Indiana Hoosiers College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Indiana Hoosiers Biggest Key: Offense
The running game has to be better. It’s been one of the stranger things about the success of Indiana over the last two years …
The ground game has been a big bag of meh.
IU doesn’t have to crank out well over five yards per carry like it did in 2013 and 2014, but it’s only been able to average over four yards per pop once in the last five seasons. However, it’s 5-0 over the last two seasons when rushing for 170 yards or more, and not surprisingly, the team has had more control when it’s running well.
The passing game has more than made up for the struggles, but not being able to hit five yards per run in the last 14 games isn’t okay.
And on the flip side …
Indiana Hoosiers Biggest Key: Defense
Stop the run. Indiana has done a great job over the last few seasons of controlling the clock and the tempo, but it has big, big problems when the run defense isn’t holding up.
Anything against Ohio State has to be taken with a grain of salt, but the Buckeyes ran for 307 yards and averaged over six yards per carry in the win. Ole Miss ran for 147 yards and 4.2 yards per game in the victory. Penn State came within an eyelash of winning the opener and was in full control of the game for about 59 minutes, running for 250 yards and 4.8 yards per pop.
Those were the three worst days by the IU run D – the two losses and the near miss.
The 2019 team was able to win games when giving up big running games, but the 2020 version had a much, much easier time when the front six was a wall.
Indiana Hoosiers Key Player To A Successful Season
DE James Head, Jr.
The front four has to be able to start generating more pressure. The linebackers have been doing most of the heavy lifting, and Jerome Johnson is gone after working as an all-star force up front.
The 6-5, 262-pound head is a decent veteran who came up with 17 tackles with 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss. He’s got the experience and the burst on the end to become a bigger factor, and he’s going to get the shot.
Indiana Hoosiers Key Game To The 2021 Season
at Iowa, Sept. 4
Was 2020 for real, or was it a great run in a strange year for the Big Ten? Can Indiana live up to any and all preseason hype, or will it come out flat and force a fight just to get bowl eligible? Beating Iowa for the first time since 2012 would be a big deal. To do it in Iowa City for the first time since 2007 would be a bigger deal.
To lose would be an even bigger deal, because coming up two weeks later is Cincinnati with a trip to Penn State two weeks later and Ohio State a few weeks after that.
2020 Indiana Hoosiers Fun Stats
– Field Goals: Indiana 10-of-11 – Opponents 5-of-12
– Sacks: Indiana 25 for 160 yards – Opponents 10 for 51 yards
– Penalties: Opponents 60 for 566 yards – Indiana 34 for 358 yards