Game Info / How to Watch
Where? Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
When? Saturday, Sep. 7, 3:30 p.m.
Channel? Big Ten Network
Vegas? Indiana -35.5.
SP+ Projection? Indiana by 40.3, 99% probability of Hoosier victory
Dare I say it, but after one week of play, could #CHAOSTEAM be making a comeback in Bloomington? After a few years of boring teams with elite defenses that led the Hoosiers to bowl games or five-win seasons, last week resembled Indiana teams of old. High-flying offense, boom or bust defense. It really warmed the cockles of my heart.
All of this is possible because of Michael Penix, Jr. He was, more or less, everything we expected him to realistically be in his opener. He showed off his cannon in a 75-yard touchdown to Nick Westbrook and showed off his youthfulness by forcing throws and finishing with a pair of touchdowns. But he was fantastic overall on the day and should have fans excited.
The defense, though, has some serious issues to address. Bad angles and bad form led to a staggering amount of broken tackles and big plays for Ball State and if the Cardinals can rack up 400 yards, it will be a long year in the Big Ten.
For this week, the good news is that the Hoosiers have a week to iron out some of those problems as they welcome FCS Eastern Illinois to Bloomington.
To be honest, not a lot of time needs to be dedicated to Eastern Illinois this week. The Panthers are 0-1 after scoring just 10 points against Chattanooga in week one. EIU out-gained Chattanooga with 370 yards but coughed the ball up three times.
Two quarterbacks played and finished with almost identical lines, Harry Woodberry going 13-for-22 for 121 yards and an interception and Johnathan Brantley 13-for-25 for 119 yards and a touchdown.
Not much more time should be spent on EIU, though. This isn’t an elite FCS team and probably isn’t even a good one. Indiana should be able to use this as a glorified scrimmage.
Three Things To Watch
- Defensive improvements -There are a lot of improvements that need to be made on the defensive side of the ball. If those improvements come, it’ll be hard to dictate whether the level of opponent or actual adjustments are responsible for the improvements but I’d like to spend next week debating that at least.
- Where's the rushing game? - Penix rushed for 69 yards last week (please submit your best joke below) while the rest of the Hoosiers managed 91 yards. The running back room may be the deepest single position on the IU roster, but spent much of the first week being largely indistinguishable. I would anticipate a focus on getting the rush attack on track this week.
- Finishing drives - It was tremendous to see Logan Justus set a new career high three times on Saturday but it covered up a bigger problem for the Hoosiers in their inability to finish drives after crossing midfield. Justus’ surprisingly unchaotic performance saved Indiana from some embarrassment and late-game clenching. Finishing drives in the endzone is certainly something Tom Allen will have talked about this week.
The question is not whether Indiana will win this game (knock on wood) but whether the Hoosiers will score the most points in the Tom Allen era. The two highest marks, and the only two times Indiana has broken 40 points, came in the 2017 season with a 52-17 win over Georgia Southern and a 42-0 win over Rutger.
S&P+ thinks Indiana will break 50 points. There are plenty of logical reasons why Indiana probably won’t cover a 35-point spread this week but Indiana football doesn’t operate on a logical plane. Indiana 55, Eastern Illinois 14.