Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
It’s Game day Hoosier Nation! Another college football Saturday is upon us and this week provides a huge statement game for the Indiana Hoosiers as they face-off against the Missouri Tigers. Coming off a 42-10 victory over Bowling Green, a game in which the defense did not allow an offensive touchdown. The defense is not without question though. Missouri is the toughest test the Hoosiers are going to face in the non-conference slate. Here are three keys for the Indiana defense to try and slow down this powerful Missouri offense.
1. Make James Franklin One Dimensional- The Missouri quarterback can beat teams with both his legs and his arms. Franklin is finally healthy after an injury riddled 2012 campaign. The senior has completed 67% of his passes for 530 yards and four touchdowns. To go along with his impressive passing statistics Franklin has rushed for 121 yards in the first two games. The Hoosier defense cannot stop both aspects of Franklin’s game, however they if Indiana can shut down his running lanes and make him throw the ball the defense will have a shot to limit the explosive Mizzou offense.
2. Get off the Field- While the Hoosier defense did not break against Bowling Green, they did give up a ton of yards and had trouble getting off the field. The Hoosiers need to improve their third down defense and force the Tigers to turn the ball over. Indiana has only forced four turnovers in three games this season, so it’s not like the Hoosiers are a great takeaway team. The Hoosiers need the ball on offense as much as possible to give their defense a rest and have the opportunity to put points on the board.
3. Fast Start- The Rock should be jumping tonight and the Hoosier defense needs to feed off that energy. Getting a few stops early will keep that energy up and give the Hoosiers a shot at getting out to a lead early. This means big plays, some hard hits, and maybe a turnover or two in the first quarter. Hoosier Nation is just waiting to explode for this team and if the defense can give them something to cheer for early the Hoosiers can control this game.