Every Friday in this space we will put on our prognosticator hats and try to project how Indiana will fare in football on that particular game.
Three games in to the season, every member of our staff has a 1-2 record. We all picked IU to beat Indiana State, beat Bowling Green and lose to Missouri. A couple of us went on a limb to say that we thought IU would give No. 18 Missouri a good game last week but no one could pull the trigger and pick the Indiana upset.
So that takes us to the Big Ten opener with Maryland.
This is an interesting game on several fronts. Both teams are coming off of big road victories. IU beat No. 18 Missouri 31-27 and the Terrapins won at Syracuse, 34-20. Maryland is 2-0 on the road this season, having also defeated the University of South Florida, 24-17.
It’s also interesting that it’s not only the Big Ten opener for both teams but in Maryland’s case it’s the Terrapins first game in history in the Big Ten. You’re never sure how that is going to play into the emotion of the game.
In a lot of ways this game will pit two teams with a lot to prove. Maryland wants a good showing to kick off Big Ten play and Indiana wants to prove that the Missouri win was not a fluke.
There is also the fact that Indiana hasn’t won back-to-back games since 2012 and the Hoosiers are trying to win their Big Ten opener for the second year in a row. Last season, IU knocked off Penn State at home to open conference play.
So how will this one play out? I’m expecting another high scoring affair but I expect Indiana’s running game to be a little too much for Maryland. Opponents have ran for an average of 199 yards per game against Maryland in the first four games which could be a big factor for Tevin Coleman and company. If IU can run the ball effectively, it should open up a lot of play action stuff for Nate Sudfeld. I think when you add it all up Indiana will score 40 points or more.
Thus, the question becomes whether the Indiana defense can limit Maryland to under 40 points? If the defense that showed up against Missouri plays on Saturday, then it won’t be a problem. But if it’s the one that played the week before against Bowling Green it could be a case of the team that has the ball last will win.
I don’t think it will come to that. I’m going to go with a prediction of Indiana 45, Maryland 31.
So that’ s my thought. What do you think? We’re going to open a thread on both the free and premium boards for your picks.
You have my pick. Here are the predictions from the AllHoosiers.com staff.
Indiana 31, Maryland 27In its first outing since upsetting Missouri a week ago, Indiana starts slow against new Big Ten foe Maryland but makes enough plays late to earn its second consecutive win. Tevin Coleman puts up big numbers for the fourth consecutive game, and the IU defense makes a critical stop late to seal it.
Indiana 49, Maryland 28:Coming off a program-changing win last week at Mizzou, Indiana has plenty of energy and motivation for its first-ever Big Ten matchup against Maryland. Look for a big day from the IU offense against a Maryland defense which allows the most yards per game (460.5) out of all the Big Ten teams. Don't be surprised if Tevin Coleman rushes for at least 200 yards against the Terrapins, who also allow the most rushing yards per game at 199.2. As for the Hoosier defense, it will be tested once again in playing the fifth-best passing offense in the Big Ten. The special teams will have their work cut out for them as well with Maryland ranking second in average kickoff return yardage and first in average punt return yardage in the conference. Back at home for the first time in nearly a month, I like the Hoosiers in a high-scoring game.
Indiana 34, Maryland 31:For the third straight week, it will come down to the final drive for the Hoosiers. In another dog fight, Nate Sudfeld breaks out for his best performance of the season. On the other side of the ball, I expect to see a similar game plan to the Missouri game with the defense attacking. Maryland's talented receivers will have a good game, but Tim Bennett and company will do just enough to help win the Big Ten opener.
And here’s one from the ranks of the unbelievers. But then last week, Sarah picked Missouri to win 56-10 so …
Maryland 35, Indiana 27:Although coming off of a huge away win against ranked Missouri, Indiana will not be as successful against Maryland. Indiana will have to focus on stopping Maryland's passing game rather than the run. Indiana defense will come back strong, but not be able to hold Maryland. Tevin Coleman will have another standout game, but the Hoosiers will not be able to finish. Overall, it won't be an inconsistent performance as fans have seen from Indiana in the past, showing progression as a team and program.Daily Feature: Scouting the Opponent
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