4 keys to Indiana’s game at Rutgers

1. IU needs to see further development from Zander Diamont. He authored his best game of the season last week against Penn State despite not having a win — much less 100 yards — to show for it. But Diamont has slowly progressed over each of his three games. He still panics too much when opponents bring pressure and IU coach Kevin Wilson says Diamont also tends to get too hyper when he feels overwhelmed, but he’s doing enough to instill more confidence in himself and the coaching staff. A week ago IU called 36 pass plays, out of which Diamont threw the ball 27 times. He was let down by some costly drops in big situations, but if his progress continues against Rutgers, Diamont might finally be in a position to help Indiana get over the hump.

2. Take away Leonte Carroo. The junior receiver has been the go-to threat for Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova. Carroo has accounted for nearly half of Nova’s completions over the last three games, which include losses to Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin. Over that span, Carroo has 12 catches for 260 yards, while Nova has had trouble moving the ball to other receivers with consistency. The Scarlet Knights are missing star running back Paul James, so the pressure falls on Nova to make plays through the air. He likes to target Carroo, so preventing him from getting free bodes well for another quality Hoosier defensive effort.

3. Defense must continue forcing turnovers. This will continue to be a major point of emphasis over the final few weeks of the season. Indiana’s defense recognizes it needs to help its offense in two big areas — field position and keeping games manageable. The Hoosier defenders did that last week, and had a 47-yard interception return by safety Mark Murphy stand as the team’s lone score of the afternoon. They’ve dedicated additional practice time toward turnover drills in order to generate more takeaways for a defense that has forced only nine this season. IU seemed to get the message last week in an admirable defensive effort. The question is whether or not they can back it up on the road over the next two games.

4. Get Tevin Coleman in position to break a big run. Indiana has seen three of the league’s top four rush defenses over its last three games, but Rutgers is not in the same class as Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State. The Scarlet Knights’ are No. 12 in the Big Ten against the run, yielding 191.6 yards per game and a league-worst 5.3 yards per carry. They’re likely to load the box and challenge Zander Diamont to beat them over the top — just as those three teams approached Indiana. Maybe Diamont is ready to surprise teams with his passing ability. If he is, it’ll open some much-needed lanes for Coleman to break free.

2 comments

  1. its time for the offensive line to step up in this game against Rutgers!! a win against Rutgers will be huge for this team and it all depends on the Offensive line to provide some protection for the QB and some lanes/holes for TC to run thru>>>>>GO IU

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