Football

Speed Option: Indiana Hoosiers

The season moves into its final stretch when the Indiana Hoosiers come to town in November and the Buckeyes have owned this series to the tune of winning every game since 1990 and not losing one since 1988.

That does not mean there are not some tense moments along the way, the 2020 game took years off the life of many fans as the Buckeyes had to hold on for dear life. Then there was the 52-49 game in Bloomington (Ind.) during Urban Meyer’s first season with the Buckeyes.

It is hard to believe that the first five games of this series saw Indiana go 4-0-1 against Ohio State, granted, all five of those games took place before World War One.

Last year was a bad, bad year for IU, the Hoosiers went winless in conference play, just won two games along the way and gave back many of the gains that the program had started making under Tom Allen.

The hope for the team is that was the exception rather than the rule and that they can step back to where they were just a year prior.

Do they have the guys? Is everyone on to Indiana now and won’t let the Hoosiers sneak up on them? Let’s hit the speed option and talk a little more.

Indiana

All-time Series Record: Ohio State leads 78-12-5

Last Meeting: 2021 – Ohio State def. Indiana 54-7

2021 Record: 2-10, 0-9 Big Ten Conference

Returning Starters: 12 (5 Off., 7 Def.)

Head Coach: Tom Allen

Offense

Total Offense: 290.0 YPG (124th)

Rushing Offense: 114.5 YPG (113th)

Passing Offense: 175.5 YPG (113th)

Scoring Offense: 17.2 PPG (123rd)

Well, the numbers tell the story. IU was 124th out of 130 teams in total offense and 123rd in scoring. Ultimately it is about scoring and the Hoosiers could not do that as the team could not throw the ball with great success nor could they run the ball with great success.

That ends up leading to not-so-great results.

Is the QB job locked up by Missouri transfer Connor Bazelak or do Donoven McCulley and Jack Tuttle have a shot? We have been told that the word in Bloomington is that it is an open competition, but we have heard that before, plenty of places. Our guess is Bazelak will be the guy, but who will he have to throw it to?

No Peyton Hendershot and Ty Fryfogle are big deals, for an offense that couldn’t do much last season. IU hit the transfer portal and hopes that Emery Simmons, formerly of UNC, can fill the gaps along with DJ Matthews. JUCO transfer Cam Camper will also need to play big for Indiana as they look to mount any sort of aerial attack.

The running game at Indiana has not been so hot either and you are hard pressed to remember the last back that could get things done on a regular basis as several backs have tried only to come up short. Now a pair of transfers come in with Shaun Shivers (Auburn) and Josh Henderson (North Carolina). Is It a matter of not having the right back or is the offense just not doing these guys any favors?

Defense

Total Defense: 384.6 YPG (71st)

Rushing Defense: 148.9 YPG (60th)

Passing Defense: 235.7 YPG (76th)

Scoring Defense: 33.2 PPG (109th)

Indiana needs to play good defense to do much of anything and the numbers were in the middle in most categories, outside of points allowed, which was near the bottom of the list.

Cornerback Taiwan Mullen was a big loss last season for the Hoosiers as he missed much of the season and his return will mean a lot as he is one of the better corners in the entire conference. But they just can’t sit back and just let a corner carry this defense.

The Hoosiers may struggle to generate much of a pass rush this year if they don’t get some immediate help. JH Tevis comes in from Cal as well as Myles Jackson (UCLA) as the Hoosiers look to really retool things.

The loss of Micah McFadden is not going to help this unit as one of the few bright spots that played last year on the IU defense.

Random Musings

Indiana plays the Buckeyes during the middle of a three-game stretch where they have to play Penn State, travel to Ohio State and then travel to Michigan State and then the Hoosiers get to play their in-state rivals, Purdue. November could be a challenge for the Hoosiers if they don’t get off to a hot start.

But that could be said about most Big Ten East teams who have to play the likes of Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State at some point and there are just so many weeks where these games can take place.

A name to remember is former Ohio State commit Dasan McCullough, the only McCullough left at IU at this point. Indiana has generally not brought in players have been able to step in during year one and be a difference maker, could McCullough be that guy? With this game not taking place until November, he has a bunch of weeks to try and figure things out. But if he plays, is that as much on him or more on Indiana for not having better options?