4 keys to Indiana’s Big Ten opener against Maryland

1. Contain C.J. Brown: Much like last week against Missouri dual-threat quarterback Maty Mauk, Indiana can’t allow Saturday to become a story about C.J. Brown. The Maryland quarterback is at his best when given the freedom to make things happen on the ground. Brown has eight career 100-yard rushing efforts, which are the most all-time for a Maryland quarterback. The Hoosiers managed to hold Mauk to only 32 yards on 13 carries a week ago with a defensive effort that won the ball game. Brown isn’t a traditional passer and isn’t great when he’s forced to stay in the pocket. Indiana backup quarterback Zander Diamont played the part of Mauk in practice before the Missouri game, earning scout team player of the week honors. His reprisal of that role this week could have Indiana ready for what they’ll see from Brown.

2. Keep up with Maryland’s special teams: Maryland’s playmakers aren’t limited to offense. Or defense, for that matter. Receiver Stefon Diggs leads the Big Ten and ranks 10th nationally with 29.4 yards per kick return. Cornerback Will Likely leads the league and ranks second in the country with 27.5 yards per put return. Kicker Brad Craddock is a member of the Lou Groza Award watch list and has 192 career points. Indiana’s struggling kicking game needs to have its best effort to date on Saturday, when the teams could be in line to trade points up and down the field.

3. Limit big plays by Maryland playmakers: The best receiving corps in the Big Ten belongs to the new guys. Diggs and Deon Long are a pair of five-star recruits, who’ve become staples of Maryland’s offense. Add Marcus Leak to the mix and the Terps have the potential to be tough to stop through the air. Indiana’s defensive backfield appears to be the weakest area of this year’s team, so keeping that group of Maryland receivers in front could likely be the difference between a win and a loss against the Terps. Maryland is averaging only 237 passing yards per game — one more than the Hoosiers — but have the threats capable of going off at any moment.

4. Make Missouri count: Indiana’s upset of the No. 18 Tigers can only be a program changer if the Hoosiers can build off it. Long in search of football momentum, IU got started last week in Columbia and it needs to sustain it this week in Bloomington. Indiana will be able to turn the corner as a program once it proves that a win over a ranked team was no fluke. The Hoosiers can make that statement with a win in the conference opener.

7 comments

  1. Ok Meek (Miller)… so you give it away free to the Baltimore Sun and we have to pay for your negativity at the HT to read your put down of the Hoosiers? You should know one reason Dillinger never held up a Bloomington bank is because there are only two roads in and out of Bloomington and we’ll be watching both for (in and out, IND 37north and south, IND46east and west. You’ll be the decoration on the “Welcome to Bloomington” sign when the MD football team arrives.

    Did you know Jack Hackett at the Baltimore Sun? Great newspaper guy…my first boss at the old Indianapolis Times…I remember his looking at me, frowning and telling me exactly what he expected from me…. a sugar doughnut, coffee with cream and sugar, two extra bags of sugar. That’s back in the day when graduate school was someone yelling “COPY!!!!” and you had to carry lots of change for the phone booth. Jack Hackett was a monster of a man!!!! (that’s good for you, Meek).

  2. Tsao,
    I enjoyed that. We’ll have to grab coffee — or a beer — next time you’re in Bloomington. You know where to find me. We can trade stories. But no, I didn’t know Jack Hackett. I worked for some great sports editors, including Ron Fritz and Matt Bracken. That’s also where I met Chris Korman. Remember him?

  3. MM, Place a * next to #4 as it is paramount to the other 3 and/or any possible intangible for this weeks game. You know FB, I like these Friday posts of the games keys.

  4. OK Meek…just no more scouting reports…look at the above…Where in the ____ did you get those four points? Argentina’s Falkland Islands military defense plans? You know Meek, football is the game where the guys wear helmets and stuff socks on top of their shoulders and are supposed to run into each other and not cry (though I understand in your generation and the Hoosier’s OL crying just shows having achieved a ‘level of sensitivity’ appreciated by the p.c., as no doubt your mentor Doosh Dopetal smirked into your consciousness.

    But your ‘game plan’ doesn’t mention that part. Even when we accidentally knocked Brown out-of-the-game, we made the next guy look like…like….ahhh…ahh…Tre Roberson.

    Nahh Meek, we didn’t ‘fall’ to Maryland, we melted (to MD) into a fruit smoothie. Your ‘four points’ for IND were like a formula for a ‘Red’ state selling the New York Times their ‘winning strategy’ and explaining it on Fox News .

    Yeah, I’ll buy you a beer (you old enough?) or a smoothie, Meek; but it will have to be the next time you come to the BIG CHI…just let me know you’re traveling North (that’s the top part, left side of your IND highway map) on the blog and we’ll make the arrangements. Just two things; don’t go thinking I respect you or nothin’ like that, and we ain’t taking no showers at the Palmer House.

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