Indiana looks to keep its perfect non-conference record intact Saturday when it takes on visiting FCS school Charleston Southern. The Hoosiers are 0-2 in Big Ten play -- albeit against nationally-ranked Ohio State and Penn State -- but have defeated Virginia and Georgia Southern in their only other two non-conference games this season since a contest against Florida International was cancelled.
In those two losses, the Hoosiers have struggled offensively, leading head coach Tom Allen to make redshirt freshman Peyton Ramsey the full-time starter at quarterback for the rest of the season. Ramsey and previous starter Richard Lagow had been rotating during games, but Allen decided the team needed to have more consistency at the position and picked the more mobile Ramsey (316 passing yards, four TDs, 117 rushing yards). The presence of Ramsey under center should help running back Morgan Ellison (team-high 310 yards, two TDs) since teams can’t focus just on stopping him when Indiana runs the ball. The Hoosiers might need all the firepower they can muster against the Buccaneers, who have averaged 62 points over their last two games, both victories.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: None
ABOUT CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (2-2): The Buccaneers are stacked in the backfield, with a running attack that averages 227 yards a game and 5.1 per rush. And while leading rusher Noah Shuler garners a lot of headlines with his 204 yards and four touchdowns, Terrance Wilson is making a name for himself in a hurry as well and could find himself toting the pigskin even more this week. The freshman has gained 164 yards on just 12 carries, averaging 13.7 yards per carry, and he had two scoring runs of 62 and 44 yards in last week’s win over Mississippi Valley State on his only two runs of the contest.
ABOUT INDIANA (2-2): One area of focus for the Hoosiers this week has been special teams, which killed the team in their game with Penn State last week. In the first quarter, Indiana allowed an opening kickoff return for a touchdown by Saquon Barkley, fumbled away the ball on a punt return that was returned for a score and committed a roughing the kicker penalty that set the Nittany Lions up for another score. Allen didn’t make any major changes to the special teams lineup but has emphasized to his team that they must do better on eliminating the mistakes that cost them against Penn State.
1. Indiana’s defense limited Penn State to 39 rushing yards last week, the fewest by a Big Ten opponent since November 2013 against Purdue (31).
2. Hoosiers LB Tegray Scales set a career high with three sacks against Penn State and also notched a team-best 11 tackles.
3. Indiana’s Ian Thomas ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten and fifth nationally among tight ends with 254 receiving yards while his three touchdowns tie him for third nationally.
PREDICTION: Indiana 48, Charleston Southern 20