Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
When the Indiana Hoosiers take the field at noon on Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium, the only number that will matter to them is five. Kevin Wilson’s team wants to leave New Jersey with win number five and that is all that matters, but here are some numbers that will play a role in whether or not IU can grab that fifth W.
10- Tom Allen has been preaching the importance of takeaways to his defense since the minute he was hired at Indiana. The Hoosier defense will have their chance at the ball this week as the Scarlet Knight offense is extremely susceptible to fumbles. So far in 2016 Rutgers has put the ball on the ground 15 times with 10 of those fumbles recovered by an opposing player. In addition to the fumbles, Rutgers has thrown five interceptions to push their giveaway total to 15. If the Hoosiers cannot reach Allen’s goal of three takeaways per game Saturday it would be a slight disappointment.
100- Getting off to a good start could define who wins this game and Rutgers does not get off the blocks very quickly. The Scarlet Knights have given up 100 first quarter points this season while scoring only 17. The Hoosiers should be able to jump out to a lead, possibly a big one, early and dictate how the rest of the game is played.
261.1- We said last week that Maryland had a slumping run defense and that IU should be able to be successful against it. Well, Rutgers’ rush defense is worse. They are giving up 261.1 yards per game on the ground this season. The Hoosiers once again should be able to open up holes and run the football, especially with Dan Feeney getting more and more into playing shape. Will we see the “Bacon-n-Legs” package as much this weekend? Maybe, it was really effective. However, Rutgers should have a scheme to stop it, so it will be the Hoosiers turn to adjust. Even without the wrinkles IU should be able to establish a ground game with Redding, Natee, Devonte Williams, and hopefully Mike Majette.
21- Our “Matchup to Watch” this week was between the Hoosier pass rushers and the Rutgers offensive line. It’ll be vital for IU to put pressure on the young Rutgers quarterback and force some poor throws. Rutgers has given up 21 sacks in their eight games this season, so the opportunity will be there to bring down the quarterback.
39- Hoosier fans have been complaining, and rightfully so, about their team’s lack of success in the red zone (scoring touchdowns on just 46 percent of their trips). However, it could be worse and Rutgers is much worse. The Scarlet Knights have only reached the red zone 18 times all season and have scored just seven touchdowns. That’s 39 percent. Indiana will have to shut down the Rutgers offense inside the twenty and not give this team hope of a turnaround in that aspect of the game.
0-2- Indiana is 0-2 against Rutgers and fans all remember the debacle last season when the Scarlet Knights erased a 25-point lead and shocked Memorial Stadium 55-52 on homecoming. This should serve as a warning to the current Hoosier team that no lead is safe. If IU gets up big early, they need to keep the foot on the gas and keep tacking on points to their lead.