This is our first installment of looking back at the non-conference schedule teams and their performance outside of Indiana. We obviously won't be doing this for the conference schedule as the whole Big Ten gets updated every Wednesday. This likely won't be a weekly occurrence, but it is nice to check back every 3-4 weeks to contextualize how good the opponent that Indiana played actually was. So let's start things off with....
Indiana State: I'm sure many of us were keeping a close eye on Indiana State last week since they played our chief rivals Purdue after falling to our boys 73-35. I'm also certain most are aware that they gave Purdue almost more than they could handle. Falling by a final score of 20-14. Indiana State was playing without their biggest offensive piece in Shakir Bell and their offense reflected it in the game. The Trees only had 39 rushing yards on 22 attempts without Bell. It's pretty easy to say that this would have been a completely different game without the separated shoulder holding the Sycamore offense back.
Luckily for the Sycs after two instate Big Ten opponents they got to head back to their home field for their opener against Quincy last Saturday. Mike Parish proceeded to put on a show for the home crowd of 7,000. Parish threw 26 times and completed 23 for 379 yards. That was good enough for fourth all time at Indiana State as the Sycamores put up a home record 70 points in their 70-7 victory over a Quincy football team that is expected to finish in the basement of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Their next opponent is @ Tennessee Tech who was routed by Wisconsin 48-0 two weeks ago by allowing three 100 yard rushers. Shakir Bell has to be chomping at the bit for that game.
Navy: The Midshipmen followed up their impressive win at Indiana with a blowout of the Delaware Blue Hens. They continued their nation leading rushing attack by tacking on another 352 yards on the ground against Delaware. The difference being that Navy also threw the ball 15 times this weekend (compared to 4 against Indiana). Navy fans and coaches tried to tell us about Keenan Reynolds and we didn't listen. Well the sophomore completed 10 of his 13 passes for 233 yards while rushing for 109 yards. He's pretty good.
The Navy defense also put up much more of a fight against Delaware holding them to 337 yards on 11 drives. Allowing only one drive to go more than 10 plays and only two above 50 yards. Not too shabby, though not out of this world. Navy is still going to have some work to do on the defensive side of things, but with their schedule and the way Notre Dame played on Saturday, there's a chance we can see Navy making a run at 11 wins this year.
They're next opponent is Western Kentucky, who beat Kentucky to open the season, after another bye week this Saturday.
Bowling Green: Obviously there isn't much to update with Bowling Green here. We all saw it. Bowling Green is still well in the drivers seat of the MAC after already having dispatched Kent State. Their defensive rankings took a considerable nose-dive after Saturday's game against Indiana but expect for those to inch back up as they get deeper into their schedule. Next up they face Murray State before taking on the goliaths of Akron.
Missouri: Missouri comes into town this coming Saturday to take on our Hoosiers in what our pope emeritus, John M., called the biggest non-conference game in recent history. I'd agree. They already have a convincing win over Murray State and a closer than it should have been 14 point victory over Toledo. They bring in a strong rushing attack, but in a traditional style offense. Of course we'll dive in much deeper on what Missouri brings tomorrow.
Overall, the non-conference teams are performing exactly how you would have expected them to. Indiana State has shown signs that they may be better than what they showed at Indiana. Bowling Green will have to prove their resiliency after last weekend and Navy is not only a bowl team, but potentially will get themselves into the discussion of BCS bowls if they continue beating up on the upcoming mediocre competition. Navy has a shot at being this year's Boise State.