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Indiana vs. Charleston Southern: game preview, analysis, TV channel, kickoff times, and more

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After a rough weekend in Happy Valley, the Hoosiers return home to take on FCS opponent Charleston Southern

Indiana v Penn State Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Game Info/How to Watch

Who? Indiana Hoosiers (2-2 [0-2], #46 S&P+) vs. Charleston Southern (2-2 [0-0])

When? Saturday, 10/7 3:30 PM, Bloomington, Indiana

Channel? BTN

S&P+ Projection? INDIANA 42.6 - 13.7

After the debacle at Penn State, a game against FCS Charleston Southern could be just what the doctor ordered for the Hoosiers, who could use an easy win to build momentum heading into the rest of the Big Ten slate. However, the Hoosiers have accumulated a few injuries over the past couple weeks and could have really used the bye week that was originally scheduled. Peyton Ramsey will make his first start at quarterback on Saturday and he should be extremely comfortable against the Buccaneers.

The best case scenario for this game is an easy Hoosier win that’s in the bag by halftime, allowing Ramsey to get some experience as the starter and letting the first team get some much-needed rest before welcoming Michigan to Bloomington next weekend.

TIME FOR SOME NUMBERS, Y’ALL

FIVE FACTORS

- Explosiveness (86%) Efficiency (83%) Field Position (75%) Finishing Drives (72%) Turnover Margin (73%)
- Explosiveness (86%) Efficiency (83%) Field Position (75%) Finishing Drives (72%) Turnover Margin (73%)
Indiana (#72 ranked offense) 1.06 (105th) 38.2% (103rd) 28.4 (91st) 4.76 (53rd) -4 (105th)
Charleston Southern (N/A) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Charleston Southern (N/A) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Indiana (#35 ranked defense) 1.00 (20th) 40.2% (63rd) 28.4 (51st) 4.92 (99th) -4 (105th)

You may have noticed that there are no numbers for Charleston Southern! The Buccaneers are an FCS team, and there are no statistical profiles for FCS schools. However, you can rest assured that Indiana is still better than Charleston Southern.

THE OPPONENT

Charleston Southern is an extremely run-heavy team with multiple threats in their attack. They run the triple-option, spearheaded by the combination of Noah Shuler and Terrance Wilson at running back. Shane Bucenell starts at quarterback and rounds out the rushing attack, which has eclipsed the 300-yard mark in their last two games. London Johnson will also see time at the quarterback spot, as he has racked up an impressive 161 rushing yards on just 16 carries.

While Charleston Southern has racked up some impressive numbers in the last few weeks, you’d be wise to take this with a grain of salt considering the quality of their opponents. The Buccaneers beat NAIA school Point University 66-0, and then proceeded to knock off fellow FCS school Mississippi Valley State by a score of 58-7. Charleston Southern has also lost to an FCS team, as they travelled to Elon University and lost in a 19-17 heartbreaker.

In their only other matchup with a Power 5 school, the Bucs struggled mightily, losing 49-0 at Mississippi State. They were only able to put up 33 yards of total offense and only recorded two first downs. For some reference, the Mississippi State defense is #28 in the S&P+ standings, only six spots ahead of Indiana. With that in mind, the Hoosiers should have no problem limiting the Charleston Southern ground attack, rendering the entire Buccaneer offense pretty much useless.

THE HOOSIERS

Look, Indiana is going to win this game, and there isn’t any doubt about that. The more important thing is that the Hoosiers avoid injuries, Peyton Ramsey has a good start, and Indiana is able to build some momentum for Michigan next week. The offense is going to look a little different this week, as Ramsey’s mobility will allow him to extend plays, and Mike Debord will sprinkle in some designed QB runs. Now that Ramsey is the starter, he might not be asked to run as often, especially if he proves his arm is a consistent weapon.

Along with Ramsey’s first start, one other point of interest on the offensive side of the ball is the running game. Now, Indiana shouldn’t have a problem racking up yards on Saturday, but Morgan Ellison has developed a bit of a fumbling problem. Assuming he’s fully healthy, I’d like to see Ellison get a decent amount of the workload in the first half and see if he’s able to hang on to the ball. If not, Ricky Brookins is more than deserving of carries, and he’s been extremely underused at this point in the season.

On defense, the Hoosiers shouldn’t have any issue stopping the Charleston Southern attack. Their offense is very similar to Georgia Southern’s, and Indiana’s defense was, for the most part, dominant. The Buccaneers’ offense is really nothing special, and IU will have no problem taking advantage of that. Charleston Southern will throw the ball a little more often than Georgia Southern did, and the Hoosier secondary was caught sleeping a couple times against the Eagles, so Tom Allen should have the DBs ready to defend the rare pass play this week.

THREE THINGS

  • Injuries: Neither Marcelino Ball nor A’Shon Riggins will be playing this week, and it remains to be seen if they’ll be available for the Michigan game. On the bright side, J-Shun Harris, Morgan Ellison, Mike Majette, and Brandon Knight should all be available on Saturday. These four will probably receive very limited minutes, and it’s doubtful they’ll see the field after halftime.
  • Quarterback Play: The most important talking point for this game will be Peyton Ramsey’s first start as the Hoosier quarterback. He’s no stranger to getting significant playing time, as he’s been a major part of the offense since the Virginia game. Ramsey’s shown he can make plays with his feet, but his arm is still a little untested in the middle of the field where you really need to drive the ball. I’d like to see Indiana come out throwing and build more chemistry between Ramsey and the receiving corps. It’ll be intriguing to see how Ramsey reacts to becoming the starter, and I couldn’t think of a better opponent to get the first start of your career.
  • Special Teams: Last week, special teams was, uh, not great! From Saquon Barkley’s kick return touchdown, to J-Shun Harris’ fumble that was returned for a touchdown, special teams struggles put the Hoosiers in an early hole that they never could quite dig themselves out of. Obviously, Charleston Southern is not Penn State, so things will look better this week. However, this is a good opportunity to work out some kinks and rectify some errors that occurred against Penn State and I’d expect Indiana to do exactly that.

PREDICTION

Indiana’s gonna win this one easily. The defense will be solid, and I think Peyton Ramsey will be impressive in his first start. Hoosiers 45, Charleston Southern 10