The Indiana Hoosier football team is off to an impressive 3-0 start to the season, with their most recent win coming last weekend against Western Kentucky in OT and, while IU fans are riding high after the dramatic win last weekend, it might be time to take a step back and look at the big picture.
While the Hoosiers are 3-0, the wins leave a lot to be concerned about. All three wins have seen the Hoosiers come back from behind to win- opening night against Illinois, followed by Idaho and then WKU this last weekend.
With the team looking to rebound from a rough season last year- a season that had high expectations coming off of a Bowl appearance the season prior- the Hoosiers have struggled in games that should have been walkaway blowouts.
Illinois went into the season ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten Power Rankings on numerous credible lists- to their credit, they have won decisively the two games that followed the last-second loss to IU. Alongside that, the Hoosiers were also ranked badly in many Preseason lists.
While the Idaho game got off to a late start and saw the game become a torrential downpour, the Vandals played IU strongly and actually got out to a double-digit lead. The Vandals finished last season 4-7 and were not Bowl-eligible so to see IU struggle with them was tough.
Western Kentucky has one of the more underrated offenses in college football but is a team that you expect a Big Ten team to handle easily but this was not the case. WKU completely controlled the first half and most of the 3rd Quarter.
WKU began to lose grip when the Hoosier defense stepped up and forced an interception, a near-Safety and pushed it into OT, where they blocked a Hilltopper field goal. Even with the strong defensive 4th Quarter and OT, the Hoosiers weren’t able to capitalize on offense and were forced to kick a field goal for the win.
The Hoosiers currently sit tied with Penn State atop the Big Ten East, however powerhouses like Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State have yet to play any Conference games thus far.
IU is currently at the bottom of the Big Ten in scoring on defense and next to last in offensive scoring. Only Purdue and Northwestern have been more ineffective rushing the ball and they’re also dead last in offensive efficiency in the Big Ten.
While IU fans have every right to be excited about a 3-0 start but they also need to tread lightly and be wary of the lack of offensive presence. It’s good to depend on your defense but the Hoosier defense has had their struggles as well.
There have been some exciting moments already this season and shades of a team that could be in for another great season but, if they’re struggling against small schools like Idaho and Western Kentucky, they could be in for a rude awakening when it comes time to play Michigan in a few weeks and Ohio State in Columbus later this season.