Saturday at noon we finally get to see where we are in the standards of Big Ten play. Opening up to a stronger than expected Northwestern on the road isn’t exactly the most ideal of situations but it is what it is. With this new experience I am a bit at a loss for words on the expectation of this Saturday. With the disappointment of the Ball State game even after meeting our biggest expectations (gave up 202 rushing yards when I wanted less than 200) I just don’t know what to think.
Northwestern has shown that they are much more of a threat than what was initially thought. I had this game circled on the calendar at the start of the year as a potential road upset. But I feel less confident about it now. I have no doubt that we can put points on the board. Cam Coffman showed enough poise in his first start that I feel good about the QB situation. Offensively expectations should be high. Northwestern scores well but doesn’t defend with the best. It really sets the IU offense up to continue their established momentum.
So with that thought, we should look for the IU offense to become more efficient now. They’re going to score but it would be nice to see them score at a consistent pace. No Ball State 3rd Quarters please. The offense drying up and blowing away to start the second half is what blew the Ball State game. Consistency should be the name of the game. Show good progress and I’ll be OK with the offense on Saturday.
Defensively there is a whole lot more needing worked on. I would like to hold Northwestern to less than 35 points. I think that is a pretty fair expectations. It is a high number but you just can’t take this defense for granted. Northwestern like Ball State is very good running team with their option offense but their passing game suffers because of it. A lot of pressure will still be on the secondary thought as Northwestern uses multiple quarterbacks and the multiple looks could be confusing for a young secondary.
Truly in the end, I can’t come up with real tangible measurements for the expectations of this game. Mainly because I have no idea myself. This team is obviously better than the shellacking they received at the hands of NW last year, but the results probably won’t show it. What I am really looking for on a personal level is a moral victory on Saturday. If we win, I’ll be ecstatic. Just don’t get pummeled and I can probably find the positives in the game.