Indiana went 5-7 last year, and this year is looking like much the same. Indiana is good enough to compete with Tier Two schools in the Big 10, but is stuck in the Big 10 East where the Hoosiers play Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State every year. Those games can be marked down as losses every year. But after 4 consecutive 5 to 6 win seasons, Indiana fans want something more.
Indiana brought in the 49th best class in the nation, which was good for 10th in the Big 10. This was Indiana’s 2nd best class in the last decade, something Hoosier fans should be proud of. The 27 man class was led by Running back Ronnie Walker, the best recruit in the last 10 years at Indiana.
The Hoosiers picked up grad transfer Brandon Dawkins from Arizona. In 3 years, Dawkins threw for 2,415 yards, 15 TDs and 12 INTs in 23 games for the Wildcats. He also added 1,582 yard and 20 TDs on the ground. Dawkins brings a dual-threat attack to Indiana, something Payton Ramsey lacked in the last 3 years. HOWEVA, Peyton Ramsey will be starting for the Hoosiers when they play at Florida International on Saturday.
Indiana’s offense suffered a step back yesterday when RB Morgan Ellison was suspended indefinitely from the team for undisclosed reasons. Ellison ran for 704 yards and 6 TDs last year and was supposed to be the top RB. Indiana was one of the least effective running teams last year, and Ellison’s loss is huge for the Hoosiers. Luke Timian is the sole returning wide receiver that had more than 50 receptions on the season. Ramsey will need to target more players if Indiana wants to succeed on offense.
As bad as the offense seems this year, the Indiana defense is stellar, ranking 61st in rushing defense, 17th in passing defense and 27th in total defense. Indiana returns 5 of its 6 top tacklers on a defense that knows how to pressure its opponents. The Hoosiers also return 3 of 4 top cornerbacks. This defense should be as good as they were last year, if not better.
The best part of the schedule is that there is no Wisconsin and although they scheduled Iowa, it will be in Bloomington. Indiana also plays Virginia, Michigan State and Penn State at home. Indiana should be 3-0 going into Big 10 play, but have a gauntlet to start conference play. Potentially, Indiana could play 4 ranked teams in 5 games, something that will be physically demanding. Indiana would need to win 3-4 games to make a bowl, which sounds doable, barring any injuries to its top 30 defense.