Big Ten East looming just a few weeks out. Indiana fans were more disappointed than mad at the Ohio State game and didn’t abandon this team because of the loss. A loss against the Cavaliers would leave a much different taste in the mouths of Hoosier fans.