Indiana’s running back rushing average against Power 5 teams has steadily decreased over the last 5 years, dropping a staggering 2.74 yards per carry over this period. Indiana sent two backs and two linemen to the NFL during this time leaving an offense unable to run the ball with ease. The line has struggled this year, but the backs haven’t helped either. Applying blame is difficult but there’s a reason we here at Punt John Punt are paid the big bucks.
Run defense that eliminated the big play + a dominating pass rush + Lil’ #16 = a strong defensive performance against the hapless Illini.
The running game shows a pulse and Big Rich throws it short. The IU offense employed a different recipe for success against Illinois. Let’s look at the charts.
After beating the Big Ten’s worst, things get slightly more challenging this week despite the home game. Rutgers isn’t good, but they aren’t Illinois-bad. The Scarlet Knights beat Maryland a week after Indiana suffered their biggest loss of the season to the Terrapins. Their offense is worse than Indiana’s and their defense is average, at best. Having said that, if the 2015 game against Rutgers taught us anything, it is that you can never overlook another conference opponent. Football Study Hall predicts a 68% chance of a Hoosier victory.
It was a game that Indiana needed to win and they pulled through. The Hoosiers never trailed although there were some nervous moments late until IU pulled away at the end. In the process, Simmie Cobbs scored his 7th receiving TD of the season. For reference, the 2014 IU team had just 7 receiving TDs as a team. The last season IU had a player total at least 7 receiving TDs was the dynamic 2013 team. That year Shane Wynn had 11, Cody Latimer had 9, and Kofi Hughes had 7. Cobbs is 4th in the Big Ten in receiving yards.