Players to Watch: Ohio State

Here are two players to keep an eye on Saturday against Ohio State. One of them make his debut as a player to watch.

With every game Indiana plays this season, we’ll take a look at a few players that we think could be key contributors in the upcoming game. Here are the key players for the Ohio State game.

OFFENSE

Tevin Coleman

I’ve said this before with players to watch this season but you could basically use the same guys over and over. For a long time it was Nate Sudfeld and Tevin Coleman. Zander Diamont or Shane Wynn have also been featured. But the reality with this game is that Coleman has to get over 100 yards rushing and score a couple of touchdowns for Indiana to have any chance. And he has to do it against a good Ohio State defense. At times this season, Coleman has struggled coming out of the gate. He had just a handful of yards against Rutgers in the first quarter last week before busting loose in the second and third quarters. Today, he needs to establish himself early. If he doesn’t, then very likely the offense stalls. And if the offense stalls, it will be difficult to get the early rhythm that is required for the Hoosiers to have any chance to hang around today.

There are two numbers that Coleman is looking at moving forward: 128 and 322. Coleman is 128 yards away from setting a new single season rushing record. He has 1,678 yards on 214 carries. The record is 1,805 by Vaughn Dunbar in 1991. The 322-yard number is how many yards Coleman needs to go over 2,000 yards in a season. If you do that, you just put an exclamation point on the season. If Coleman can’t get the 128 today, he needs to get enough so that he still has a shot at 2,000 when IU faces Purdue next week. For a guy who is coming off a 307-yard performance last week, the thought of getting 322 over the next two games is not out of the question.

DEFENSE

Antonio Allen

Big time players live for big games. While it’s not a big game in terms of IU’s record, it’s always a big game when you play on a big stage like the Hoosiers will see today at Ohio Stadium.

Antonio Allen has quietly had a pretty strong sophomore season for the Hoosiers. He has 57 tackles which is second on the team behind T.J. Simmons. He has 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack. But the thing you think about when Allen is involved is that he’s going to put a big hit on somebody.

Big hits in games like this can be really important because they can help make a statement. Indiana needs to find a way to get Ohio State off the field today and a big hit by a player like Allen could have a major impact especially if he can do it early in the game as the Hoosiers are trying to hang around against a powerful Ohio State offense.

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