FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME
1. ESTABLISH THE RUN EARLY: A year ago, Indiana piled up 313 yards on 54 carries. IU was able to run the ball on 54 of 84 plays. Tevin Coleman gained 169 yards on 14 carries and had TD runs of 34 and 20 yards. Everyone is going to expect the Hoosiers to try and light it up through the air, but the ability to get some guys open deep will be much easier if the IU can run the ball this year like it did last year.
2. DEFENSE NEEDS TO MAKE A STATEMENT: I get it, it’s only Indiana State but the IU defense needs to make a statement in this one. It can’t afford to allow a team like ISU, that finished 1-11 a year ago, to put up 35 points as it did against the Hoosiers last season. All eyes will be on the new 3-4 defense and it needs to shine.
3. SUDFELD HAS TO BE IN COMMAND: One thing to keep an eye on in this one is how will Nate Sudfeld handle the quarterback chores without needing to look over his shoulder? My guess is he’ll do just fine. But the first time he has adversity it will be interesting to see how he handles it.
4. NO CUSHIONS PLEASE: One of the most frustrating things watching Indiana play defense over the years is the number of yards the cornerbacks give on the outside, just daring opponents to beat them by throwing short 7-8 yard routes over and over. The secondary needs to play a little closer to the line of scrimmage this season and it will be interesting to see if that’s something a Brian Knorr defense does.
5. STEP ON THEIR THROAT: Not literally of course but Indiana needs to win this one in a convincing fashion. A 21-3 kind of a game would be OK in terms of the defense playing well but the reality is that Indiana really needs a convincing victory to head into the bye week and serve a little notice. The step on the throat though is simply that if you get way ahead, you need to stay way ahead and not let the Sycamores score some cheap points late.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch