4 storylines for IU’s game at Minnesota

1. Minnesota’s defense is getting shredded
Nebraska pounded the Gophers on the way to its first win of the season last week, totaling 659 yards of offense and averaging 9.0 yards per play. Since starting 3-0, Minnesota has dropped each of its four conference games by a combined score of 173-86, allowing an average of 43.3 points to league opponents. Big Ten teams are averaging 503 yards per game and 7.2 yards per play against the Gophers. Minnesota is also allowing 5.19 points per trip inside the 40-yard line, ranking the Gophers 115th nationally.

2. On the lookout for Carter Coughlin
The Big Ten’s sack leader calls Minnesota home. Coughlin’s eight sacks pace the conference and are tied for seventh in the country. Since moving from linebacker to rush end last season, he’s tallied 12 sacks in his past 13 games. He’s on his way to a double-digit sack season, which has only been done six times in program history — and not since Willie VanDeSteeg posted 10.5 in 2008. Of Coughlin’s 16.5 career sacks, 10.5 have come against Big Ten competition. Outside of Coughlin, Minnesota doesn’t have much more of a pass rush.

3. Keep running
Indiana’s run game regained traction last week against Penn State, rushing for 224 yards and three touchdowns, while averaging nearly five yards per carry. Since conference play opened five weeks ago, IU has yet to rush for at least 100 yards in back-to-back games. That could change this week, considering Minnesota opponents are averaging 224 rushing yards per game. Last week, Minnesota missed 18 tackles while allowing Nebraska to run away with 383 yards on the ground.

4. Minnesota weather
Indiana has played in a range of weather conditions so far this season. The Hoosiers have felt the hot and muggy air of South Florida, they’ve played in the remnants of a tropical storm and they’ve battled the gusty winds that whipped through Memorial Stadium a week ago. Friday night might not be much easier, with an 80 percent chance of rain in Minneapolis. That said, it could be worse for this time of year. Temperatures, at least, are supposed to stick in the mid-to-upper 40s.