It’s prediction time at AllHoosiers.com.
Every Friday in this space at 9 a.m. we will put on our prognosticator hat and try to project how Indiana will fare in football on that particular game.
The first one is for Saturday’s season opener with Indiana State at 12 p.m. ET at Memorial Stadium.
Last year, IU’s high-scoring offense and porous defense were both on display right from the opening game of the season as the Hoosiers beat the Sycamores 73-35. IU scored at least 21 points in each of the first three quarters.
Now, maybe it’s because I’ve watched too much IU football in my life (I’m in my 17th season covering the Hoosiers) or maybe it’s simply that I think last year’s outcome was a bit of a fluke, but I don’t believe the 2014 game is going to be on the same line as it was a year ago.
As all of the other five members of our AllHoosiers.com staff I expect Indiana to win handily on Saturday. I just don’t think the paramedics are going to have to be on hand in the north end zone for the cheerleaders doing pushups after score after score after score.
My prediction:Indiana 48, Indiana State 13.
I expect the IU offense to be potent and the Indiana defense to be vastly improved. I think Nate Sudfeld will be solid but not yet in midseason form. I think Tevin Coleman could have a big day rushing the football. I think some of the freshmen wide receivers could have solid first days in their IU careers. I think an IU defensive back could have his first pick-six of the season.
I just don’t expect for the game to get completely out of hand as it did last year when IU led 66-28 going into the fourth quarter.
So that’ s my thought. What do you think? We’re going to open a thread on the premium board for your picks. We’re also going to host a Live Chat at Noon on the FREE board to talk IU football and get your thoughts there. Normally, we’ll run our Chat on the PREMIUM board but we’re trying things a little different just for the first week here.
You have my pick. Here are the predictions from the AllHoosiers.com staff.
Indiana 63, Indiana State 21: The Hoosiers kick off the 2014 season with an explosive offensive performance against an in-state foe. Nate Sudfeld will pick apart a porous Sycamore defense and Tevin Coleman will break several big runs to give IU some balance.
Indiana 52, Indiana State 23: The new 3-4 defense will allow Indiana State to capitalize on more 3rd-down conversions than in the 2013 match-up, therefore allowing more scoring opportunities for the Sycamores. To honor Anthony Thompson on Anthony Thompson Day, Tevin Coleman will have a good number of running yards versus the team's passing yards. Nate Sudfeld will struggle in the red zone, forcing field goal attempts.
Indiana 49, Indiana State 16: Tevin Coleman will show why he is one of the top backs in the nation after a big day against the Sycamores, who allowed 313 yards on the ground to the Hoosiers a year ago. Nate Sudfeld will look more comfortable than ever at quarterback without Tre Roberson breathing down his neck, and the Indiana offense won’t skip a beat. The defense has a lot to prove and may need a quarter to get things rolling, but once they get in a grove, they will hold the Sycamores throughout the game and won’t let them off the hook late. Look for red zone stops to be a key component to the defense’s success Saturday.
Indiana 49, Indiana State 10: The Hoosiers' new 3-4 defensive scheme wreaks havoc on the Sycamore offense and its inexperienced offensive line which includes four new starters. Nate Sudfeld, taking advantage of his receivers' speed, will throw for at least 300 yards. It should be very little trouble for IU and an easy victory to open the 2014 season. I'm curious to see how players such as Nick Mangieri adapt to positional changes within the new scheme, as that will be the difference if the defense wants to have a big day.
Indiana 59, Indiana State 17: On Anthony Thompson Day, Tevin Coleman will have a Thompson-esque day against a Sycamore defense that gave up 35.9 points per game last year. We’ll also see some kinks that need to be worked out from the new 3-4 defense and on special teams, but it’ll be a relatively smooth tune up to start 2014. Staying healthy is key.