Iowa (4-4) at Indiana (3-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 3, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (52,929) -- Bloomington, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Iowa 2-3, Indiana 1-3. Away Record: Iowa 1-1, Indiana 2-2. Neutral Record: Iowa 1-0, Indiana 0-0. Conference Record: Iowa 2-2, Indiana 1-3. Series Record: Iowa leads, 42-27-4.
GAME NOTES: The Iowa Hawkeyes have veered off track over the last two weeks, and they'll look to get back into the win column on Saturday afternoon when they visit Memorial Stadium for a Big Ten clash with the Indiana Hoosiers.
Iowa has suffered two straight losses to fall to 4-4 on the season and 2-2 in conference play. After falling at home to Penn State two weekends ago (38-14), the Hawkeyes fell at Northwestern this past Saturday, 28-17. With games against Legends Division front-runners Nebraska and Michigan still on tap, the Hawkeyes are still right in the thick of the Big Ten race.
Indiana snapped an 11-game conference losing skid in last week's 31-17 triumph over Illinois. It also marked the Hoosiers first Big Ten road victory since 2010. A second straight conference victory won't come easy against Iowa, but it would certainly reinforce that the Hoosiers, who have lost four games this season by four points or less, are headed in the right direction.
Iowa leads the all-time series, 42-27-4. The Hawkeyes have won the last four meetings, including a 45-24 victory over the Hoosiers last year in Iowa City.
Iowa's offense has fallen off lately, having failed to eclipse 20 points in any of its last three outings. The Hawkeyes enter the weekend ranked 102nd nationally in total offense (325.9 ypg) and 105th in scoring (20.4 ppg). Last week, they fell behind 28-3 at Iowa before scoring the game's final two touchdowns on short runs by quarterback James Vandenberg. The Hawkeyes signal- caller completed 24-of-38 passes for only 214 yards, and he was also sacked three times. Starting running back Mark Weisman rushed for only 21 yards and left with a hip injury in the second quarter. Sophomore Damon Bullock stepped in and gained 107 yards on 22 carries, proving he is capable of carrying the load if Weisman (questionable) is unable to suit up against Indiana.
The Hawkeyes defense has been a strength throughout the season, although they were unable to contain Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter, who ran for three TDs and threw for another. In fact, they struggled mightily against the run last week, as Northwestern racked up 349 yards and three TDs on the ground, averaging a staggering 7.1 yards per carry as a team. Still, Iowa ranks 13th in the country in turnover margin (+8), 24th in pass defense (196.5), 30th in scoring defense (21.1) and 39th in total defense (355.0). Over the last seven games, the Hawkeyes have notched 30 tackles for loss and forced 14 turnovers, including six inside the red zone. They'll need to get back to their playmaking ways if they want to rebound from last week's tough loss.
Indiana football may not exactly be synonymous with the phrase "high-powered offense," but the Hoosiers have managed to score at least 24 points in all eight games this season, the first time that has ever happened in school history. Entering this tilt, IU ranks first in the Big Ten in passing offense (265.9), second in total offense (443.4) and third in scoring (34.2). Running back Stephen Houston ran for 71 yards and scored three times (two rushing, one receiving), marking his ninth straight game with a touchdown. True freshman quarterback Nate Sudfeld came off the bench to complete 10-of-15 passes for 107 yards and two second-quarter TDs to put Indiana on top for good. Although Sudfeld did provide a spark, there is still room for improvement. The Hoosiers won despite converting only 1-of-13 third downs and being out-gained, 372-292.
Credit Indiana's defense for bottling up quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and the Illinois offensive attack. The Hoosiers recovered two fumbles, tallied seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss in the victory. The seven sacks are the most by the Hoosiers since they notched seven against Central Michigan in November 2008. Redshirt junior defensive back Greg Heban had another busy day, recording a game-high 13 tackles to go along with a fumble recovery. Heban has led Indiana in tackles over the last three games, totaling 35 stops during that span. Defensive tackle Adam Replogle finished with eight tackles, including 1.5 for loss and a sack, and a forced fumble. He leads all Big Ten lineman with 6.5 tackles per game.
Had the Hoosiers been able to close out one or two of their narrow losses, this game could have had much bigger ramifications. That said, the Hoosiers have a solid opportunity at home against an Iowa squad that is reeling of late. Indiana could use a couple of big gains early to get the crowd involved.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana 24, Iowa 16
10/31 10:40:20 ET