4 storylines for IU’s game vs. Iowa

1. A chance to earn a meaningful win.
A victory over Iowa would open all sorts of doors for Indiana — and would go a long way toward putting IU in good position to secure the program’s first winning season since 2007. The Hoosiers have made it obvious in recent years that they can play with teams above them in the Big Ten hierarchy. Now they need to start winning these games, especially on their home field. IU gave Ohio State a good fight last week, just as it seems to do every year. At some point, good efforts need to start translating into good wins. This would be a good time to start.

2. Sack attack.
Saturday will be another test for Indiana’s offensive line. The Hawkeyes are second in the Big Ten with 18 sacks in five games. Ohio State has produced a conference-best 22 sacks in six games. Iowa defensive end Anthony Nelson posted a career-high three sacks last week at Minnesota and leads the league with 5.0 on the year. Fellow end A.J. Epenesa is tied for third in the Big Ten with 4.0 sacks.

3. Tracking the tight ends.
Iowa’s tight end duo of Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson deserves attention this weekend. Fant is a great option in the red zone for quarterback Nate Stanley. The junior has 17 career touchdown receptions, more than any other tight end in program history. And Iowa has had some darn good tight ends over the years. Together, Fant and Hockenson are Iowa’s most productive receivers and have combined for 483 yards on 37 catches with six scores.

4. Strengthening the ranks
Indiana coach Tom Allen sounded optimistic this week that help is on the way. Receiver Luke Timian hasn’t missed each of the past three games, while Whop Philyor has missed the past two. Both have been dealing with unspecified injuries. But in reading between the lines, Allen seemed cautiously hopeful on his weekly radio show that those two — and others! — are close to returning. IU would also benefit from a healthy Coy Cronk at left tackle.

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