Written by Amanda Pavelka (@amandapavelka3)
Coming off their disappointing loss to Ohio State, the Indiana football squad hopes to turn around defensive woes to hold Connecticut back from surprising them at home. Here’s what the Hoosiers need to do to put away the Huskies and proceed to Spartan land with an appeasing 3-1 record.
1. Establish a running game
This has been said all season long, and here we are three games down with no real ability to run the ball effectively. Indiana’s run game sits at the bottom of the Big Ten, third worst in yards per carry with 3.1 and second worst with only 101 yards per game.
Stevie Scott’s had a surprisingly quiet sophomore season, and is the only IU player in the top 30, at No. 20 for rushing in the conference, with 37 carries for 118 yards, an average of 3.2 yards per carry. Last year Scott averaged 5 yards per carry, and 94.8 yards per game, a rushing game Indiana struggles to accomplish as an entire team this season.
Mike Penix comes in at No. 31 with 9 carries for 79 yards, an 8.8 average.
Pointing the finger does not solve the problem. The offensive linemen have to do their job and the running backs need to be ready to run. If they cannot run up some good numbers on UConn, there’s no reason to believe they could on the rest of the season’s tough opponents.
In the words of defensive coordinator Kane Wommack: “Enough is enough.”
Tom Allen counted 11 missed tackles and 16 guys that missed a tackle against Ohio State. A lesser blow than the 25 missed tackles in the home opener against Ball State, but still a tremendous issue. It is CRUCIAL that Hoosier defense makes a statement on Saturday. A win is not just a win against a team like Connecticut. Indiana needs to hold the Huskies to 17 or less for a victory over UConn to be satisfactory.
“The UConn game is the most important game because it’s the next one.” Allen preaches focusing on the here and now. Nothing can be done about last week’s loss to OSU, and the best way to move on from it is to pocket a “W” against their next opponent. With or without Penix, the Hoosiers are capable to shut down UConn, and they need to go in with the mindset that they will do just that.