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2018 Big Ten Preview: Indiana Hoosiers

Location: Bloomington, Indiana

2017 Record: 5-7 (2-7 Big Ten)

Head Coach: Tom Allen

2018 record: 3-1

All time record vs. Ohio State: 12-73-5

What has happened thus far in 2018:

The Indiana Hoosiers (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) opened its 2018 campaign with wins against Florida International, Virginia and Ball State, as well as a two-touchdown loss at home to No. 21 Michigan State. The Hoosiers defeated Florida International in the season opener on the back of three touchdown passes from redshirt sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey and a pick-six from senior defensive back Jonathan Crawford. Next, the Hoosiers took down Virginia at home thanks to freshman running back Stevie Scott’s 204 yards on 31 carries. The following week, they hosted Ball State, where the Hoosiers exploded for 21 second-quarter points en route to a 38-10 victory. In the fourth week, Indiana found itself in an early 21-7 hole to the Spartans and clawed back within one point before having the door slammed in its face by a 75-yard end around for a touchdown with just over three minutes to play.

Impact Player:

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey is the clear leader of the Hoosier’s offense. Ramsey has completed 72 percent of his passes through the first four games, with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. In addition to an efficient passing game, Ramsey has shown the ability to use his legs as a weapon as well, coming in as the team’s second leading rusher, compiling 163 yards on 41 attempts. However, Ramsey does not throw the ball down the field, as evidenced by his 8.53 yards per completion, which is ranked among the lowest in the nation at No. 122. Scott is the other catalyst of the Hoosier’s offense. Scott ranks No. 21 in the nation in rushing yards per game at 101.5 per contest. On the season, Scott has already racked up over 400 yards, rushing at 5.08 yards per carry and three touchdowns.

Strengths:

The strength of Indiana comes from its defense. The Hoosiers rank No. 13 in the nation in pass defense, allowing only 156.3 yards per game through the air. Additionally, the Hoosier defense has proved to be formidable on third down, ranking No. 37 in the nation — just ahead of Georgia (No. 38) and Penn State (No. 42). The Hoosiers allow opposing offenses to convert on third downs at a 32.7 percent rate. Indiana’s defense is tied with Alabama for No. 29 in the nation with 7.5 tackles for loss per game.

Weaknesses:

Though they rank highly in a number of defensive categories, the Hoosiers are more susceptible to the run, ranking No. 86 in the NCAA. However, the main weakness of the 2018 Indiana squad is clearly the offense. Since the departure of former head coach Kevin Wilson — now the co-offensive coordinator at Ohio State — in late 2016, the offense has gone from a great strength of the program to one of its primary concerns. Ramsey’s inability to throw the ball down the field — instead opting for mostly underneath routes — hurts the big-play ability of the offense. Additionally, the loss of Simmie Cobbs Jr. — Indiana’s top wide receiver last year — to the NFL has certainly hampered Indiana’s aerial attack.

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