So what do fans need to know about the Hoosiers? We checked in with former Ohio State beat writer Kyle Rowland, who now works for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and covers Indiana and Purdue sports, for more.
1. Gotta start with an obvious one: What makes Tevin Coleman so good?
He's definitely the real deal. There was a time I thought he was better than Melvin Gordon. That doesn't seem to be the case now, though he may have similar numbers if he ran behind Wisconsin's offensive line. Anyway, Coleman is the total package. He's fast, shifty, and while he isn't huge, he's deceptively tough. His M.O. is outrunning defenders and being elusive, but he can also run over players. It's cliche to say running backs are a threat to score whenever they get past the first line of defense. However, for Coleman, it's the truth. Gashing defenses for long runs is his trademark, and once he gets past the D-line, look out. Indiana is not going to beat Ohio State. That is clear. But I think Coleman could have a pretty big game.
2. Zander Diamont finally got above 100 yards passing last week, throwing for 179 yards and a TD at Rutgers. Is the true freshman QB settling in, finally?
Sort of. He certainly looked more comfortable last week and, as you mentioned, finally had some productivity. That also speaks to just how inefficient he was before, when 179 yards and a touchdown is praised. In time, I think Diamont will be solid. He put up some big-time numbers in high school in Southern California. Keep in mind that he was going to redshirt this season and was the fourth-stringer before IU's quarterback disaster. So he's certainly not ready to play yet. Experience has helped, though, and that's what you saw last week. He's played a handful of games now, which has settled him down in the pocket. It also doesn't hurt when you're handing off to Coleman. It's not a coincidence that both had good games last week.
3. Is there much hope at all for Indiana's defense against the Buckeye offense in this one?
No. I don't really think many teams in the country could stop Ohio State right now. The Buckeyes might not beat Alabama or Florida State, but rest assured they'd put up points. Indiana's defense has improved from last season's historically woeful unit. New defensive coordinator Brian Knorr switched the Hoosiers' scheme from a 4-3 to 3-4 and is really working on the mental aspect of the game. IU is such a fragile program. When things go wrong, there tends to be a "here we go again" attitude and everything spirals out of control. That's somewhat been the case since Nate Sudfeld's injury. I just can't envision Indiana slowing down J.T. Barrett's arm and legs - or the legs of Ezekiel Elliott and the other Buckeye tailbacks. The cupboard is still pretty bare on that side of the ball.
4. What would have to happen for Indiana to have a chance to win this game?
It'd be an all-time upset. Coleman would have to bust off several long touchdown runs, Diamont would have to play the game of his life and Indiana's defense would need multiple turnovers that result in points. And that still might not be enough. The talent gap is way too big here. Indiana certainly has some nice pieces, but it's a year or two away from an upset of this magnitude being possible. If Sudfeld was the QB, it could be an unlikely possibility -- if that makes sense.
5. What's the feeling as far as Kevin Wilson's job security at this point with yet another bowl-less season winding down? Could this team have made a bowl had Nate Sudfeld stayed healthy?
Most people believe Wilson is safe. The current AD hired him, and many think the injury to Sudfeld will buy Wilson another year. He is what he is, though. Four years, no bowl game, little in the way of wins. There are some good young, up-and-coming coaches out there that I'd be tempted to go after. To answer the second part, I think Indiana probably would be a in a bowl. Penn State and Purdue are for-sure wins if Sudfeld is the quarter. That gets them to five. Michigan certainly would have been winnable.