Here’s a quick recap of the season:
The defense was just as good as 2016.
The running game that struggled in 2016, struggled even more this season.
The passing game went from being pretty explosive, albeit error-prone, to inconsistent and ineffective.
Griffin Oakes was great.
That’s the recap in 38 words. Onward to the over/unders!
1. Richard Lagow interception rate – Over/Under 3.00% – Actual 2.7%
Lagow decreased his interception rate by over a percentage point from 3.9% to 2.7% in part by trying to force less passes, but also because he took fewer shots downfield. As a result, his yards per attempt dropped from 7.7 to 6.6. Peyton Ramsey had an interception rate of 2.4% in his time at quarterback this season.
2. Rushing yards by leading Indiana running back – Over/Under 649.5 – Actual 704
Freshman Morgan Ellison emerged as Indiana’s lead back and rushed for 704 yards. He would have had an outside shot at 1,000 yards, but missed the Maryland game due to injury and was knocked out of several other contests. Ellison had just 4 rushes over 20 yards in non-garbage time[ref]6 total[/ref] but had a 47% success rate. This success rate illustrates his chain-moving ability that was essential with an unproven offensive line. If incoming freshman Ronnie Walker can flash big play potential, Indiana’s running game should be improved next year. The powerful Ellison with the explosive Walker should complement each other nicely. Additionally, Cole Gest will provide a valuable backup role and if Mike Majette can provide anything, Indiana should be well-positioned for any inevitable injuries.
3. Indiana regular season wins – Over/Under 6.5 – Actual 5
While 6 wins would have felt slightly disappointing, I think most fans would have been satisfied. Unfortunately with only 5 wins, Indiana’s season was a disappointment. While IU did beat Virginia on the road, ultimately this season came down to an inability to steal a likely loss[ref]Not saying they couldn’t have won, clearly they could have, but most people (Vegas included) saw the teams from up north as the favorites[/ref] from Michigan or Michigan State plus a failure to win against either Maryland or Purdue. Looking ahead to next season, this line could be set at 5.5. With the talent lost on defense, the uncertainty at quarterback, and the lack of Illinois on the schedule, Indiana could be facing an upward battle to reach a bowl game.
4. Griffin Oakes made field goal % on 40+ yard attempts – Over/Under 55.5% – Actual 83.3%
In his best season as a Hoosier, Oakes was 16 of 17 on total field goals finishing second nationally in made field goal percentage. On 40+ yard field goals he was 5 of 6 with his lone miss on a blocked field goal against Michigan. His best field goal was the 46 yarder he made as time expired against Michigan to force overtime. Oakes finishes his career first in all-time career field goals at Indiana with 69. Incoming freshman Charles Campbell is the presumed starter in 2018.
5. Indiana yards per play allowed – Over/Under 5.09 – Actual 4.92
Indiana decreased their yards per play allowed to just 4.92, which, prior to bowl games, is 20th nationally. The Hoosiers did benefit from playing Charleston Southern instead of the previously scheduled Florida International. Indiana allowed just 2.48 yards per play in that contest. In FBS games, IU allowed 5.093 yards per play, right at our line. Indiana allowed 5.07 yards per play in non-garbage time and 4.43 in garbage time.
6. Total Indiana sacks – Over/Under 31.5 – Actual 36
After 33 sacks in 2016, Tom Allen’s defense increased their total to 36 in one fewer game. In his 2 seasons at IU, Allen has proven that he can develop a defense that can generate pressure even without a standout pass rusher. Tegray Scales led IU with 7 sacks last year and 6 this year. While Indiana had several solid players, none possessed the ability to single-handedly reach double digit sacks. Instead, Allen has relied on a total team effort as 14 players had at least a partial sack this year. Indiana loses a lot in this department, but with Nile Sykes returning and Allen’s history, it would be slightly surprising if Indiana did not reach 30 sacks again in 2018.
7. Total receiving yards by all IU running backs minus the receiving yard total from IU’s 3rd leading receiver – Over/Under 0.5 – Actual 149
Indiana’s backs totaled 525 receiving yards led by Devonte Williams with 168. Other than kickoff returns, Williams’ role in 2018 will probably be as a pass-catching back and it wouldn’t surprise me if he receives more targets than carries. He had a 57% success rate on his 14 targets and 4 of them went for 20+ yards. After Williams, Ricky Brookins had 124 yards with Mike Majette, Cole Gest, and Morgan Ellison totaling the remaining 233 yards.
On the other side of this equation, any chance that the 3rd receiver had of winning this over/under probably vanished when Nick Westbrook went down on the opening kickoff of the season. His injury opened things up for Donovan Hale, Whop Philyor, and Taysir Mack to have more playing time. While the trio combined for 761 yards, their split playing time did not lead to big receiving numbers from a single player. They cannibalized each other so much that the 3rd leading receiver was Ian Thomas who finished with 376 receiving yards. Even with the expected departure of Simmie Cobbs, IU should be well-equipped at receiver with Westbrook, Luke Timian, Philyor, Mack, and Hale.
Congrats to MrMiyagi who managed to take home the 2017 championship with correct 43 answers out of a possible 67. Thanks to everyone who participated!You have to be a registered user and logged in to play in this pool.