Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Home Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Head Coach: Kevin Wilson (5th season, 18-35)
Penn State leads series, 17-1
Last Season (4-8, 1-7 B1G)
It was another bowl-less season in Bloomington, but Indiana had bigger fish to fry. They marched into Columbia in week three and won the SEC East, and took home the Old Oaken Bucket in their final action of the season. Yeah there was a six-game losing streak sandwiched between those wins against Mizzou and Purdue, but the game is about glory. And dammit if this isn't glorious:
INTERNET'S FAVORITE QUARTERBACK pic.twitter.com/QN5uals3nU— Crimson Quarry (@crimsonquarry) November 30, 2014
Kevin Wilson's teams have always seemed to put up points, and recruits are starting to take note. In the last three years the Hoosiers have finished 8th, 9th, and 9th in 2015 in B1G recruiting rankings, so if it appears as though Indiana football is looking less and less like, well, Indiana football, it's because they've been out-recruiting their competition.
God, they really are Penn State basketball.
They didn't get College Gameday to come to their city but they certainly played like they deserved it. Dealing with key injury after key injury, Indiana was one play away from taking the reigning national champions to overtime. Both quarterback Nate Sudfeld and running back Jordan Howard left the game while it was still in the balance, and the cigar-smoking trophy holder pictured above very nearly got Indiana their biggest win in school history. Ohio State managed to hold on, 34-27, but Indiana turned some heads in defeat. Most notably, James Franklin's. Hopefully.
Howard is a UAB castaway that has managed to carry on Tevin Coleman's legacy of great running backs in Bloomington (if we're continuing the Penn State basketball analogy, Coleman is Tim Frazier, Howard is D.J. Newbill). Indiana has had a lot of success in the power run game with Howard - if his ankle is too bum to play, it's a huge loss for Indiana, but if he is available he'll be engaged in a great battle with Penn State's stout front seven.
Sudfeld and Zander Diamont, the guy who's been referenced twice in this article but not by name until now, are two totally different QBs. Sudfeld is a needle-threader in the pocket, while Diamont's unpredictability keeps defenses on edge when he drops back. Here's Crimson Quarry making the case to play both signal callers.
Luckily for the Hoosiers, it appears both Sudfeld and Howard could be available this week:
Kevin Wilson says on weekly Big Ten call Nate Sudfeld and Jordan Howard were dressed for practice today. #iufb— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) October 6, 2015
IU's defense isn't quite up to typical B1G standards as far as containing offenses, but they've become very adept at forcing turnovers. Indiana is tied with Penn State and a handful of other schools with 11 forced turnovers and it's a big reason why they were able to get through their non-conference slate undefeated for the first time in a long time.
Rashard Fant, also bit by the injury bug last week, has really rounded into a quality cornerback for the Hoosiers. He leads the team with nine pass break-ups and will likely be tasked with keeping Chris Godwin in check on Saturday if he can get healthy. Christian Hackenberg could very well be busy keeping his eyes on d-lineman Nick Mangieri, though, who has a team-high five sacks on the season.
Sadly, Jamelle Cornley's brother Javon has exhausted his Indiana eligibility and thus will not be part of the game this weekend.
FINALLY, the good stuff. Griffin Oakes is a very good kicker yeah yeah whatever LET'S TALK ABOUT [switches tabs to check punter's name] ERICH TOTH. Toth has 27 punts on the year, a number which may well be doubled this weekend. Don't worry he won't run out of gas, the extra 'h'* in his name gives him strength. Puntweek isn't for the faint of heart.
*another Penn State basketball connection!
h— Penn State Hoops (@PennStateMBB) January 22, 2015