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Know Your Foe Week 8: Indiana Hoosiers

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Who’s the next Penn State opponent? The Hoosiers, that’s who.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Florida International Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana University

  • Location: Bloomington, Indiana
  • Enrollment: 110,436 (undergraduates and post graduates across 9 campuses)

Indiana Hoosiers Football Facts

  • Home Stadium: Memorial Stadium (Capacity 52,656)
  • Head Coach: Tom Allen, 2nd season, 9-11 (.450)
  • Conference: Big Ten (East Division)
  • Overall Bowl Record: 3-8 (.273)
  • Conference Titles: 2
  • Claimed National Titles: 0

Series History

  • First Game: November 6, 1993 (Penn State won, 38-31)
  • Last Game: September 30, 2017 (Penn State won, 45-14)
  • Overall: Penn State leads, 20-1
  • Current Streak: 4, Penn State

Last Season (5-7 overall, 2-7 in the Big Ten)

Led by first-year head coach Tom Allen, the Hoosiers lost their season opener to then No.2 Ohio State, then winning against Virginia and Georgia Southern. Indiana lost to then No.4 Penn State, defeated Charleston Southern, then dropped their next four games against Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland and Wisconsin. Winning their next two against Illinois and Rutgers, the Hoosiers lost their last game of the season against Purdue.

Recruiting and Offseason

The Indiana Hoosiers 2018 class ranks as the nation’s 49th recruiting class (tenth in the Big Ten) as compared to Penn State’s 2018 class, ranked at sixth in the nation and second in the Big Ten (per 247 Sports).

Last Week

The Hoosiers lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes 42-16 last week in their homecoming game due in large part to Hawkeye quarterback Nate Stanley, who passed for 320 yards and six touchdowns. Iowa racked up 479 yards of total offense as compared to Indiana’s 330. The Hawkeyes shut down Indiana’s run game as the Hoosiers had only 67 yards rushing.

Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey had 31 completions for 263 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

On the defensive side of the ball for Indiana, Marcelino Ball and Dameon Willis Jr each had six sacks.

Offense

74th in total offense, Indiana has a very experienced offensive line with a total of 155 starts among eight linemen. The line includes fifth-year senior left guard Wes Martin, a team captain and William V Campbell Trophy semifinalist who benches 525 lbs. Other experienced linemen include center Nick Linder, a graduate transfer from Miami, and junior left tackle Coy Cronk (who sat out the last game and may not play this week) along with a pair of seniors in right guard Simon Stepaniak and right tackle Brandon Knight.

The Hoosiers have rushed for 200-plus yards and has allowed just ten sacks overall (50th the nation and sixth in the Big Ten).

Quarterback Peyton Ramsey is another bright spot on the Indiana offene, with 172 completions (second in the Big Ten) of 253 attempts (68%) for 1,624 yards, 12 touchdowns but has a whopping seven interceptions. Indiana is 53rd in the nation in pass offense. Ramsey is also second on the team in rushing yards with 72 attempts for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

In the wide receiver corps, Simmie Cobbs might be gone, but Nick Westbrook, out most of 2017 due to injury, is back in full force this season. Last year, Westbrook had 54 receptions for 995 yards and six touchdowns. So far in 2018, Westbrook is second on the team in receptions with 22 for 288 yards and two scores. Leading receiver is J-Shun Harris II with 24 receptions for 217 yards and one touchdown (and he’s also third in the nation for punt return touchdowns).

Indiana’s running back corps is led by Stevie Scott who has 115 attempts for 557 yards and four touchdowns so far this year. Filling in the blanks in the run game this season, behind quarterback Ramsey, are freshmen Ronnie Walker, Jr. (21 receptions, 95 yards, one score) and Reese Taylor (15 receptions, 83 yards).

Defense

The Hoosiers, with the 67th run defense in the nation, could cause some headaches for the Penn State running game. But their pass defense the past two games has allowed 12 passing touchdowns --- plus they’ve lost quite a few starters on defense and have a relatively young linebacker unit.

Indiana’s defensive line lost a number of key starters last year, returning just one starter from 2017 in Jacob Robinson, who is questionable for this week. Defensive ends Gavin Everett and Nile Sykes and defensive tackles Ja’Merez Bowen and Jerome Johnson are other defensive line leaders. Johnson has 19 tackles, three tackles for loss (TFLs) and two sacks so far this year.

The linebacker unit is missing Tegray Scales and has a somewhat young group but includes returning starter Reakwon Jones (27 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, one sack) along with Dameon Willis Jr, the tackle leader for the defense with 37 total tackles and two TFLs. Most of the rest of the linebacker unit is fairly new (so is the linebacker coach, Kane Wommack) but are seeing some playing time.

What’s going well for the Hoosier defense is the return of safety Jonathan Crawford, one of the best players on the team, second on the team in tackles with 35 (and three TFLs, one sack and one interception). Also returning after missing much of last year with injuries is Marcelino Ball to the husky position, who is third on the team in tackles with 30, and leads the team in TFLs with five. At strong safety is junior Khalil Bryant (fifth on the team with 23 tackles) and junior cornerbacks A’Shon Riggins and Andre Brown.

Special Teams

Indiana’s special teams struggled earlier this year with a blocked extra point and fumbled punt against Virginia, and two blocked kicks in total this season, but have a kicker and punter who have kept them on track the rest of their games.

With prolific kicker Griffin Oakes gone after four solid years, junior kicker Logan Justus is the starter. Justus is 19 of 20 on extra points and eight-of-ten for field goals so far this season. Redshirt junior punter Haydon Whitehead returns, and as a Ray Guy Award watch list member, has 29 punts for 1,174 yards and an average of 40.5 this year.

Punt returner J-Shun Harris is back from injury and handling punt return duties, including an impressive 86-yard punt return for a touchdown against Ball State early in the season. Harris is third in the nation for punt return touchdowns.

This year, kick returns have been split mostly between Reese Taylor (three returns for 66 yards) and Mike Majette (three returns for 50 yards).

Blog

Read more about Indiana sports at their SB Nation blog The Crimson Quarry.