With the Big Ten season finally about to get going, what are the keys to every team’s offense? What does each team have to work on?
Biggest Key To The Illinois Fighting Illini Offense
Establish the run again. The 2018 Illinois running game worked. It came up with over 2,900 yards, averaged close to six yards per carry, and it found a groove from the start with 200 yards or more in nine of the first ten games.
That was the only time in the last eight years that the program ran for 1,900 yards or more.
The 1,874 yards Illinois ran for last season were the second-most in a season since 2011, but it was still ugly. There were four 200-yard rushing days – the Illini won three of them – with the shootout loss to Nebraska the only time the ground game averaged over five yards per pop.
The offensive line is better, but the running backs have to emerge in a hurry. Statistically, the pass protection has to be there, too, with the numbers depending a bit on who takes the quarterback gig.
Biggest Key To The Indiana Hoosiers Offense
It was this simple for the Hoosiers, at least last year – run well, win football games. Being able to run for any relatively arbitrary number wouldn’t have mattered in losses to Ohio State and Michigan, but IU was 8-0 last season when it ran for 100 yards, and 0-5 when it didn’t.
How much does 100 rushing yards matter to the Hoosiers? November 3rd, 2012. That was the last time they won when going under the mark, beating Iowa 24-21. They’re 0-23 since then when the ground game doesn’t hit triple-digits.
For a team that finished seventh in the nation in time of possession, run well, rely on your accurate passer to move the chains, control the tempo.