After back-to-back losses against top 10 ranked teams this Saturday with a trip to Northwestern.
Here are 10 takeaways from today's press conference with head coach Kevin Wilson.
1. THE DETAILS: Indiana (3-3, 1-2) travels to Evanston on for a 12-noon ET kickoff on Saturday against a Northwestern team that has won two of its last three to even up its season record at 3-3. BTN will broadcast the game with play-by-play announcer Scott Graham and color analyst J Leman.
2. NOTES: This is the first meeting between the two schools since 2012. Seven of the last night games between the programs has been decided by seven points or less.
3. PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Coach Wilson announced the players of the game for the Hoosiers from the loss to Nebraska.
Wide receiver Mitchell Paige earned it for the offensive side after catching nine passes for 101 yards. No others received a championship level performance label but singled out for hard play were freshmen OLs Coy Crunk and Brandon Knight, OL Wes Martin, TE Danny Friend
Safety Jonathan Crawford got the nod on the defensive side after accumulating five tackles and picking off a Tommy Armstrong pass.
“(Patrick) Dougherty was really strong, Ralph Green was very productive, Nate Hoff and Greg Gooch. Those four were recognized for championship level performances. Then Marcus Oliver at linebacker and three safeties with (Jonathan) Crawford, Marcelino Ball and Chase Dutra.”
4. NOT A “CLEAN” OFFENSE - Kevin Wilson said during the press conference, later saying the “offense is a bit fragmented right now.”
Never is that more apparent than in Indiana’s embarrassing 9.1 percent (1-for-11) fourth down conversion rate.
Wilson pointed out that Indiana has three receivers that are part of the top 12 in the conference, a back that is sixth in rushing and a quarterback now second statistically.
“We have some guys that individually are productive but playing as a group, that is what we’re talking about.”
5. PLAY CALLING. Wilson said he needed to “clean up the play calling.” Later he added that it was a balance between keep it simple for younger guys like Coy Cronk and Brandon Knight versus the more complicated play calling.
6. EMERGENCE OF TEGRAY SCALES - the Hoosier junior linebacker is second now in the Big Ten in total tackles after his fourth straight game with double digits in tackles. While some of his totals come from the new 4-2-5 alignment, he drew some praise from the staff.
“Tegray has responded and played the way I thought he would,” Indiana defensive coordinator Tom Allen said. “After I spent some time with him this spring I knew he was a special player.”
7. WILDCAT TURNAROUND - Allen pointed to the improved play of quarterback Clayton Thorson as the biggest reason for the recent turnaround for Northwestern which is coming off a 54-40 win at Michigan State.
“When you go through the film and watch those first few games and then watch the last couple, the biggest thing that sticks out to me is the play of the quarterback,” Allen said.
Northwestern’s defense has struggled against the pass this season but Wilson said his offense will still try to go with a balanced attack on Saturday.
8. TWO BIG WEAPONS TO WORRY ABOUT - Hoosier defense focused on Austin Carr and Justin Jackson (per Crawford comments). Wilson said Jackson was “a player we recruited really hard.” The running back leads the league now with 116.3 yards per game over the ground.
Carr is a conference leading 43 receptions and has 595 total yards receiving with eight touchdowns.
9. DAN FEENEY UPDATE - Wilson said that his All-American guard is doing more this week but wasn’t ready to say he’ll return this weekend.
10. QB RICHARD LAGOW AT THE HALFWAY POINT - “He’s gaining on it,” Wilson said. “He’s practiced well. We’ve had a few more turnovers than we’d like to have.”
Earlier the coach pointed out that pick-sixes have very much contributed to two of the three Hoosier losses to this point.