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Hawkeye football to face strong Hoosier scorers on Saturdays

BY MOLLY IRENE OLMSTEAD | NOVEMBER 02, 2012 6:30 AM

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Indiana finished 1-11 last season, but it has already racked up three wins and finished within just 4 points of four other opponents.

The Hoosiers lost to Michigan State, 31-27, and threatened now-No.6 Ohio State in their 52-49 loss. The Hoosiers just can’t seem to end up on the winning end, but they may pose a threat to the Hawkeyes on Saturday.

Indiana is currently in the top half of the Big Ten in several offensive categories, including topping the entire conference in pass offense with 286.6 average yards per game.

The Hoosiers have scored 274 points on the season. Iowa has scored 163.

“Every week, we expect to score a lot of points, and these past few weeks we haven’t been performing,” center James Ferentz said. “We know what [the Hoosiers] are capable of, and we need to be able to go in there and score.”

Indiana has scored more points in their five losses on the season (174) than Iowa has scored in its eight games. Iowa offense has struggled, especially the past two weeks when the Hawkeyes lost to Penn State and Northwestern, 14-36 and 17-28, respectively.

The Indiana defense dwells near the bottom of the Big Ten: The Hoosiers are last in the conference in rushing defense and total defense.

But the failures of the opponents’ defense doesn’t mean much if Iowa can’t run the ball to begin with.

“It falls on us as an offensive line. We haven’t done a great job blocking guys,” Ferentz said. “We haven’t been able to run the ball well; we haven’t been able to throw the ball well. That’s a recipe for disaster right there.”

The Hawkeyes have fallen apart without powerhouse running back Mark Weisman in the lineup.

Iowa only managed 23 rushing yards against Penn State while Weisman was still being plagued by an ankle injury.

Weisman — who has rushed for more than 100 yards in four games and more than 200 yards once this season — will be kept out of the game altogether on Saturday after reinjuring his leg against Northwestern last week.

The Indiana offense has also been plagued by injuries. Sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson threw for 280 yards in the Hoosiers’ season-opener, going 26-of-36, and racked up 7 completions for 88 yards the next week before being carted off the field with a broken leg.

The Hoosiers offense, however, hasn’t buckled with the loss of a talented starter. Quarterbacks Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld have stepped into the signal caller position and thrown for a combined 1,925 yards.

“These guys are good players, very good passers,” Iowa defensive tackle Steve Bigach said. “With any offense like the way that they run, it’s a lot of containment, pressing from the inside out. We’ve just got to get guys to the football. We saw last week when you have athletes with the football, and you don’t get a bunch of guys to the ball, they’re going to break tackles and make plays on you.”

The Hoosier offense has progressed at almost the same rate that the Iowa defense has fallen apart.

Iowa hadn’t allowed a 40-plus-yard run since the season-opener until Northwestern’s Venric Mark, and the Hawkeyes hadn’t allowed a 40-plus-yard pass since Sept. 8 until Penn State’s Matt McGloin and Wildcat Kain Colter tallied one each.

In the past, Indiana has been a gimme, but head coach Kirk Ferentz made it clear that that’s not the case this year.

“I’m concerned about everything right now — offense, defense, special teams, and just how we play collectively,” the head coach said. “It won’t be easy this week.”


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