#40 Indiana Football 2020 Preview

Indiana Hoosiers
Overall Rank: #40
#8 Big Ten
 Indiana Logo
Indiana was a solid team in 2019. They beat the teams that they should have beaten and lost to the better teams on the schedule. There is no shame in losing to the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan or Tennessee. However, the Hoosiers would like to see Coach Tom Allen and company take a step forward and seriously compete with some of the top tier programs in the Big Ten.
2019 Record: 8-5, 5-4
2019 Bowl: TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Tennessee (L 22-23)
Coach: Tom Allen (18-20 at Indiana, 18-20 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Nick Sheridan, Grant Heard
Defensive Coordinator: Kane Wommack
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Stevie Scott III, RB, 845 yards
Passing: Michael Penix Jr, QB, 1,394 yards
Receiving: Whop Philyor, WR, 1,002 yards
Tackles: Micah McFadden, LB, 61
Sacks: Jerome Johnson, DL, 5.0
Interceptions: Jamar Johnson, DB, 2; Micah McFadden, LB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Sampson James, TE Peyton Hendershot, WR Ty Fryfogle, OL Caleb Jones, DB Marcelino Ball, DB Tiawan Mullen, DL Demarcus Elliott, LB Cam Jones
Key Losses: QB Peyton Ramsey, WR Nick Westbrook, WR Donavon Hale, DL Allen Stallings IV, LB, Reakwon Jones, DB Khalil Bryant, OL Simon Stepaniak
Peyton Ramsey has opted to transfer, leaving Michael Penix, Jr. as the clear quarterback. Penix was expected to start over Ramsey anyway, but Ramsey has been a dangerous playmaker and Coach Allen would want to get Ramsey on the field occasionally. Penix will miss receivers Nick Westbrook and Donavan Hale, but IU still has some proven options in Whop Philyor and Ty Fryfogle and talented sophomores in Miles Marshall and David Ellis. The Hoosiers have a quarterback and a slew of wide receivers who can do damage, but this group will want to work their offense through the ground game. Stevie Scott will be the workhorse after rushing for 845 yards and ten touchdowns last season, but sophomore Sampson James will look to play a larger role. James only rushed for 275 yards on 81 carries as a freshman, yet he does have the talent to develop into a very dangerous back.
Indiana will need to improve defensively. The bad news is some of their key playmakers like Reakwon Jones, Khalil Bryant and Allen Stallings are gone. That leaves some big holes on every level of the defense. However, this year the Hoosiers will have more depth and talent across the board. The front line has a consistent pass rusher in Jerome Johnson and Stanford transfer Jovan Swann should help bolster the unit. Micah McFadden had a great sophomore season, leading the team with 61 tackles and adding 10.0 tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and four quarterback hurries. The secondary will be looking for a new leader to step up and replace Bryant, but there are plenty of options. Marcelino Ball will return to his hybrid safety/linebacker spot and sophomore Tiawan Mullen is capable of turning into a shutdown corner.
The Bottom Line:
Indiana could make some noise this season. Following a season opening trip to Wisconsin, the Hoosiers have five straight games they should win. Then they host Michigan State, who may not be much of a threat this season either. That could put IU at 6-1. Three of their last five games are against Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan so any high hopes developed early in the season could quickly disappear, but this is still a group that can win eight games again.
Projected Bowl: Cheez-It Bowl
2019 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 130.4 (106th in nation, 12th in conference)
Passing Offense: 302.4 (15, 2)
Total Offense: 432.8 (41, 3)
Scoring Offense: 31.8 (43, 5)
Rushing Defense: 138.5 (43, 9)
Pass Defense: 213.7 (46, 10)
Total Defense: 352.2 (36, 9)
Scoring Defense: 24.4 (45, 9)
Turnover Margin: 0.15 (50, 6)
Sacks: 2.08 (69, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (67, 6)