4 storylines for IU’s game at Rutgers

1. Romping over Rutgers
That’s what each of the Scarlet Knights’ past three opponents have done. Can the Hoosiers make it four in a row? IU throttled Rutgers last season, 41-0, and posted the program’s largest margin of victory against a conference team since a 42-point win over Northwestern in 1990. At the time, that contest last November was a must-win game for the Hoosiers in their (ultimately failed) pursuit of bowl eligibility. This season’s rematch is similarly crucial for an IU program seeking to separate itself from league also-rans. It may also be an occasion to release any lingering frustration from last week’s disappointing result in the Big Ten-opening loss to Michigan State. IU is clearly the more talented team in this matchup. It needs to play like it.

2. Injury situation
The Hoosiers emerged from last week’s game a bit hobbled. Neither receiver Luke Timian nor defensive tackle Jacob Robinson played in the contest, while both receiver Whop Philyor and hybrid safety Cam Jones got dinged against the Spartans. Which of these four will be available at Rutgers? Or, perhaps more importantly, can Indiana gift all four an extra week of rest and still score the victory? IU coach Tom Allen classified Timian, Philyor and Jones as “gametime decisions,” while stating that Robinson, who was injured in practice last week, is “week-to-week.” If Jones is unable to play, IU will dip further into its reserves and potentially play both Bryant Fitzgerald and Jamar Johnson at the hybrid spot while starter Marcelino Ball serves a first-half suspension stemming from last week’s targeting ejection.

3. Response from ground game
Indiana wasn’t able to get a push against Michigan State, the nation’s top rush defense. But Rutgers won’t — or, at least, shouldn’t — pose nearly the same problems. The Hoosiers are going from facing the Big Ten’s top unit against the run to meeting the league’s worst. Rutgers is dead last in the Big Ten, having allowed 220 rushing yards per game. Opponents have rushed for 5.6 yards per carry and nine total touchdowns through four games. Indiana running back Stevie Scott is a former Rutgers commit.

4. Waking up Westbrook
Last week, it was Whop Philyor who broke out with a banner game. Could Nick Westbrook be next? Westbrook has yet to be used to his potential this season, entering the weekend with 11 catches for only 98 yards through the first four games. Indiana needs to do a better job of opening up its passing attack, getting Westbrook — and fellow wideout Donavan Hale — more involved as Big Ten play continues. This could be as good of a weekend as any to get things going in that regard, lining up against a Rutgers pass defense that has yielded nine total touchdowns and 214 yards per game.

8 comments

  1. Rutgers University is also the team that came back from twenty-eight points down (or whatever it was) in the second half to beat IUFB not so long ago. Remember, there are NO easy wins for IUFB; and staff had better not let the players forget that, either.

  2. This isnt that Rutgers team that team was a bowl team this one isnt that team had a senior at QB this one has a freshman who has 1 td and 6 int’s its kinda silly to compare the 2

  3. Has nothing to do with Rutgers. Has everything to do with IU. IU is the only football team through the years I have ever seen while kicking a PAT the other team scores 2 points more than once. KY fake punt from about their own 20 yardline and score about an 80 yard TD. Beware. It’s IU football.

  4. Gawdalmighty,

    Three and one. A highly ranked defense, a controversy because we have more than one quarterback, more skill players than we’ve seen in a blue moon, two deep everywhere, and the commentary never changes.

    Okay, it is a flawed team. It’s still appears to be the best team we’ve seen in a while.

  5. “Three and one”….One legit team. Three cupcakes. Even if you consider Ball State a moderately decent opponent, they were coming off of a heart-wrenching loss that mentally and physically taxed them.

    “A quarterback controversy because we have more than one quarterback.” It’s not a controversy because we haven’t seen enough of Penix to make it one. A controversy would require something near an adequate sample set to form strong debates/opinions on each side based on qb’s strengths and shortcomings in games. We merely know there is a very talented kid on the bench who is being saved for a kitchen fire.

    “More skill than we’ve seen in a blue moon.” Howard and Coleman account for a very short blue moon cycle.

    “Two deep everywhere”….. The final tally in wins and losses will tell us if it was meaningful depth or anything close to justify catchphrases like “breakthrough.” Slightly better depth is good. Much higher levels of talent at key positions(e.g. quarterback) may prove much more important when utilizing general depth. Going into the second levels of your depth means little if called plays are only a function of lower talent at key positions.
    And the new freshmen redshirt rules are making us appear deeper (as with all teams).

    “Gawdalmighty”….I always thought you professed to not be a religious man?
    Until we take down someone worthy from our conference (OSU, Michigan, MSU @ home, or PSU)…we remain inferior football with allmightygaudy shelved chrome helmets(at least, I hope they remain shelved until we beat somebody deserving to be called “somebody” beyond our lowest bars of competition).

  6. This is a game IU needs to come out and play their game and take care of their business. This IU team has done that better than any team IU has had for a while. I don’t expect to see a flat team come out for Rutgers. There are too many young hungry players for that to be much of a chance but as VT found out losing to a 0-3 Old Dominion you never know.

  7. When your team needs to dig out of a rut, play Rutgers.

    They may look like football field mice, but they’re actually Rutgerbils.

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