With every game that Indiana plays this season, we’ll take a pregame look at five keys that the Hoosiers will need to be successful.
Here’s the five keys for today’s game with Rutgers:
1. COLEMAN HAS TO FIND THE END ZONEThrough the first six games of the season, Tevin Coleman had 11 rushing touchdowns. In the last three, with Zander Diamont at the helm, Coleman has been held without a touchdown. That has to change against the Scarlet Knights, a team that has allowed 191.6 yards per game on the ground. Coleman also needs to break one of his patented long runs. Lately, with defenses keying on him, his long run in the last two games has been 17 yards. Again, for Indiana to be successful against Rutgers, Coleman has to find a way to play liked he did when Nate Sudfeld was leading the Hoosiers and not Diamont. Easier said than done. But that will be a key for Hoosiers on Saturday.
2.TIME FOR DIAMONT TO STEP UP The true freshman quarterback has had three games and four weeks (with the bye) to become a productive quarterback. He was better at time against Penn State as he completed nearly half of his passes (13-for-27) for 68 yards. But it’s time for Diamont to lead the Hoosiers down the field for a touchdown while the outcome is still in doubt. If Indiana has a chance to win against Rutgers, Diamont will have to be appreciably better than he has been in any game this season. Passing for 100 yards or more is absolutely something he has to do.
3. THE DEFENSE NEEDS TO PLAY LIKE PENN STATE Take away that one 92-yard run against Penn State and the Hoosiers had a great day on the defensive side of the ball. That’s not something we’ve said out loud in a long time. But IU had five sacks, and two interceptions including one that was returned for a touchdown which would be IU’s only score of the game. Now the Indiana defense needs to build off that performance. If the Hoosiers can play that way against Rutgers, Indiana has a chance.
4. WYNN, STONER NEED TO GET INVOLVED We’ve talked about Diamont and Coleman but players like Shane Wynn and Nick Stoner need to come up big, too. There just hasn’t been enough veteran leadership and production of late. In Wynn’s case, he needs to hang on to the ball when it’s right in his hands. Stoner hopefully will be back to 100 percent and be able to play at a higher level.
5. HANDLE BEING ON THE ROAD Indiana has not fared well on the road in Big Ten play in Kevin Wilson’s IU career. He only has one Big Ten road win and that was against Illinois. This is the first of a two-game road swing that will be IU’s final two road games of the season. The other is at Ohio State so if IU wants to get a conference road win this would be the one.
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