Howard wants to prove he belongs in Big Ten #iufb

Jordan Howard doesn’t believe he’s done enough.

Even after punishing Indiana’s non-conference opponents, after briefly leading the nation in rushing yards and after endearing himself to a new fan base.

The Hoosier running back is not satisfied.

“I wanted to prove I can play in this conference,” Howard said after rushing for 174 yards and two touchdowns Saturday against Iowa. “I feel like I still have to prove myself because I missed some games.”

If Howard is still truly bothered by the ankle injury that forced him to the sideline for two and a half weeks at the beginning of the Big Ten season, he isn’t showing it.

Between his first two games back, Howard has 252 yards and is averaging 7.6 yards per carry on his 33 touches

“Jordan’s hitting the hole well,’ IU quarterback Nate Sudfeld said. “(He’s) breaking a few tackles.”

Howard captured the edge more often that he thought he’d be able to against the Hawkeyes, who entered last week’s game allowing only one rushing touchdown on the season and an average of 85.8 yards per contest.

It was a good test for what he’ll see this weekend against No. 15 Michigan, which paces the conference with only 80.6 yards allowed per week. The Wolverines have given up only five touchdowns on the ground and are holding opposing running backs to 2.6 yards per carry.

“We’ve spent some time talking about that from a mindset of how we approached last week, we have to approach this week, as well,” IU offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said. “It’s going to be the same tight battle. These guys are outstanding against the run, as was Iowa. You go back-to-back weeks of strong, physical Big Ten football play. For us, the mindset has got to be the same.”

Howard, meanwhile, is still working to regain the conditioning he lost to almost three weeks on the bench.

That was an issue on the Hoosiers’ last drive of the third quarter, when Howard touched the ball seven times and helped take Indiana deep into Iowa territory. After the seventh of those runs — a 15-yard carry that gave IU a first down at the Hawkeyes’ 12-yard line — Howard motioned to the bench that he needed a break and left the field. Four plays later, Indiana settled for a 28-yard field goal to cut Iowa’s lead to 21-20, but it was a situation where the Hoosiers really needed a touchdown.

“I wouldn’t think he’d come out unless he needed a blow,” Johns said. “… You can say that his conditioning level is maybe not the same, but when you’re a Big Ten back and you’re getting beat on play after play, you’re going to get tired, you’re going to get worn down regardless of what kind of shape you’re in. For him to come back (from injury) at a high level is not surprising. It’s what great players do.”

For the season, Howard’s 961 yards are good for second in the Big Ten, and his 6.1 yards per carry rank third in the league. Of his 158 carries, 48 of those — or 30 percent — have resulted in a first down or a score, and 143 of those carries (90.5 percent) are for positive yardage.

So while Howard may not believe he’s done enough, the numbers say otherwise.

“He doesn’t have to prove anything to me,” Johns said. “I’ve seen what he can do. I see it every week. I see it in practice. He’s a great one. I think he’s one of the best in this league and I’m glad we have him on our team.”

24 comments

  1. Howard is a Big Ten back in fact one of the leading backs. I just hope he comes back next year to win the Heisman and help IU beat some of the top teams in the Big Ten. coaches are recruiting a top QB to come in and help Howard show those teams what IU can do; but I understand the pull of the NFL if he gets a high enough draft grade. I think he should look at Tevin last year coming out after one great year in the Big Ten slipping to the third round. I hope Jordan sees it is best for him to come back next year but I know only he knows what is the best choice. I love his attitude that he has more to prove.

  2. Howard has proved that he belongs in the BIG 10…He has more than enough talent to play in any league…i also hope that he comes back to IU next year and plays football…but in the Michigan game he will truly see BIG 10 running backs in De Veon Smith, Jabril Peppers and Drake Johnson…..the Michigan running backs are going to run all over the IU front seven all day long….this is going to be a ugly game….everything about this game reminds me of the old Wisconsin games of 2010 (83-20) and 2011 (59-7)….I feel that Michigan is to physical for the IU football team, i truly do hope that i am incorrect…..if the IU football team stays close in this game, then i truly do believe that Kevin Wilson has turned this football program around…everything about this game says IU gets blown out (senior day, last home game of season (no fans at the game – except Michigan fan), freshman have hit wall, facing best defense in the NCAA, veteran players are physical tired/wornout)….i am very interested in seeing how Nate Sudfeld plays in this game…Michigan has a very good secondary and a very talented team….If IU football team stays competitive in this game, than give coach Kevin Wilson his contract extension.

  3. Howard is clearly an excellent football player and kudos to our coaching staff who recruited him. They seized on an opportunity to acquire a talent ordinarily not available to a school like IU. I too hope he returns for his senior year which I think will benefit him and IU.

    As for the game with Michigan, IU79 is probably and regrettably correct in that we might be blown out. The single factor preventing this is if they are sleep walking and I don’t think Harbaugh will let that happen. However, I do not believe that CKW’s future should in any way hinge on the outcome of this game. Despite the lofty and unrealistic expectations going into this season, I don’t think anyone realistically thought we were strong enough to compete with Michigan. If we can perform at the same level we did with Iowa, that would be good…not great, but good. Then, a win at Maryland would be terrific if possible and wrapping up with a win at PU. A 5-6 win season with 1-2 B1G wins sets us up for a solid 6-7 win 2016 season and no one will doubt that we are making progress.

  4. Heisman’s are not given out to athletes who, at best, play for a mediocre team, no matter how talented and/or successful they are. The reward for Howard’s performance and talent will be his selection in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Hopefully, that will be the 2017 Draft.

    While some of us (myself included) have criticized Wilson on occasion, we should also recognize and commend him for the fact that as of this week’s rankings, IU lost to the #5 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes by a touchdown and played them close the entire game. What’s more impressive is to think that IU could have won that game if only a few key plays would have been executed better. Two narrow losses to the #1 ranked team (at the time) and the #8 ranked team (now #5) speaks well for the job Wilson has done mentally preparing his young team to compete against physically superior teams this season. Unfortunately, his team did not demonstrate the same mental toughness/discipline/focus when playing against their weaker Big Ten opponent in Rutgers. Maryland and Purdue will, to a large extent, determine Wilson’s and IU Football’s future. Let’s hope the team has learned to compete as hard against weaker teams as they have demonstrated against undefeated teams ranked in the top ten in the nation.

  5. Po, in addition to that, it looks like the Western Kentucky game is looking like a really good win. The name isn’t very prestigious, but they only have 2 losses. To us. And to LSU in the swamp. In fact, they were only down 6 late the 3rd quarter, when Fournette broke loose and ended up losing handily. They beat Vandy who almost knocked off undefeated FL in Gainsville last week. They are absolutely steamrolling though their conference right now. Wouldn’t want to play them in a bowl game this post-season.

  6. What a joke I guess no free speech allowed on the HT anymore? Sorry lynch has a better big ten record than wilson, I wish it were different.

  7. Po hes 0-5 in conference that’s as bad as it gets. Nobody cares about moral victories. I was excited when we hired coach Wilson. Hes a hell of a offensive mind and a decent recruiter. A good person, but hes a terrible hc. 6-31 in the water down big ten, unless that combined 1 win between Rutgers and Maryland makes the BT stronger? While we (rightfully) fired lynch for being 6-26 with a lot less, he played 4 teams in the top 19 2010. He lost to #15 Iowa by 5. Moral victories were not ok for him, they shouldn’t be ok with KW.

  8. Donal T, I agree with your comments about moral victories. I don’t recall writing or implying anything about moral victories. I simply said that, in spite of the increasing criticism directed at Wilson of late, his team played two top-ten teams very tough. In other words, they did not get blown out and embarrassed as former IU teams did when playing top ten ranked teams.

    Rutgers was a terrible loss. I hope these young men learned a valuable lesson from that debacle and use it as motivation to to beat Maryland and Purdue, and salvage this season. If not, it will become very difficult to justify keeping Wilson on as head coach.

  9. Podunker like you, I think it is important that IU win at Maryland and Purdue. I don’t expect either game to be easy but the team needs to show they can use their talent to win games. I hope they do win those games and would love to have them beat UM because it would make recruiting for 2016 much better as I think some 4 star players could see themselves come to IU and help us beat a couple of the top teams instead of just playing them tough. Rutgers was a brutal loss so the team needs to show not only they can play hard and tough but have learned how to win close games.

    LB Oliver is a good leader and says the team needs to get back to knowing they can win but Iowa’s first TD had their Oliver in the hole unblocked but the TB ran through the hole untouched for a 60 something TD. It wasn’t all Oliver as the DL needed to squeeze that hole making it smaller but Oliver and others have to make those plays if the defense is to improve. It was the same way OSU victimized IU with the three long runs in the second half. Howard and other players have said it ‘they want to win seven this regular season’ and that will take beating UM this week. I will be at this game despite my spine and pain being much worse this week. A win will let me put aside the pain for a while.

  10. PO and v13- With both of you guys about the last two games. Were I the AD (yes, everyone, I know that I am not the AD, hence the use of the conditional subjunctive) KW either beats Mary and Purdoo-doo or he is gone. Upsetting Mich. and then then losing to either of these beatables would not save him in my counterfactual AD universe. PO, you said it all in the last three sentences of post #4.

  11. We will not beat Michigan. We will not beat Maryland, although we should. We will beat PU and CKW will be our coach next season and the following. Next season we will win 6-7 games.

  12. 6 or 7 games what planet are you on iufan23? We don’t play d 2 schools anymore and move to a 9 game conference schedule. Have you seen this team play without Sudfeld? Compound that with losing 2 damn good starting lineman and probably Howard and we will be lucky to win 1 conference game. Its really hopeless until we can get a hc who can build defenses.

  13. Short term, toughening up the schedule may look like rough sledding ahead, but I’ve long advocated dropping the (formerly-called) D2 schools and scheduling some Power 5 teams in the pre-conf. It wouldn’t have to be a murderer’s row; Kentucky (e.g.) would be a natural rival and one of the beatables I keep babbling about. I realize there is an obsession with winning six to get to a bowl game, but I just think there’s not much learned/gained by playing four cupcakes. Of course, there really are no cupckaes for IUFB, but might as well face some “real” teams beforehand and see how we stand, we’ll being playing nine real teams in the conf. anyhow.

  14. Donald t — do you have a crystal ball about next years team??? yes, we have witness this team play without Sudfeld and it was ugly at times, but i have the beliefs that the coaching staff will develop (Zander Diamont or Austin King) a quarterback or recruit a quarterback…..as far as losing two lineman (Dan Feeney and Jason Spriggs) do to exceptional recruiting of offensive lineman (Brandon Knight, Tim Gardner, Delroy Baker and Stepaniak Simon) i do not expect the offensive line to miss a beat…the coaching staff has done an excellent job in that area of recruiting…personally do not believe Jordan Howard is going pro, needs another year of college….he might look good at IU, but on a national level he’s on the lower end of being drafted, another year of college football and he might move up in the draft….as far as next years defense, everybody will be a year older and a year better (seasoning)…will they be a great defense i doubt it, IU defense does not get that kind of recruit, the exceptional lineman or linebacker…we can only hope that the defensive will improve…i like Kevin Wilson and the present coaching staff, i believe they have done a tremendous job of trying to turn this program around…..is a record BIG 10 record of 6-31 acceptable? NO!! has this program improved since the Lynch era?? IMO YES!! an the only thing i have to go on is what i personally observe from the team, the recruits/players have been upgraded, the players/recruits still seem to be playing for this staff and the transfers are few…Kevin Wilson and his staff have recruited players (for the most part) of very good integrity…i believe this program is on the edge of becoming a middle level BIG 10 program…..Upper level program not in my life time (not possible at IU) we do not and will not provide the resources for a upper level program….IU fans and administration believes we are a basketball school (maybe true).

  15. IU79…kudos…I agree with every word of this post! And, would add that being a consistent mid level B1G program that is run with integrity is not a bad deal. I don’t see that happening for a few years yet, but I agree that we are moving in that direction and the goal, although seemingly modest, is a solid one.

  16. IU79, while I appreciate your optimism about next year’s team and Wilson’s ability to develop either King or Diamont, IU’s heavy recruiting of two other quarterbacks, one who is a top ranked JC player, suggests that Wilson is not confident that any of the three returning quarterbacks will be able to lead his offense to a winning season. We have three underclassmen QBs on the roster right now. Unless Wilson believes one or more of them are at risk of transferring after this season ends, why place so much emphasis on recruiting two more highly coveted quarterbacks? Does IU need five quarterbacks on scholarship? That seems like a lot, especially when four of them would have at least two more years of eligibility (the JC recruit and the three current sophomores). Four scholarship QBs would seem sufficient, and maybe a talented walk-on. But five scholarship QBs?

    Experience and prudence suggest that with the graduation of Sudfeld and a big chunk of IU’s Offensive line, not to mention the potential loss of Howard to the NFL, IU’s offense will struggle to be as productive next season as it has been this season. Yes, our receivers will be more experienced and physically mature, but does that fix their tendency to drop so many passes? Yes, our defense will be bigger and more experienced, but we all know they have a long way to go before being considered an average Big Ten defense. Unfortunately, Donald T’s concerns about next year’s IU team to produce a minimum of six wins is legitimate, especially with IU playing nine Big Ten games. That’s why I have stated that the next three games of this current season will have a huge impact on both Wilson’s and IU Football’s future. Wilson must win six this season in order to continue upgrading his recruiting and buy time to complete his turnaround of IU Football. Given what IU’s roster will lose after this season, it is not reasonable to expect him to make progress next season unless he wins six this season.

  17. iu79 and iufan23, Yes, a Kudo and a Bravo.
    Wilson could just as easily be looking for the backup QB for next season vs the starting QB or maybe just strengthening competition at that position. Either way it’s never a bad idea to add quality at QB. Besides many programs carry 6 scholarship QB’s because they use the last handful of rides open to take the best talent available on their target list. It is no big deal as the following year of recruiting they do not target a QB on their list at all Pretty elementary and prudence has nothing to do with it. After watching the developed improvement of Camiel this year at RT I have no fear about the future of IU’s OL with Frey’s coaching + there is a large list of damn good OL prospects on the roster. No I don’t foresee a lack of offense next year.

  18. Podunker, i agree basically with everything you and Donald T have to say…that on paper and to the eyesight that next year looks to be a struggle…..but, i had the same outlook last year about the offensive when Tevin Coleman said he was going pro….an behold we found a running back (Jordan Howard), maybe not as fast as Tevin Coleman, but just as physical or more…..but for one thing the IU coaching staff found a very good (excellent) running back to replace the departing Tevin Coleman…as far as the QB situation, you have five on scholarship now why not next year….i think Kevin Wilson is truly worried…WHY?? after the Tre Roberson and Cam Coffman fiasco, i feel he never wants to be short handed at QB (Zander Diamont – So, Austin King – RS-Fr, Danny Cameron – So, Patrick Ramsey (recruit), and Nate Boudreau – RS-Jr (say goodbye, sorry natural of the business) again….King and Diamont are at IU to stay, Nate will transfer or have scholarship removed, Patrick Ramsey has yet to sign letter of intent …and Danny Cameron ex IU football coaches son (he’s staying)…so why not try to find a JC (chad Kelly – Ole Miss) quarterback, that can come in and run your offensive…your offensive has a lot to offer…a proven running back (Jordan Howard, Devine Redding), a proven and stable offensive line and young wide receiver (Simmie Cobbs and Ricky Jones (both have bad hands but improving) but valuable Fr and So (Nick Westbrook, Camion Patrick return of J Shun Harris and Mari Hawkins) behind and pushing for starting time…i think that Coach Wilson feels that if he can find a decent quarterback that the offensive will be okay….an IMO i think it will be too!! again i am not worried about the future of IU offensive, as always it is the defensive that worries all IU fans.

  19. I’ve heard the defense is young excuse for IU football for what seems like a decade. Mangieri, Rayner and Shaw all seniors as well. Zander Diamont has about much as chance as me or you at becoming a big ten qb. Hes way too small, did you watch last season when the offense played awful without Nate the great? Its amazing people are trying to pretend the glass is half full when other team has more fans than us in the 4th quarter of a one possession game at home. If Wilson’s done a better job with the program how come he has a worst record than Lynch with more resources and better players? Every year we lose at least 1 critical game due to awful game clock management. I was at the ball st game around 3 years ago and I was yelling at them to run the clock out before we scored! Didn’t even cross coaches mind, because we are a defensive team I guess. Ball state had enough time to go down the field and kick a game winning fg. Remember the Minnesota game a couple of years ago? Rutgers game this year, its because we have a head coach that has no experience being one and doesn’t know how to end a game. I thought Wilson was a good hire, but we have tried winning with an offensive coordinator at IU,Cam Cameron. If we didn’t go 7-5 this year its never gonna happened. We have been a favorite 5 games this season, probably end up 7 because puke and Maryland are two of the worst teams in power 5 conferences.

    We are last in total defense in the big ten and yards per play. We need a HC who has a track record of having decent DEFENSES. I was wrong about Wilson and to stay we have this amazing foundation of football at Indiana now with 0 wins is absurd! 6 wins in 5 years means we are averaging 1.25 wins a year in conference! I’ll just vote with my dollars and stop supporting IU

  20. IU79 so your solution to our dead last defense is we are banking on “hope” that its better? We need real solutions to problems, not blind baseless optimism! Its year 5 we give up the most yards per play, yards a game and points per game in the big ten by far! I like coach Wilson’s offense when we have talent, fact is we are gonna have a huge drop from the 16th ranked qb coming out of high school when he leaves! The defense has and always will be the reason why we don’t go bowling. The Head coach is responsible for defense as well. We need fresh blood some type of real hope, that we could hold someone under 30 points one day. I’ll never forget when the Illinois was kicking our tail and coach hep ran over to our soft d and yelled at them for messing up. We flip the script and ended up beating them as an underdog! We got a guy saying “hell of a game” after we blow a 25 point lead to an awful rutgers team. Hopeless for any iu football fan that isn’t a scarecrow.

  21. iufan 23 6-31 in big ten is not middle big ten program. Are these people trolling? I usually can tell, but to say we have a middle level big ten program is bs. Im starting to think only me and po watch this team play.

  22. (responding to comment #2 by IU79) Wow, I’m so sorry for your crushed soul. You should inquire of a doctor whether it’s safe for you to engage in IU Football activity.

    The rest of the previous content in this post falls in the category of unnecessarily personal and distasteful regarding medications and suicide.

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