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 Old Oaken Bucket game with Purdue:
1. DON’T LET IT COME DOWN TO A FIELD GOALIf the game came down to a field goal, especially a long field goal, Purdue with kicker Paul Griggs might have a slight edge over Griffin Oakes. Their season numbers on field goals are similar. Griggs has made 13-of-16 while Oakes has hit 10-of-14. Both have been steady inside of 39 yards. Griggs has hit all six of his field goals from that distance while Oakes is 7-for-8. But Griggs is also perfect in three attempts from beyond 50 yards. He had field goals of 53 and 52 against Wisconsin and a 51-yarder against Western Michigan. Oakes hit the 58-yarder against Maryland but missed on his other two 50-yard plus attempts. It may also come down to which kicker can continually put it in the end zone.
2.DIAMONT NEEDS TO CONTINUE TO TAKE STEPSDiamont looked good against Rutgers two weeks ago, throwing for 179 yards and a touchdown. He was adequate in the first half against Ohio State but struggled in the second. But Purdue will feel a lot more like Rutgers than it does like facing a team like Ohio State in Ohio Stadium. Like was the case last week though, Diamont needs to do enough things in the passing game to give Tevin Coleman a chance in the running game.
3. HANG ON TO THE FOOTBALLThis could be looked at in two ways. The running backs need to do a good job with ball security in terms of fumbling it but more than that the receivers need to hang on to Diamont’s good throws. This has been a problem, especially on some key third down plays, for guys like J-Shun Harris, Dominique Booth, Simmie Cobbs and even senior Shane Wynn. But when you have a quarterback with a small margin for error you can’t afford to drop easy throws.
4. DEFENSE NEEDS TO BE OPPORTUNISTICIU’s ability to come up with turnovers was the reason that Indiana was able to hang around last week against Ohio State. The defense forced three first-half turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble. Nothing helps a young quarterback more than short fields to work with. The other thing the defense needs to do is put pressure on the quarterback. That could get this Purdue offense off the field.
5. SEND COLEMAN OUT THE RIGHT WAY Most people believe that Tevin Coleman will not return for his senior season. His stock likely won’t be any higher than it is right now. He has 1,906 yards with one game to go. No IU running back has ever rushed for over 2,000 yards in one season, in fact, Coleman holds the single season school record already. Coleman has had some big games this season including two weeks in a row where he has ran for 307 against Rutgers and 228 against Ohio State in the last two games. Coleman needs to go out strong and really put that school single season record at a place where it will be tough to be broken.
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