Hoosiers mum on Jordan Howard’s availability #iufb

NEW YORK — Duke’s biggest injury situation is clear.

Meanwhile, the biggest injury question facing Indiana may not be answered until the Pinstripe Bowl kicks off Saturday afternoon.

The Hoosiers know they won’t have to worry about Blue Devil All-American safety Jeremy Cash, who has been ruled out after undergoing wrist surgery last week. But the team reamins tight-lipped about whether star running back Jordan Howard will be available following recurring knee problems suffered late in the regular season.

As part of his team policy, only Kevin Wilson is the only member of the program allowed to discuss injury news with reporters. Wilson isn’t scheduled to meet the media until Friday afternoon, and during Thursday’s media day event at Yankee Stadium, both offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and quarterback Nate Sudfeld were mum about Howard’s status.

“We’ll find a way to run the ball whether Jordan Howard is out there, or not,” Johns said. “With the offensive line that we have and the quarterback that we have, we feel we can be successful with whoever is (playing) receiver or running back.”

Howard underwent a knee scope procedure during the week leading into IU’s regular season finale at Purdue on Nov. 28. The junior, who has missed all or parts of five games due to injuries this season, suffered his current knee injury during IU’s loss to Michigan on Nov. 14 and most of the team’s next two games.

After earning All-Big Ten first team status with his 1,213 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns this season, Howard’s availability would seem to give Indiana a clear edge against Duke, which lost four of its final five regular season games.

In a photo posted to his personal Twitter account earlier this week, IU running backs coach Deland McCullough shared a photo of Howard wearing shorts and shoulder pads while standing alongside other members of his position group. Last week, Wilson expressed optimism that Howard might be ready by Saturday, but stopped short of declaring him available.

“The last two weeks of the season, and a few other times during the year, we had to play without him,” Sudfeld said. “Devine Redding is more than capable. We have a good committee of backs. Sure, we’d love to have Jordan. He’s a game-changer, but the guys behind him do a great job, as well.”

Sudfeld, meanwhile, is dealing a bit with the unknown during his final preparations for the Blue Devils’ secondary. A week ago, Duke ruled out Cash, a three-time All-American and consensus selection this season. Cash, a senior and team captain, finishes his career with 333 tackles, 38 stops for loss, eight sacks, six interceptions, nine forced fumbles, 15 breakups and 15 quarterback pressures.

Cash will be replaced at safety by Corbin McCarthy, who isn’t expected to be the same kind of nuisance in the Hoosiers’ backfield that Cash would have been. In 28 career games, including four starts, McCarthy has 46 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, one sack and one pressure.

“(McCarthy) is a very good player, as well,” Sudfeld said. “Obviously, losing an All-American is tough. He’s an All-American for a reason, but I don’t think they necessarily have an advantage (working with the unknown). They’re going to do what they do in terms of blitzes and coverages. Maybe they’re not gonna fit their Sam backer in the box as much as they did with Cash, but they’ll do what they do, for the most part.”

One comment

  1. Thanks guys for the updates on football. I am like a kid waiting on this football game. I remember watching Indiana bowl games regularly with my dad as a kid. I wish I could afford to go. One day! Merry Christmas and Go Hoosiers!

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