4 storylines for Indiana’s game at Purdue #iufb

1. Jordan Howard’s availability.
Howard’s status is in serious jeopardy after he aggravated a knee injury early in last week’s win at Maryland. It was an injury Howard seemed to suffer coming out of IU’s previous game against Michigan, and it limited the junior to only three carries against the Terps. Whether or not he plays, it likely means Devine Redding and Mike Majette will continue to see plenty of work in the IU backfield. Redding is coming off the best game of his career after rushing for 130 yards last week.

2. Defensive momentum for Indiana.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Hoosiers refused to allow a bad Maryland offense to beat them last week. That effort, in which IU allowed only 170 passing yards, can be considered a small step in the right direction for a defense that has been wrecked by injuries and inadequate play over recent weeks. The Boilermakers have struggled offensively this season, but they’ll throw some skill at the Hoosiers through the work of running back Markell Jones and receiver DeAngelo Yancey. IU will also see backup quarterback Austin Appleby.

3. Another signature Sudfeld performance is needed.
With Jordan Howard expected to be limited, if not entirely unavailable, the burden once again falls on Nate Sudfeld to produce a win without his team’s most explosive player in the backfield. Sudfeld is coming off one of the best games of his career after helping IU outscore Maryland 44-7 over the final 50 minutes of action last week. He has allowed multiple receivers to develop rhythm and currently leads the Big Ten in passing yards per game (283.4), passing yards (2,834), total offense per game (286.2), total offense (2,862), and yards per attempt (8.5).

4. It’s all on the line.
The last four-plus seasons have built to this. It’s not only a chance for IU to keep possession of the Old Oaken Bucket for three consecutive seasons, but most importantly, it could provide the breakthrough performance that provides the Hoosiers with that elusive sixth win. Indiana is expected to be favored at kickoff, and it can’t afford the same maddening and slow start it turned in last week. With some early momentum and the poise to make plays at closing time, the Hoosiers could return to Bloomington tonight in position to to go bowling for the first time since 2007