Ohio State at Indiana
Thursday, 5 pm PT - ESPN
CRIS Opener: 53
CRIS Current: 56.5
The Indiana Hoosiers certainly weren’t an Under team in the Kevin Wilson era. Wilson emphasized pushing the pace on offense, and the Indiana defense paid the price, allowing at least 33 points per game in the first five years that Wilson was in Bloomington.
That all changed last year. First year defensive coordinator Tom Allen actually had some talent to work with and he crafted a truly dramatic improvement . After allowing 38 points and 510 yards per game in 2015, the Hoosiers allowed only 27 points and 380 yards per game last year.
The Indiana defense is primed to be even better in 2017. Allen is now the head coach, and the team has taken a ‘defense first’ mentality throughout camp. Indiana returns nine starters on their stop unit, seven of them seniors. Expect the Indiana defense to be improved once again in 2017; their best defense in more than a decade.
Kevin Wilson is now Ohio State’s offensive coordinator, and, surprise, surprise, he’s looking to go uptempo. As we’ve seen so many times in college football, the first few games in a new, fast paced offense aren’t necessarily pretty to watch, particularly in the red zone.
And let’s not forget how far this offense fell last year with JT Barrett behind center. Ohio State closed out the season like this: They scored 17 points on 310 yards of offense in a one point win over 3-9 Michigan State. They scored one TD in regulation against Michigan – on a four-yard drive, following a Wolverines fumble. And then they were shut out by Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. The talent is there for Wilson and Urban Meyer to work with, but the execution has not been there. I’m not convinced that changes in Week 1.
While this is Indiana’s best defense in a decade plus, it might be their worst offense in a decade as well. The Hoosiers suffered major graduation losses on their offensive line, likely to start three sophomores and no seniors. Their best receiving playmaker, Simmie Cobbs, is awaiting word on a possible suspension after getting arrested over the summer. It’s ‘running back by committee’, without a standout talent. And Hoosiers QB Richard Lagow lacks the mobility to scramble out of pressure against the Buckeyes fearsome pass rush. Put it all together and we can expect a relatively low scoring affair that stays Under the total.