Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
The Indiana Hoosiers are coming off an impressive defensive performance, where they held a high-powered Missouri offense that was averaging nearly 42 points per game to just 27 points. They were aggressive and energetic in an effort that saw the unit rack up 11 tackles for loss. Saturday’s matchup pits the IU defense against an offense that is very similar to Missouri. So sit back, relax and enjoy the three keys to victory for the Hoosiers on defense.
1. Get Pressure on CJ Brown- The Maryland quarterback is very good with his arm and his legs, but the Hoosiers can force the Terrapins away from their strength by following the blue print from the win over Missouri. Yes, Brown is their leading rusher, but the biggest concern for the Hoosiers should be the Terrapin receivers. If IU can once again bring pressure with the line and linebackers it will force Brown into bad throws. He does have three interceptions on the season. Brown will be similar to Maty Mauk and look to scramble at the first sign of trouble. A couple early big plays for the IU defense will set the tone for the rest of the day.
2. Contain Stefon Diggs- Diggs was pegged to be a dark horse in the race for Big Ten offensive player of the year. He leads the Terrapins in receiving yards and can be a game breaker in the kicking game. The responsibility of containing this playmaker will likely fall into the hands of corner Tim Bennett and safeties Mark Murphy and Antonio Allen. Under no circumstances can they let Diggs get behind them for big plays.
3. Engage the Crowd- We have all heard and seen the commercials that implore Hoosier fans that crowds win games. Well, they do help win games. The best way for the defense to create a hostile environment is to make a big play and get the Hoosier faithful roaring early. Nothing fires a big crowd up like an early turnover or a big hit. The Terrapins have played in some big environments, but this is their first road trip in the Big Ten. The defense must be out for blood early and often.