North Texas will face Indiana at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. Here’s a quick scouting report of the Hoosiers:
Indiana: 2-2, 0-1 in Big Ten (Lost to Maryland 37-15 last week)
Key number: 172.8 (Rushing yards per game Indiana running back Tevin Coleman is averaging to lead the nation. UNT ranks 11th nationally with an average of 87.3 rushing yards allowed a game)
1. Indiana features top rushing attack
UNT head coach Dan McCarney spoke this week about how impressed he is with Indiana’s running game. Coleman is the headliner, but he is far from the only top player who makes the Hoosiers’ running game that is averaging 284.2 yards a game effective. Second-string running back D’Angelo Roberts is adding 64.2 yards a game. Indiana has a big and impressive offensive line that has cleared the way for both Coleman and Roberts this season that is anchored by tackle Jason Spriggs, an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection on teams selected by both the media and the league’s head coaches last season. Indiana has rushed for at least 200 yards in five straight games.
2. Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld has some experience
While Indiana’s running game headlines its offense, junior quarterback Nate Sudfeld isn’t there just to hand the ball off. The California native has thrown for 836 yards and two touchdowns while throwing only two interceptions all season. Sudfeld struggled last week in a loss to Maryland, throwing for just 126 yards, while completing just 14 of his 37 pass attempts, but has been solid overall. He threw for 252 yards in an upset win over Missouri and 347 yards at Bowling Green.
3. The Hoosiers appear vulnerable to teams with good passing attacks
An inability to slow opponents in the passing game has come back to bite Indiana at times this season. Indiana had Bowling Green pinned at its 12-yard line with 1:59 remaining while leading by three points before giving up a 12-play, 88-yard touchdown drive in a 45-42 loss. All but two of those yards came on James Knape passes and two pass interference penalties. Roger Lewis caught a 2-yard pass from Knape for the game-winner. Maryland threw for 361 yards in a win over the Hoosiers, who rank 116th nationally with an average of 306.8 passing yards allowed a game.
4. Indiana is a Big Ten team with Big Ten size
The stereotype when it comes to Big Ten teams is that they are powered by big offensive lines and have just as much beef on the defensive side when it comes to linemen. With Indiana, that notion holds true. All five of the Hoosiers offensive linemen check in at least 285 pounds. Spriggs and right guard Dan Feeney check in at 300 and 305 pounds respectively. Indiana also has six 300-pound defensive tackles listed on its depth chart in its 4-3 alignment led by Adarius Rayner and Ralph Green III, who are bosh listed at 307 pounds.
5. Indiana flat needs to beat North Texas
Indiana is in its fourth season under head coach Kevin Wilson, who has gradually improved the Hoosiers’ program. Indiana just missed on becoming bowl-eligible last season at 5-7 and needs to break through this year. The Hoosiers are 2-2 and squandered a chance to pick up another win by losing a late lead and falling to Bowling Green. Indiana can’t afford another loss before heading back into Big Ten play, especially at home to UNT in a game the Hoosiers are heavily favored to win. The road to a bowl becomes a whole lot tougher for Indiana if it can’t handle UNT. No one knows that better than the Hoosiers who will be ready for the Mean Green.