When the news broke Monday that Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld would require surgery on his non-throwing shoulder and miss the remainder of the season, it seemed like IU's hopes for a bowl game were all but over.
But not so fast, Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo says.
On the Monday evening edition of BTN Live, DiNardo, a former Indiana football coach, said backup quarterback Chris Covington is good enough to get Indiana to six wins and a bowl game.
It was a bold statement, especially considering Covington struggled mightily when he replaced Sudfeld last Saturday against Iowa. Covington, a true freshman, completed 3-of-12 passes and threw two interceptions in the 45-29 loss to the Hawkeyes.
Personally, I don't see Indiana making a bowl game. I just don't. Even if Sudfeld were healthy, this team has simply been way too inconsistent for me to think they are worthy of going to the postseason.
The funny thing is, I'm not even sure Covington will be the Hoosiers' quarterback for the rest of the season. He's currently listed as the starter for Saturday's home game against No. 8 Michigan State, but I wouldn't be surprised if Kevin Wilson changes his mind and goes with Zander Diamont.
Indiana had originally planned to use a redshirt on Diamont, but that is no longer the plan, and I believe he is a better long-term option than Covington. Could I be wrong? Sure. It's not out of the realm of possibility that Covington will start Saturday and only be removed if he struggles. There are things that Covington does that can really benefit Indiana, namely the read option. With a running back like Tevin Coleman, the Hoosiers could really cause some problems for opposing defenses with a quarterback that is also a threat to run.
But will that be enough to get Indiana to six wins and a bowl game? DiNardo sees it. I don't.