2010 record: 9-3 (7-1 in MEAC, lost in first round of FCS playoffs)
Coach: Oliver "Buddy" Pough, 10th season, 76-29
Series: First meeting
TV: 3:30 September 17, Big Ten Network
For better or worse, games against FCS (formerly I-AA) opponents have become a fixture on the IU schedule, and this season's opponent from the lower division is South Carolina State. SCSU is a historically black college, and Indiana athletic director Fred Glass has expressed an interest in adding more HBCUs to IU's schedules in football and basketball. South Carolina State is a traditional power. The Bulldogs have been named the Black College National Champions in 1976, 1977, 1981, and most recently in 2009. Under current coach Buddy Pough, the Bulldogs have never have a losing season and have lost four or fewer games in every season from 2003 to present. SCSU has qualified for the FCS playoffs in each of the last three seasons, losing in the first round each time.
One thing the Bulldogs haven't done is make a serious run at a team from a major conference. The Bulldogs haven't played many teams from the power conferences. In 2010, SCSU lost 41-10 to Georgia Tech, and has losses to Clemson and South Carolina in the last five years. A quick review of the Bulldogs' last 25 years of results did not reveal any wins over FBS competition. Another scheduling note: the Bulldogs rarely have played outside the south, but they are undefeated in Indiana: SCSU beat Tennessee State 30-13 in the 2004 Circle City Classic, and beat Jackson State 34-33 in the Classic in 1993.
SCSU will be starting from scratch at quarterback. Three-year starter Malcolm Long is gone, but junior Derrick Wiley, who saw game action in both 2009 and 2010, is the most likely replacement. Wiley has completed 22 of 35 passes in his career and has one touchdown. According to this, Wiley's younger brother TeDarrius Riley also is a contended for the job. Asheton Jordan was one of two running backs who ran for around 600 yards last season, and he will be back next year. Chris Merrill, who led the way with 8 rushing touchdowns last season, also returns. SCSU is a rushing-oriented team, ranking 28 in FCS in rushing offense but only 91 in pass offense, but top receivers Lennel Elmore, Tyler McDonald, Thomas Williams, and tight end Antwanne Kerr return. The Bulldogs are best known, however, for their defense. SCSU ranked #2 in FCS in total defense last season, and in the top 4 in all major categories (pass defense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, and scoring defense).
As with any matchup between a team from a major conference and a FCS team, this game should be a talent mismatch, but SCSU's strong defense should be a cause for concern. The Bulldogs have ranked no lower than 11th in total defense in FCS in the last four years. The Bulldogs have been easily handled by Georgia Tech, Clemson, and South Carolina, but might be anticipating a brighter opportunity against IU. One of the Hoosiers' worst moments of the last few years was the 2006 loss to I-AA Southern Illinois, a loss that ultimately cost IU a bowl game. Hopefully the Hoosiers can avoid such an issues in 2011.