Josh Wilson Previews Indiana vs. Minnesota
Written By: Josh Wilson 10/22/2018
The Indiana Hoosier football team is coming into a short week off of a tough loss to James Franklin and his Penn State Nittany Lion squad. The Hoosiers blew several opportunities, one coming on a 4th and 1 inside the redzone that could’ve tied it at halftime and really changed the outcome of the game. Nonetheless, the Hoosiers have to get prepared on a short week for a Friday night road test in Minneapolis against the Gophers
IU is coming into this game a little beat up as it was announced yesterday that Michael Penix Jr. tore his ACL and is out for the season. It sounds like he will be ready for Spring ball, but his loss for the season cannot be understated. So, it is full steam ahead with Peyton Ramsey at quarterback for the Hoosiers. Let’s not forget, Ramsey did win the quarterback battle during the offseason and at times has looked quite productive. With the injury to Penix, Indiana Mr. Football Reese Taylor slides into the backup quarterback role just in case. Coach Tom Allen said Taylor will still be playing his normal wide receiver, running back, and do it all offensive weapon. He did confirm that Taylor does get reps at quarterback in certain packages in practice. Maybe they will open up the playbook a little bit.
On to Minnesota:
The Gophers come into this match-up after getting beat down by Nebraska, which led to Scott Frost’s first win at his alma-mater. Minnesota is 3-4 overall and 0-4 in B1G play. On paper, the Gophers may not offer much of a fight. But, it is a Friday night game under the lights, and they will have plenty of motivation after the loss this past weekend.
The biggest storyline for Minnesota is their starting quarterback situation. Zack Annexstad has been the starter, but was hospitalized during halftime against Nebraska with what was described as an internal injury to his midsection. Annexstad has thrown for 1,277 yards so far this season with 9 touchdowns to his 7 interceptions. It has not yet been determined if he will start or play against Indiana in this week’s game. We will continue to monitor this situation. If Annexstad cannot go, it will be Tanner Morgan that gets the start.
When it comes to the rushing game, the Gophers do it by committee. Minnesota has four players with over 100 yards rushing on the season. They are led by Mohamed Ibrahim in the rushing department. Ibrahim has carried the ball 89 times for 464 yards. The Hoosiers could really have some success if they put the Golden Gophers in some difficult down and distance situations.
The Gophers are a little more top heavy in the receiving department. Their go-to guy is Tyler Johnson. Johnson has more than 400 yards receiving on the season than any other Gopher wideout. He’s been targeted 47 times on the year. The next closest receiver has caught 31 passes. Johnson has caught 60% of the Gophers touchdowns on the season. You want to limit the Gophers? This is your man to stop. The 6’2 junior wideout could be a match-up nightmare for Indiana’s young secondary. Should be interesting seeing how IU schemes around the talented wideout.
At the end of the day for the Hoosiers, if you want to get to a bowl, this is a game you have to win. To save their season, this is a MUST WIN showdown. After this game, the chances get slim. IU’s keys to the game is to control the ball and time of possession, create at least two takeaways on defense, and do not give up big plays on special teams.
Indiana opens as a 2.5 point favorite in the game. Expect it to be a close, high-scoring brand of football.