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Rutgers vs Indiana: Complete Opponent Preview

Maryland v Indiana Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This week, Rutgers returns to the friendly confines of High Point Solutions Stadium to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. Rutgers is coming off a heartbreaking last minute loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and Indiana is coming after a big win against the Maryland Terrapins. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s opposition:

Brief Overview

S&P+ Ranking: 46th, to view click here

Head Coach: Kevin Wilson (24-45, fifth season at IU)

2016 Record: 4-4 (2-3)

Current Streak: W1

SB Nation Site: Crimson Quarry

One Big Thing

Despite the loss, Rutgers moved the ball well against Minnesota, and scored more than twice as many points than they had scored in their last three games combined. Indiana is looking to get bowl eligibility, and a loss to Rutgers on Saturday puts that in jeopardy, as they would have to win at least two of their three remaining games against Penn State, Michigan, and Purdue.

Opponent Depth Chart

Key Offensive Information

The Hoosier offense sreally exploded last week against Maryland. After being held to no more than 34 points against the likes of FIU and Wake Forest, the Hoosier offense exploded for 45 points last week against the Terps. They are best against weaker run defenses like Rutgers, and have demonstrated that consistently. Their packages include using wide receivers as running backs, and scored on Maryland last week using a WR running a reverse. Also, they are using a three quarterback system this season with some success. JUCO transfer Richard Lagow, former starter Zander Diamont, and freshman Tyler Natee have all seen time behind center, in a system that uses them situationally in the same game. After his performance against Maryland, expect Zander Diamont to continue to get his opportunities to run the ball. He has demonstrated the ability to turn the corner and get quickly into the secondary. Once he hits that point, he is averaging seven yards per carry, which is damned good numbers!

Key Defensive Information

The defense of Indiana has been heralded this season by almost everyone. However, if you just looked at last week’s game, defense was not a strong suit of the Hoosiers. Their offense has bailed them out a couple of times, and have given up an average of more than 26 points per game this season. However, their run defense is a strength, and it will take a strong effort by the Rutgers OL to make holes for our RB and QB to rush effectively. Gio Rescigno’s ability to complete some passes and force the Indiana defense to respect his passing ability will go a long way toward being able to run the ball effectively.

Why They Are Better Than Rutgers

With two Big Ten victories this season, both against fellow B1G East members, they have demonstrated the ability to hold off comparable teams. The Hoosiers have also shown the ability to put up big points against an opponent. Against a weak Maryland run defense, they ran wild, with their back-up QB running for more than 100 yards as well as Devine Redding gathering an additional 130 yards. They are on track to be bowl eligible, and are looking at Rutgers as a must-win game. That will be their frame of mind when they play on Saturday.

Why Rutgers is Better Than Them

With the exception of last week, Indiana has demonstrated a difficulty in moving the ball once they cross the 40 yard line. Therefore, points have not come easily for them. With Gio Rescigno at the helm two weeks ago, Rutgers demonstrated some flexibility in their offense, and the running game finally opened up the passing game. If they can do that against Indiana while not committing the turnovers they did against Minnesota, they could cause some real damage to the Hoosiers.