The Indiana Hoosiers have been the definition of consistent almost every year for the past 35 years. The problem is that they have been consistently in the lower-middle of the pack. Last season, however, the Hoosiers had a slight uptick. While 8-5 is not a stellar record by any means, their 5-4 record in the Big Ten is nothing to scoff at. Overall, the Hoosiers won the games that they should have won and lost the ones they should have lost.
If fourth-year head coach Tom Allen continues to build on last year, the Hoosiers might be a top-five team in the Big Ten. They might need to pull off an upset win or two.
The Hoosiers have as much talent as anyone on offense. Michael Penix Jr. was promising last year as the quarterback, after beating out the previous starter, Peyton Ramsey. Penix Jr. ultimately missed time after suffering a knee injury.
As the starter, Penix Jr. threw for almost 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns, with only four interceptions. The young signal-caller will benefit from a consistent veteran at running back, Stevie Scott, who totaled 1,056 yards and 11 touchdowns from scrimmage last fall. Indiana also has an impeccable receiving unit headed by Whop Philyor (70 catches for 1,002 yards, five touchdowns), and Ty Fryogle (45 catches for 604 yards, three touchdowns).
Overall, the Hoosiers offense was great last year, averaging 433 yards of total offense in 2019.
When Allen surrendered defensive play calling abilities to Kane Wommack, the Hoosiers defense saw a massive improvement, allowing roughly 70 fewer yards per game and 5.5 fewer points.
With nine returning starters, the Hoosiers defense looks to translate the veteran experience to production on the field. Linebacker Micah McFadden looks to once again head the unit after leading the team in tackles in 2019. He is joined by Jerome Johnson and Demarcus Elliott, as well as Stanford grad-transfer Jovan Swann, who proved a capable pass-rusher with ten sacks for Stanford in 2019. The secondary will continue to build, and Tiawan Mullen will only get better in year two after drawing top-receivers in his true-freshman campaign.
While the Hoosiers are promising on both sides of the ball, their schedule does them no favors. It seems as though the only reachable teams for Indiana are Rutgers, Michigan State (maybe), Maryland, and Purdue (also a maybe). Since it seems that Purdue is set to have a much better offense this year, it looks as though consistency may not be enough for the Hoosiers to come away with the Old Oaken Bucket this year.
2020 season record prediction: 3-5 (safe bet)
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