4 storylines for Indiana’s game against Western Kentucky #iufb

1. The return of Tegray Scales

Scales, who was suspended for the season’s first two games for undisclosed reasons, gives Indiana an inside linebacker capable of playing well in pass coverage and attacking Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty. IU doesn’t have a better linebacker capable of playing in space — Scales may be Indiana’s top overall defender, to boot — so his return comes at an opportune time. Scales’ availability will impact Marcus Oliver, who has two forced fumbles and one recovery through the first two games, but defensive coordinator Brian Knorr said this week that Oliver is capable of playing both weakside backer with Scales and moving over to middle backer, too.

2. Indiana’s ability to cash in on long drives

Kevin Wilson and Nate Sudfeld took turns lamenting the play calling and lack of execution in Saturday’s win over Florida International, each vowing to be better today in a projected shootout against WKU. Indiana drove seven of its 14 possessions across midfield last week, and placed the ball inside the 30-yard line on five of those trips. But the Hoosiers scored a touchdown only once on drives that began on their own side of the 50-yard line. That won’t cut it against the Hilltoppers. For as strong as WKU’s offense appears to be, its defense is suspect. The Hilltoppers are ranked third-lowest in Conference USA in total defense (486.5 yards per game).

3. How much will Leon Allen’s absence hurt WKU?

Allen, WKU’s star running back, is done for the season after suffering a nasty knee injury last week. This summer, Doughty told reporters that Allen was a better back than both Bobby Rainey and Antonio Andrews, each of whom left Western Kentucky for the NFL. The Hilltoppers became the first FBS team to have a 2,000-yard all-purpose player in four consecutive seasons when Allen tallied 2,018 yards last year, so his absence can’t be overstated. Now, WKU turns to redshirt freshman D’Andre Ferby, who scored a rushing touchdown last week, and former IU running back Anthony Davis, who is expected to share the workload in his return to Bloomington.

4. Can the Hoosiers pressure Brandon Doughty?

Kevin Wilson found more satisfaction in IU’s pass rush last week, noting that the Hoosiers did a better job of generating vertical pressure rather than slanting sideways and getting stagnant. Having Darius Latham and Ralph Green III back on the defensive line gave Indiana a noticeable boost, especially IU’s decision to move Green from defensive tackle to nose tackle for most of the FIU game. Green made an immediate impact in his return from a suspension, breaking up two passes up front, including FIU’s first of the game. Tegray Scales should also help IU infiltrate the Western Kentucky backfield and get to Doughty, who’s not known for his mobility.

One comment

  1. It will be great to have Scales back. I hope he plays early and helps the DBs in coverage. The Offense does need to finish drives and the play calling improves to help the offense finish drives. The team is making progress on both sides of the ball but needs to really improve in this game and the coming games.

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