Written By: Nick Holmes (@HoosierHolmes)
While there is the old phrase ‘lies, d*mned lies, and statistics, I am one, who in my day-to-day life and in sports relies heavily on numbers and statistics. While sports are played between the boundary lines on the gridiron, hardwood, field and pitch, a lot can be garnered by taking a look at numbers, potentially shining some light on a team’s tendencies or patterns. That’s why beginning today, Hoosier Huddle will be bringing you a weekly look at those numbers and statistics that could have a bearing on the outcome of their upcoming game. There are plenty of things that could be included, so this is far from an exhaustive list. Let me know in the comments below what numbers you believe could be a telltale sign of things to come this weekend.
2-0 - Both the Hoosiers and Hilltoppers are sitting at 2-0 on the season and will be looking to extend their unbeaten streaks this weekend. Both of Indiana’s victories have come inside of Memorial Stadium and Western Kentucky won their season opener on the road. Whoever comes out victorious will be halfway to bowl eligibility.
347 – Yards per game the Hoosiers are giving up through the air, which is 121 best out of 127 FBS teams. We’ve said all along that this team would likely struggle against the pass this fall, at least early on due to the youth in the secondary. Although, after giving up 411 yards to Southern Illinois in game one, the Hoosiers did hold Florida International to just 283 passing yards this past weekend. While still not ideal, at least they are trending in the right direction.
441 – After a quiet week one for the Hilltoppers’ passing attack, Brandon Doughty and his talented wide receiving corps got the aerial show back on track against Louisiana Tech last week, throwing for 441 yards on 28-38 passing. Doughty will try to take advantage of the Hoosiers young, albeit improving secondary.
+4 – Through two games the Hoosiers are a plus four in turnover margin. In the season opener the defense recovered two fumbles, both forced by Marcus Oliver. Against Florida International the defense recovered two fumbles and had a pick six. Nate Sudfeld did get picked off by the Panthers. However, it served the purpose of a punt, as it was thrown on a third and ten and picked deep in FIU territory.
8 – How many days the Hilltoppers will have had to prepare for the Hoosiers after playing their last game on Thursday, September 10. FIU also had an extra two days, however, as we all know, that had little bearing on the outcome of the game.
183 – Jordan Howard put up 183 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries against WKU last fall as a member of UAB, both schools are/were in Conference USA. Howard looks poised to have another big game against the Hilltoppers. Which brings us to our next number on the list.
304 – Total yards gained on the ground in two games by junior running back Howard, fifth best in the FBS. The Hoosiers could greatly increase their chances of winning by slowing the game and having long, methodical drives and reducing the number of possessions Hilltoppers will have on Saturday.
3 – Number of times WKU QB Doughty has been sacked so far this season, which is tied for 45 best in the nation. Doughty isn’t a very mobile quarterback, so the Hoosiers will really need to find a way to get pressure on the veteran gunslinger.
11- After recording zero pass deflections or break ups against Southern Illinois, the Hoosiers defense bounced back in a big way by breaking up 11 passes against Florida International. Doughty is going to be flinging the ball all around the gridiron on Saturday, aside from getting a hand on the quarterback, the best chance the Hoosiers have of slowing down their passing attack is getting a hand on the passes before they have a chance to get to the talented Hilltopper wide receivers.
2,1 – Number of votes received by Western Kentucky in the AP Top 25 Poll and the Amway Coaches Poll, respectively.
50 – Percentage chance of precipitation during the game. Rainy games generally favor those teams that can establish a downhill running attack, something the Hoosiers put on display the last two weeks.