Five Things to know about Indiana

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  1. It has been a disappointing season for Indiana. 

Indiana entered this year as a preseason Top 20 team after an impressive season last year when they finished 6-2. The ranking for the Hoosiers seemed somewhat valid as they returned one of the best quarterbacks and wide receivers in the Big Ten with Michael Penix Jr. and Ty Fryfogle. Last year, Indiana had the fourth-best passing attack in the conference but it has been the opposite this year as they rank 12th in the conference in passing. The running game has been non-existent and injuries in the quarterback room have left Indiana with one of the worst offenses in the country. 

  1. Winless in the Big Ten. 

Indiana is looking for their first win in the conference this weekend against Minnesota. The last time Indiana went winless in the Big Ten was back in 2011. Tom Allen has been building some momentum with the Hoosiers since he became coach at Indiana in 2016. Entering this season, he was 15-19 in conference play but finished above .500 in the Big Ten the last two years. The last time Indiana had two straight seasons finishing above .500 in the Big Ten was in the late 1980s. ESPN’s Football Power Index gives Indiana a 32% chance of winning against Minnesota. 

  1. Quarterback Carousel. 

All-Big Ten quarterback Michael Penix Jr. opened the season as the starter and didn’t come close to repeating his numbers from last year. Penix injured his shoulder against Penn State in early October. Jack Tuttle replaced Penix but has also been dealing with a foot injury for the majority of the season. Then there’s true freshman Donaven McCulley who is most likely to start this Saturday. McCully is has thrown for 458 yards and two touchdowns this season. McCulley is an athletic quarterback who could make plays with his feet but seems uncomfortable at times in the pocket. 

  1. The defense isn’t as bad as the offense. 

You would think given their record, Indiana would rank last in the conference in defensive categories but that isn’t the case. Indiana ranks 55th nationally in rushing defense and 73rd in passing defense. They give up 338 yards in Big Ten play, which ranks 10th in the conference. On offense, they are only scoring 10.4 points a game in the Big Ten and are ranked dead last in total yards with 262.3 yards in the Big Ten play. 

  1. They still have Ty Fryfogle and a good tight end. 

Last year, Fryfogle was the Big Ten wide receiver of the year and was third-team All-American when he caught the ball 37 times for 721 yards and seven touchdowns. While this year has been disappointing for Ty and the Hoosiers offense, that doesn’t mean Fryfogle still can’t beat you. He currently leads the team with 43 receptions and 496 yards. No doubt the inconsistency at quarterback has affected the passing game. Another person to keep an eye on is tight end Peyton Hendershot who leads the team with four touchdowns and has 40 receptions. 

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