Indiana is talking Big Ten title game.
OK, the Hoosiers (3-5, 1-3 Big Ten) aren’t doing that, but the Twitterverse has pondered the possibility of Indiana in the title game on Dec. 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It would take the Hoosiers winning their final four games, beginning this weekend against Iowa (4-4, 2-2) at Memorial Stadium, and then Wisconsin losing a few games, including its head-to-head meeting with at Indiana on Nov. 10.
Keep in mind, this is internet musing. The Hoosiers just snapped an 11-game Big Ten losing streak last weekend at Illinois. The victory also ended a five-game losing streak this season. No, the Hoosiers aren’t thinking title game, but they are thinking positively.
The victory also was IU coach Kevin Wilson’s first in the Big Ten in his two seasons in Indiana.
“It was good, but I think they expected it,” Wilson said when asked about the lockerroom afterward. “You want to get used to that feeling, and the best way to get used to it is prepare. We’re trying to be a winning team all of the time. We’ve been doing a lot of things right. It’s nice to get a Saturday scoreboard go our way.”
Indiana isn’t perfectly built, but it does come with a few of the components you need to win a November Big Ten football game.
– Center Will Matte is a three-year letterwinner. He’s 6-2, 292 and a total glue guy in the middle of IU’s O-line.
“We talked about it all week, chipping away,” Matte said after Illinois. “We’ve been pretty close, but just to finally get over that hump is real nice. Now we just have to keep the momentum rolling into next week.”
– Defensive tackle Adam Replogle is working his way toward some all-Big Ten recognition. He leads the Hoosiers with 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He has 13.5 career sacks from the defensive tackle position.
“He and Will Matte are pretty special,” Wilson said. “They play in the middle of all the muck. They don’t stand out like a quarterback or a linebacker or tailback, so when your leaders are right in the middle of the fight, they’re not as flashy. They don’t catch your radar blip as much as they should.”
– Indiana will go into a game against Iowa with the bigger, stronger and more experienced running back for the first time since Anthony Thompson’s days in the late 1980s.
Junior Stephen Houston scored three TDs against Illinois, two rushing and one receiving. It was the ninth straight game in which Houston has scored at least one TD, the longest streak for a Hoosier since James Hardy’s run of nine games stretching from the 2006 season into 2007.
“It’s a blessing,” Houston said. “Hopefully I can keep it going.”
The Hoosiers called on their third QB this season when freshman Nate Sudfeld took over after starter Cameron Coffman was benched following a first-quarter interception. Sudfeld’s second scoring pass, a 17-yarder to Shane Wynn midway through the fourth quarter, put the Hoosiers up 31-17 and finished Illinois.
They replaced sophomore Tre Roberson, who suffered a season-ending broken leg in week 2. You remember Roberson from his 281-yard performance at Kinnick Stadium last season.
Sudfeld has seven TD passes with no interceptions this season.
“We’re not surprised by this,” Sudfeld said. “We feel like we can do this every week. We’re going to build off it. It’s going to make practice that much more fun, it’s going to make meetings that much more fun. We expect this out of ourselves, we can do this every week.”
Yes, it’s probably safe to say that last week’s victory took some pressure off the IU program. And now the Hoosiers are having fun.
Indiana’s stat leaders
|Passing Yards:||C. Coffman||1384|
|Passing TDs:||C. Coffman||7|
|Rushing Yards:||S. Houston||521|
|Rushing TDs:||S. Houston||9|
|Receiving Yards:||C. Latimer||532|
|Receiving TDs:||S. Wynn||6|
Indiana in the national rankings
|Offense (FBS Rank)|
|Passing Yards:||2293 (34)|
|Rushing Yards:||1254 (70)|
|Points per game:||34.3 (33)|
|Yards per game:||443.4 (37)|
|Field Goals:||11 (30)|
|Defense (FBS Rank)|
|Passing Yards:||1728 (47)|
|Rushing Yards:||1780 (111)|
|Points per game:||29.9 (82)|
|Yards per game:||438.5 (95)|
|Field Goals:||10 (76)|
Iowa stat leaders
|Passing Yards:||J. Vandenberg||1537|
|Passing TDs:||J. Vandenberg||3|
|Rushing Yards:||M. Weisman||661|
|Rushing TDs:||M. Weisman||8|
|Receiving Yards:||K. Davis||486|
|Receiving TDs:||J. Cotton||1|
Iowa in the national rankings
|Offense (FBS Rank)|
|Passing Yards:||1537 (102)|
|Rushing Yards:||1070 (92)|
|Points per game:||20.4 (107)|
|Yards per game:||325.9 (105)|
|Field Goals:||15 (8)|
|Defense (FBS Rank)|
|Passing Yards:||1572 (22)|
|Rushing Yards:||1268 (62)|
|Points per game:||21.1 (30)|
|Yards per game:||355.0 (40)|
|Field Goals:||13 (110)|