As the Hoosiers pack up their bags and head out east after two very close games against the best the Big Ten has to offer they have to be feeling confident about their chances on the road. The Midshipmen have had a bit of a back and forth season so far. They went to Ireland and got blown out by Notre Dame then got blasted by Penn State before they really got going against some of the weaker military academies. This should be a win for our Hoosiers.
The defense is where I expect to see the largest improvement from the games of the last few weeks to this. IU has done a very good job actually containing rushing attacks but they have been so incredibly poor when it comes to making the tackle that the contain doesn't matter. I expect the Hoosiers to be much better at that this week. Not because they're going to magically improve in a week but because the Navy athletes aren't going to be the athletes of the upper echelons of the B1G. Last week we saw IU do a great job of keeping the option inside the defense, however that shifty bastard Braxton Miller would always find extra yards where there should have been none to be had. I don't see Navy capable of repeating that.
Certainly Navy's triple option can be deceptive but IU has already seen two different versions of the option run this year with Ohio State and Northwestern. I can't imagine Navy runs theirs better. The Hoosiers just need to keep their focus and not fall for the gimmicks and they should be in good shape. If they can hold off TDs on the first two to three drives then they should be in business as the Midshipmen are going to have to throw to catch up to the Hoosier offense. That is the weak point of Navy. So far this year, Navy has thrown 4 passing touchdowns and 3 of them came last week against Central Michigan. Contain the run and Navy is dead in the water (pun intended).
As for the offense I expect a stellar game out of this squad. Navy has given up 28+ points in 5 of their 6 games so far this season. The dynamic Hoosier offense should have no problem in moving the ball on them. The thing I would like to see IU do though, is slow it down a little bit at times. The hurry up is obviously very effective but when it isn't efficient it kills the defense. There are times where IU's drives last less than a minute before the D has to get back out there for another sustained drive. Saturday we should expect one of two things from the O. Either slow it down some or come out clicking.
The defense can't afford to have Cam Coffman and his receivers dropping passes on first and second down only to punt on a three and out. They have to be more focused and get that yardage early. They have shown that if they string a first down or two together not many teams can stop the Hoosiers in rhythm. They just have to find that rhythm much faster.
In the end, we shouldn't necessarily expect a blowout but this better be a comfortable win for the Hoosiers. A loss and all the good will gained by IU in their moral victories against the best of the B1G will go right down the crapper. Luckily, I don't think that's the case. Watch for an IU two score win and some commitments from some big time recruits as well.