Between 2019 and 2020, Indiana Football achieved an almost unprecedented 14-7 success for her. Since then they have gone 6-17. How could it go so wrong so quickly?
Lots of reasons, honestly. Indiana had a capable offensive system with a very, very good quarterback in those two years. Former offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan’s playcalling left a lot to be desired in 2021 as injuries piled up and losses kept coming, while the deterioration on the offensive line that had occurred since Allen’s hiring really caught up with the program.
Indiana transitioned to a new offensive system under Walt Bell this year, but it was and is largely unsuitable for the Hoosiers’ current roster and new recruits. Players and positional groups that were meant to be strengths have fallen away. It’s not just one thing, but multiple factors that haven’t been resolved.
It’s been a strange year for IU, starting the season with a win over Big Ten West contender Illinois and then winning their next two. After that 3-0 start, however, they didn’t win another game against an exhausted Michigan State until last Saturday. Did IU Illinois score at just the right time, or does that 4-7 record hide a better team?
I really don’t understand how Indiana won the Illinois game. Bell put together a well-designated drive and quarterback Connor Bazelak feasted on under-routes thanks to soft reporting late in the fourth quarter before Allen did what he does best (at least sometimes) and triggered a defensive stop for the game.
The “better team” argument has some merit, with Indiana having odds against both Maryland and Rutgers in the fourth quarter, but this is still a team that consistently makes game-winning errors and unforced errors that allow an opponent to win to make moves.
For those of us who may not have watched many IU games this season, who are the stars on offense and defense this year? Who could cause trouble for Purdue?
On offense, the running game got off its best performance of the year against Michigan State behind running backs Shaun Shivers and Josh Henderson, while quarterback Dexter Williams II added a scrambling ability and readiness Indiana hasn’t really seen since Peyton Ramsey in 2019 would have. who I’m going to mention now is the last Hoosier quarterback to bring the bucket back to Bloomington.
On defense, watch out for a possible return from star linebacker Cam Jones and star rookie jack-of-all-trades Dasan McCullough. Tiawan Mullen, while definitely not perfect this year, is still capable of playing for Indiana in the high school.
Somehow Indiana defeated Michigan State even though Dexter Williams II passed just 31 yards on 2/7. What’s going on at the QB position? IU still scored 39 points in that game with double overtime. The team rushed for 257 yards. Can Purdue expect more of the same this week?
Yes, Dexter Williams II is likely to be Indiana’s guy at quarterback for the foreseeable future. He has speed and a strong arm. If the running game gives Purdue enough fits that the Boilermakers start stacking the box, maybe Bell could try to let Williams II throw the ball deep.
While Purdue is currently a favorite to win this game, we Purdue fans know that Purdue can be a dangerous position in a must-win game. As you write the story of the IU win on Saturday night, what went right for the Hoosiers?
Indiana would have kept the ball out of Aidan O’Connell’s hands with strong groundplay and forced attacks on the defense if absolutely necessary. O’Connell has consistently performed well in this game under Brohm’s offense, and Indiana is well aware of that.
It’s a rivalry game so it’s difficult to choose your rival, but what do you think the outcome of this game will be including a score?
As fun as it would be to stall Purdue and get Indiana *a* momentum back, I just don’t see it.
I think Purdue is vulnerable and not a safe bet, but I’d still prefer them to win knowing how Brohm’s plan has troubled Allen in the past. Something like 24-10 feels appropriate.