IOWA CITY, Iowa - Sadly, longtime Iowa Defensive Coordinator Norm Parker passed away earlier this year. Fortunately for the Hawkeyes, his bend-but-don't-break defense has lived on.
They've allowed just three touchdowns in 12 opponent trips inside the red zone. Their ability to stiffen up inside the 20 hasn't been lost of Indiana Coach Kevin Wilson, whose team comes to Kinnick Stadium on Saturday (11 a.m., ESPNU).
"That's not a good formula on the road. Not scoring when you get an opportunity or kicking field goals is not something that wins on the road a lot in the lifetime of football. So that'll be a challenge for our offense," he said.
The Hoosiers have scored 15 times in 19 red-zone trips. They've tallied touchdowns on 13 of those occasions, 12 times on the ground.
"They make you defend everything plus they have tempo on top of it," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said.
"(He's) really tough and hard-nosed," Ferentz said. "He's fast. He's quick."
The Hoosiers complement Coleman with senior D'Angelo Roberts, who has 359 yards and five touchdowns rushing. Overall, they rank eighth nationally with 300.00 a game on the ground.
"That's maybe a misconception about them is that they're a throwing team," Ferentz said.
Indiana can pass. Junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld completes 61.4 percent of his attempts. He averages 213.2 yards per game and has five touchdowns against two interceptions.
Shane Wynn is another in a long line of excellent Hoosier receivers during the last decade or so. The senior from Glenville, Ohio enters the contest with 26 catches for 362 yards and two scores this season. For his career, he has 159 receptions and 1,852 yards.
Wilson's offense has produced in the past. It averaged 30.8 points per game last season. It was the defense that kept IU out of a bowl as it allowed 35.3 PPG, which rated 101st nationally.
"They're playing better on defense than they did a year ago, and that is the biggest difference right now with this football team," Ferentz said.
It's relative. The Hoosiers rank 84th in country, yielding 28.6 PPG. Iowa counters that with an offense averaging 22.6 PPG (97th).
The game looks like the meeting of two different, but fairly equal teams, at least on paper. Sometimes intangibles come into play. Keep an eye on the penalties.
Iowa has been flagged the second fewest times in the country. The Hoosiers have been whistled for almost twice as many violations as this week's opponent.
Time, TV, Announcers: 11:01 a.m. CT on ESPNU with Adam Amin and John Congemi.
The Series: Iowa leads it 42-28-4 with the Hawkeyes winning four of the last five meetings.
Betting Line: Iowa opened as a 6-point favorite at the Las Vegas Mirage on Monday and the number had dropped to 3.5 on Wednesday. The total was set at 55.5.
-Indiana is 3-8-1 Against The Spread in its last 12 conference games.
-Iowa is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 conference games.
Match-up to Watch: Coleman sticks out as the obvious choice here by being the engine of Indiana's offense. Managing his output seems obvious, however.
That said, the Hawkeyes' offense can aid in that effort. And the area to attack is through the air.
Indiana ranks 43rd nationally against the run but concedes 286 yards (10.9 per completion) by pass, which ranks 110th nationally. Iowa hasn't run the ball consistently this season so tossing it around a little early could open things up for the ground game.
Take Note, Take Two: Indiana co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach William Inge played defensive end (1993-96) and began his coaching career with the Hawkeyes.
Non-Sports Related: IU grad Jared Fogle became famous as “The Subway Guy” in 1999 when he lost weight eating mainly Subway sandwiches.
Did You Know?: IU is the home of the world-famous Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, originally known as the source of the "Kinsey Reports" in the 1950s. Today's research focuses on specific issues in sexual behavior, including sexual decision-making, hook-ups and long-term relationships, condom use and errors, and hormonal influences. The research collections include artwork, films and library materials spanning centuries and cultures.
Did You Also Know?: Indiana has played 12 true and seven redshirt freshmen this season.
Indiana Wins If… it can limit big plays.
Iowa Wins If… it can control the clock on offense.
Overview: A bye week allows teams to heal up and exhale. In Iowa's case, it furnishes it with extra time to prepare for this Saturday's meeting with the Hoosiers' dynamic offense.
While that match-up might decide this contest, it's just as conceivable that it comes down to the Hawkeyes' inconsistent offense against Indiana's developing defense.
The real hope if you're rooting on the Black and Gold is that addd prep time helped gel its attack. A two-quarterback system with Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard could challenge fluidity. Or, they each could play lights out as a result of their competition.
It comes back to the Indiana defense. Seeing is believing and it still doesn't look very good.
Prediction: IOWA 27, Indiana 23