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2017 Big Ten football preview: Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana redshirt junior Simmie Cobbs Jr. (1) lines up prior to a play in the Ohio State- Indiana season opener. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Location: Bloomington, Indiana

2016 record: 6-7 (4-5)

Head Coach: Tom Allen

2017 record: 1-1 (0-1 Big Ten)

All-time record vs. OSU: 12-73

What has happened thus far in 2017

After former Hoosiers head coach Kevin Wilson left Bloomington, Indiana, for Columbus to join the Buckeyes as their offensive coordinator, former Hoosier defensive coordinator Tom Allen took the reins at Indiana for the 2017 season. Through two games, the Hoosiers played an excellent first half against Ohio State in their home opener, but Indiana couldn’t hold on in the second half, falling to the Buckeyes 49-21. Allen and the Hoosiers recovered from the Week 1 loss and took down Virginia, 34-17, on the road.

Impact Player

The key to success for Indiana in 2017 is its offense, and the largest threat on that side of the ball for Indiana is redshirt junior wide receiver Simmie Cobbs. After putting up over 1,000 receiving yards in 2015, the Oak Park, Illinois, native suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the first game of the 2016 season and was given a medical redshirt. A year later, Cobbs exploded out of the gate, racking up 149 receiving yards on 11 catches with a touchdown against Ohio State and adding another score in Week 2 at Virginia. As one of the more experienced members of this Hoosiers receiving corps, Cobbs will be an offensive factor and defensive headache all season.

Strengths

One of the Hoosiers’ biggest strengths in 2017 is their aerial attack, propelled by their two-quarterback rotation. Through two games, Indiana ranks 24th in the NCAA for passing offense with nearly 309 yards per game and is averaging more than six yards per attempt. Allen’s squad boasts a solid group of receivers, including Cobbs, Donavan Hale and Luke Timian, who will be threats downfield all season.

Weaknesses

A huge point of concern for Indiana this season is the lack of experience on its offensive line. Only sophomore left tackle Coy Cronk and redshirt junior left guard Wes Martin entered the season with a full season of starting experience, and the youth on the right side is a concern. The Hoosiers have allowed nine sacks through two games in 2017, and if they hope to give the program its first winning season in 10 years, protection for quarterbacks Richard Lagow and Peyton Ramsey must improve.

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