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The Hoosiers are taking on the unbeaten Iowa Hawkeyes, odds, times, channels, and GAME PREVIEW are here.

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Y'all ever wanted to completely derail someone's season while simultaneously getting yours back on track? HERE'S THE CHANCE.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info / How to Watch

Who? Iowa Hawkeyes (8-0, #16 S&P+) v. Indiana Hoosiers (4-4, #68 S&P+)

When? Saturday, 11/7, 3:30 PM, Bloomington, Indiana

Channel? ESPN / WatchESPN

Vegas? INDIANA +7

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After the collapse against Rutgers and 53 minutes of decent football on the road in East Lansing prior to the floodgates opening, Indiana's bye week mercifully arrived for Halloween. A bye week that has hopefully re-energized the team and allowed its numerous injuries to heal fully. Indiana's eternal goal of achieving bowl eligibility remains within reach, but the remaining home games involve top notch opponents (Iowa, Michigan) and games against fellow bottom-dwellers (Maryland, Purdue) must be played on the road.

It seems like Indiana has been knocking on the door of a major upset in Memorial Stadium for years. One would think, if they put themselves in that position enough, they'll eventually topple a giant in front of their home fans.

Doing it this week would be cool, IMO.

THE OPPONENT: (#16 S&P+, #46 Offense, #9 Defense)

Iowa looks an awful lot like, uh, the Iowa we've come to expect under Kirk Ferentz. The defense is one of the very best in the country and the offense doesn't trouble itself with reinventing the wheel or attempting anything remotely innovative (only fourteen teams run more on standard downs than the Hawkeyes) and when the book says throw the ball, they'll begrudgingly do it (only ten teams run less frequently on passing downs). They do nothing extraordinary when they move the ball, with rather pedestrian numbers on both the ground and through the air. They offset a lack of explosion in the running game (98th) with brutal efficiency (28th), and while they don't enjoy similar efficiency in the passing game (88th), they've got some sneaky explosiveness (30th).

Jordan Canzeri may be nearing his return from the ankle injury he suffered a few weeks ago against Northwestern. He didn't suit up against Maryland but has shed his walking boot. His season has shared similarities to Jordan Howard's, busting out of the gates with 9 touchdowns and over 5 yards a carry before injuring his ankle. Iowa enjoys a stable of running backs, with a sophomore duo of Akrum Wadley and Derrick Mitchell, Jr. showing to be dynamic players in their own right, reaching the second level with much more regularity than Canzeri or go-to power back Leshun Daniels, Jr, who missed time with injuries this season as well.

CJ Beathard is now the full-time quarterback for the Hawkeyes, after splitting time last season with Jake Rudock, who we'll see next week running the show for Michigan. He's done a fine job of managing the passing game, which, as we discussed earlier, isn't the bread and butter for this team. He's thrown for nearly 1600 yards at a rate of 60%, along with 9 touchdowns against 3 interceptions. To put it in perspective, he's thrown for nearly 500 less yards than Nate Sudfeld, who has missed a game and a half.

Bottom line: the offensive unit moves carefully (5th in turnovers), and rather quietly (64th in pace) but they'll find the endzone whether you realize it or not. They're averaging almost 28 points per game in Big Ten play, and that's more than enough for a defense that is allowing less than 13 per game during the conference slate.

The numbers for the Hawkeye defense are daunting: 9th in explosiveness allowed, 10th in efficiency allowed, 10th in field position, 25th in finishing drives against ... pretty much any angle you look at it, this is the best unit the Hoosiers have seen all year. Granted, they're not much better than the defenses of other top conference units Ohio State and Penn State (and all three are behind next week's opponent, Michigan), so it's not as if Indiana hasn't seen anything like it before, but the battle remains one of the uphill variety. They're elite against the run (5th) but only above-average against the pass (39th). You're never going to guess what suggestion is coming in the next section.

At 8-0, and 9th in the CFP's initial rankings, the Hawkeyes have a very clear path to the playoff should they finish the season 13-0, meaning they defeated either Ohio State or Michigan State on a neutral field to give them the signature win their résumé currently lacks (though the road victory over Wisconsin is aging quite nicely).

THE HOOSIERS: (#68 S&P+, #20 Offense, #110 Defense)

The Hoosiers managed alright for awhile up in East Lansing before utterly collapsing late in the 4th quarter. The offense bogged down in the second half despite getting numerous opportunities from a Hoosier defense that played some truly inspiring football for the first time in a very long time before running out of gas. Coupled with issues in the kicking game and Indiana simply couldn't generate enough points to keep the pressure on the Spartans, who continued to find the endzone after the game was out of reach, making the end result look a hell of a lot more lopsided than the game actually was.

Last week, I advocated for the Hoosiers to throw the ball one hundred times and hope for the best. And you know what, for 53ish minutes against the Spartans IT KINDA WORKED. Sudfeld eclipsed 300 yards and three scores before the aforementioned bogging down, but Indiana was in position to take the lead with 7 minutes to go in the 4th quarter! That's a good position to be in!

It's not that I don't love Jordan Howard, I truly do. He was a fantastic pickup for the Hoosiers and if we had him healthy all year, I think the games against Ohio State and Penn State end a little differently. But Iowa is a dang brick wall on defense and I just don't know about the efficacy of running him up the gut a bunch of times on Saturday. Granted, he did rack up 78 yards on only 11 carries against the Spartan defense, but Michigan State is thirty spots behind the Hawkeyes in run defense.

Obviously, you want to start the game with some balance, but if Iowa's run defense performs to expectations, you may want to replace the running game with the short pass / screen game. Give Howard some space to breathe and pick up a head of steam to bowl over some dudes, because the six-yard headstart he gets on a standard run play to hurtle into Iowa's defensive line may not be enough. It'd be one thing if Indiana was good at running the ball, but frankly, they aren't. Part of this has to do with Jordan Howard's injury, but after 8 games they're 92nd in the country in running the ball. It's a blowout matchup on paper, and while you want to attempt to "keep teams honest" and whatnot, it's not like Iowa has to sell out to stop the run, they'll just line up and do it.

I'm just saying: Indiana is 0-0 when they throw it 100 times or more and 459-631-45 when they throw it 99 times or less. I think it's high time we try to do something truly innovative / see if Nate Sudfeld's arm will literally just fall off on national television.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR

  • Make the third quarter decisive. When the third quarter rolls around, Indiana has been the nation's 19th best offense and 24th best defense by S&P+. Meanwhile, Iowa has been the nation's 92nd best offense and 45th best defense. Sometimes one great quarter is all a team needs to pull of an upset, perhaps the Hoosiers can do enough in the third quarter to ride out a white knuckle victory in the 4th. Perhaps they'll be so far behind at halftime it won't matter. Perhaps the world will disintegrate as it is consumed by an exploding star tomorrow. Anything is possible!
  • Will anyone show up? Two straight losses, one embarrassing, one somewhat admirable, then a bye week and then pseudo-televised basketball combine for a recipe of INDIANA FOOTBALL APATHY. Despite all its goals still achievable and a high-level opponent in town, I'm afraid the Indiana faithful won't make a tremendous effort to come out to Memorial Stadium, despite an ideal 3:30 start on ESPN. Unfortunately, it is ingrained in too many people to use football as a means of killing off the last couple of months before the beloved basketball team starts back up. The weather turns cold and, in all fairness, the football team's season is usually all but over. THAT SAID: despite everything that has happened, they remain only 2 games short of bowl eligibility with 4 to play, and could even sneak in at 5-7 thanks to an overall lack of bowl eligible teams! Come on guys! Go watch football! It'll be fun! Maybe!
  • Something dumb is gonna happen, what do you think it'll be? Indiana and Iowa enjoy a strong recent history of whacky plays and outcomes. Kellen Lewis scooping up a Josiah Sears fumble and scoring a long touchdown (which went down in the books as receiving yards and a receiving touchdown, despite recording no catches in that game), that stupidly amazing interception in 2009 (rest in peace, Tyler Sash), that dropped go-ahead touchdown on 4th down in 2010, the fact that Indiana actually won in 2012, and more I'm probably forgetting. What I'm getting at is: a lot of dumb stuff has happened in this series recently that played a large role in determining the outcome of the game, maybe this year it could happen to Iowa instead and lead to an Indiana victory. Like, just once.