#71 Indiana Football 2015 Preview

Indiana Hoosiers

Overall Rank: #71
#13 Big Ten

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Indiana seemed to be on their way to a bowl game before an injury sidelined quarterback Nate Sudfeld in early October. The Hoosiers were 3-2 at the time. It was no guarantee that Sudfeld would lead this team to three Big Ten wins to get to the six win mark, but without him there was not much of a chance. Coach Kevin Wilson keeps moving IU in the right direction, but sooner or later, mostly sooner, that must result in wins.

2014 Record: 4-8, 1-7
2014 Bowl: None
Coach: Kevin Wilson (14-34 at Indiana, 14-34 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Kevin Johns, Greg Frey
Defensive Coordinator: William Inge, Brian Knorr

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Zander Diamont, QB, 133 yards
Passing: Nate Sudfeld, QB, 1,151 yards
Receiving: J-Shun Harris II, WR, 168 yards
Tackles: Antonio Allen, S, 74
Sacks: Nate Hoff, DL, 3.5
Interceptions: Chase Dutra, S, 3; Tegray Scales, LB, 3

Other Key Returnees: K Griffin Oakes, LB T.J. Simmons, OT Jason Spriggs, OL Dan Feeney

Key Losses: RB Tevin Coleman, RB D’Angelo Roberts, WR Shane Wynn, WR Nick Stoner, B Richardson, CB Tim Bennett, LB David Cooper, LB Forisse Hardin

As a result of the injury to Sudfeld, Indiana relied heavily on running back Tevin Coleman. After rushing for 2,036 yards and 15 touchdowns on 270 carries, Coleman opted to leave early for the NFL. But the offense can refocus on the passing game now that Sudfeld is back and healthy. Two years ago Sudfeld threw for 2,523 yards and 21 touchdowns as a part-time starter. Last year he threw for 1,151 yards and six touchdowns in a little over five games. This offense has been, and can be, very dynamic in the passing game with Sudfeld under center. Finding some new wide receivers will be important though. Transfers Marqui Hawkins and Camion Patrick are the big receivers IU lacked last year and J-Shun Harris has experience in this offense. If the passing game does not work out, Coach Wilson can stay on the ground with new running back Jordan Howard. The transfer from UAB rushed for 1,587 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore last year with the Blazers. He does not have Coleman’s speed and may not break out those 90 yard touchdown runs, but he is a tough back who stays low to the ground and can fight through traffic.

The defense is getting better and a year in their new 3-4 look will certainly help. Nose tackle Nate Hoff is a nice piece to build around on the front line. He recorded 8.0 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks as a freshman last year. For a team that ranked 11th in the Big Ten in sacks per game, Indiana will need bandit Nick Mangieri to at least pressure the quarterback. Sophomore Tegray Scales is the best playmaker on the team. He intercepted three passes last year and has the speed to chase down anybody. With T.J. Simmons, Greg Gooch, Clyde Newton and Dameon Willis, Coach Wilson has a lot of options and depth in the linebacker corps. The secondary is a big concern though. Safeties Antonio Allen and Chase Dutra are solid playmakers, but both starting cornerbacks are gone from a unit that ranked dead last in the conference in pass defense. The pressure will be on athletic sophomores Donovan Clark and Rashard Fant.

The Bottom Line:
Speaking of pressure, it is on Coach Wilson too and anything less than a bowl berth could be the end of his time in Bloomington. But reaching six wins is a tough ordeal for a team in the Big Ten East. Thus, going 4-0 in non-conference play to start the season is virtually a must. The Hoosiers start off at home against Southern Illinois, Florida International and Western Kentucky. WKU is a good team and one of the favorites in Conference USA and will be the tough game in that stretch. After that IU heads to Wake Forest, which is certainly a winnable road game. A home date with Rutgers and a road trip to Purdue are the two Big Ten games that look winnable right now, but there is not much margin for error.

Projected Bowl: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 263.6 (9th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 141.4 (120, 14)
Total Offense: 405.0 (61, 5)
Scoring Offense: 25.1 (87, 10)
Rushing Defense: 182.7 (81, 10)
Pass Defense: 251.1 (94, 14)
Total Defense: 433.8 (93, 11)
Scoring Defense: 32.8 (100, 13)
Turnover Margin: -0.17 (76, 8)
Sacks: 1.92 (82, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 2.17 (76, 9)

Madness 2016 NFL Draft Rankings:
#100 Nate Sudfeld


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