Written by Amanda Pavelka (@AmandaPavelka3)
Much like Indiana’s season-opening game against Ball State, a victory is expected against Eastern Illinois in the Hoosiers’ home-opener on Saturday. It is not a just a win that makes the team successful, though. Here are keys to a satisfactory victory against the Eastern Illinois Panthers.
Don’t sleep on defense
Indiana’s defense had a rather lackluster performance against the Cardinals— with a disappointing 25 missed tackles. Along with unacceptable penalties, this lost the Hoosiers yardage in a game that allowed for it. Every yard counts, and against their Big Ten opponents, the Hoosiers cannot afford misses they did last Saturday. Consider Saturday’s matchup another live tackle practice— one they need to take seriously as their battles only get tougher.
Catch the football
Pass catching was a struggle last Saturday—too many missed catches held the Hoosiers back from their potential in Mike Penix’s first game as starting quarterback. What could have been a blowout ended up a 10-point victory, and against EIU, the receivers will be expected to minimize mistakes.
Ramp up the run game
Running backs seemed nonexistent in the first half against Ball State. Stevie Scott stepped it up in the second half, but Mike Penix led the Hoosier rushing game. That’s unacceptable going forward. There is too much talent at that position for them to be silent on the stats sheet.
Gain bench experience
Coaching staff pinpointed problems with tackling, receiving, and the running game between the postgame press conference and Monday’s meeting with the media. If they did their job, the Hoosiers should establish dominance early on enough to rotate through the roster. Nearly every man should have a chance to see the field on Saturday.