The Hoosiers are back in action this weekend. Two seasons ago against Maryland, facing a near-must win, Kevin Wilson debuted the Bacon N Legs formation. The result was 650 yards of total offense.
I can’t wait to see what kind of crazy, short passes Mike DeBord dials up this weekend.
1. Peyton Ramsey interception rate – Over/Under 5.49%
Ramsey has a 3% interception rate on the year which is pretty much average for Big Ten starting QBs. His 10 interceptions are tied for the 2nd most in the league, but he is also 3rd in attempts.[ref]Because why not pass a lot when you have the QB.[/ref] He has thrown 5 interceptions in the last 3 games. He’ll be facing a Maryland team that is 1st nationally in interceptions with 16 and 1st in interception rate at 6.4%. Tre Watson and Darnell Savage each have 4 interceptions on the year.
2. Ronnie Walker total touches – Over/Under 6.5
Walker didn’t play in the Ohio State game but is averaging 4.7 carries per game in the other 6 games since making his debut against Ball State. He fumbled against Penn State but has been fairly productive otherwise. He has definitely been Indiana’s most explosive back, by a long shot, and a nice compliment to the efficiency of Stevie Scott. It probably wouldn’t be the worst idea for him to get more carries, perhaps at the expense of some short Ramsey passes. Interestingly, he hasn’t seen any passing targets this season.
3. Kasim Hill passing yards – Over/Under 135.5
Maryland is averaging just 125 passing yards per game, 126th nationally and worst among non-option offenses. Hill had 5 games below 80 yards passing and just 2 games over 220 passing yards. Part of the reason his passing totals are so low is from a lack of pass attempts. He’s averaging just 17.6 attempts per game which is less than half of what Peyton Ramsey is averaging. Indiana is allowing 7.6 passing yards per attempt, 83rd nationally, and ranks 105th in pass defense S&P+.
4. Maryland RB highlight yards per opportunity – Over/Under 6.99
Highlight yards represents the yards credited to a running back on any given run. The idea is the line is given credit for those early yards whereas a running back’s explosiveness determines whether a decent hole turns into a 5 yard run or a 25 yard run. A highlight opportunity is any 5 yard gain, essentially any time a back reaches the next level. Maryland has a pair of explosive backs in Anthony McFarland and Ty Johnson. McFarland is averaging 8.5 highlight yards per opportunity and Johnson is at 9.3. For reference, Tevin Coleman finished 2014 at 9.8. While the duo falls slightly short of that lofty goal, make no mistake, this pair has big play potential. Indiana counters with a defense that is allowing just 5.1 highlight yards per opportunity.
5. Indiana kickoff returns – Over/Under 0.5
Indiana has returned 3 kickoffs in the last 6 games. After none against Michigan State, Rutgers, or Ohio State, the Hoosiers have gotten wild in recent weeks with 1 return in each of the last 3 games. That’s the kind of special teams emphasis I’d expect from a team with a dedicated Special Teams Coordinator. This could come down to how well the IU defense does, thus limiting the number of Maryland kickoffs.
6. Indiana winning margin – Over/Under 2.5
Vegas opened with Indiana as a 2.5 point favorite. Meanwhile, Bill Connelly at Football Study Hall has Maryland as a 0.6 point favorite.
If you are picking the over, you are picking Indiana to win by 3+ points. If you are picking the under, you are picking Indiana to lose or win by 2 or fewer points.
This over/under is worth 2 points so make it a good one.
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