Wilson: Decision on Howard won’t come until kickoff #iufb

NEW YORK — Jordan Howard has been a fixture at Indiana’s practices this week, but his availability for today’s Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium won’t be clear until prior to kickoff.

IU coach Kevin Wilson told reporters Friday that a final decision on Howard won’t be made until after the star running back completes pre-game warmups and tests his injured knee on the grass field before the 3:30 p.m. start.

“I’m hoping he can (play),” Wilson said. “I know he wants to, and I know he’s working as hard as he can to get out there. I guess at about 3:15 tomorrow (we’ll say), ‘Where you at?’ We’ll see.”

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 essentially missed both of the team’s final two regular season contests.

If he is able to play, the Hoosiers will gain a significant edge against a Duke program playing without All-American safety Jeremy Cash, who thrived at stopping the run. If not, IU will once again give starting duties to Devine Redding.

Howard has rushed for 1,213 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground this season. He’ll weigh his NFL Draft stock after the bowl game, and Wilson has said that the program doesn’t want to put Howard on the field if it will jeopardize his future.

But if he’s ready to go, the Hoosiers will gladly accept the boost a powerful, All-Big Ten running back can provide.

“I’m not trying to be coy,” Wilson said. “I thought he was going to play against Maryland (on Nov. 21), and he got up there and didn’t feel well. He’s practiced. He’s done a fair amount of work, but until you get out there cutting (you don’t know). We’ve not been here on a grass field and the footing — how (does) it feel and does he feel full-speed? … What’s the volume gonna be? Fortunately, those other guys can step in (if Howard can’t play).”