Indiana Football: Hoosiers with the Most to Prove Against Bowling Green


On Saturday, Indiana football heads to Bowling Green State University with a chance to start the season 2-0. While many Hoosiers, namely Tevin Coleman, D’Angelo Roberts and Brian Richardson, looked great in IU’s first game, a few players need to pick it up this weekend. Here’s who has the most to prove against the Falcons.

Nate Sudfeld

I’ve talked at length about how quarterback Nate Sudfeld needs to take the reins and lead IU to a bowl game. With Tre Roberson’s departure from the program, the spotlight is on him, whether he likes it or not. In his first game as Indiana’s lone signal caller, instead of shining, he shrunk (11-of-18, 111 yards, 1 INT). This isn’t all his fault as the Hoosiers were committed to running the ball (455 yards on 69 carries), but I expected a better showing from No. 7.

I don’t think Indiana will be able to run on Bowling Green like it did against Indiana State. The Falcons are supposed to be one of the top teams in the MAC, and as we saw last weekend with Northern Illinois (beat Northwestern), Central Michigan (beat Purdue) and Ball St. (narrowly lost to Iowa) the conference is not to be underestimated.

So, Sudfeld’s number will be called in this game. What’s encouraging is that he’s been successful against the Falcons before. When facing them last year, he was 17-of-26 for 335 yards and two touchdown passes. Indiana should throw the ball much more this week, and it’s up to Sudfeld to deliver.

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Shane Wynn

When I previewed Shane Wynn’s season, I discussed how he is Sudfeld’s go-to option, and it’s up to him to carry the receiving corps. Much like his QB, in his first game as “the man,” he didn’t have a good showing. Wynn pulled in just two catches for a grand total of eight yards.

The Hoosiers offense has to be two-dimensional, and that means Wynn must be involved in the passing game. Maybe the first performance wasn’t truly his fault and more of the blame should be placed on Sudfeld, but still, Wynn needs to demand the ball, because when it’s in his hands, special things tend to happen.

IU’s Secondary

Hoosier defensive backs aren’t on this list because they underwhelmed in the first game. In fact, Indiana State’s QB Mike Perish was held to 140 yards passing and zero touchdowns. This group is named because Bowling Green’s offense (39.5 points per game) is dynamic and presents a much tougher test than Indiana State.

With their “Falcon Fast” offense, Bowling Green will push the pace. It will spread out Indiana’s defense and attempt to whip the pigskin all over the field. This will be the secondary’s first real test of the season, and even though the Falcons’ starting QB Matt Johnson is not playing, the new guy under center, James Knapke, was solid in his debut. He threw for 237 yards (22-of-31) and a score and ran for another. Granted it was against lowly VMI, but the redshirt sophomore looked capable. As the numbers show, Bowling Green is going to let Knapke drop back and let it fly.

Obviously, the entire defense needs to play well, but the onus will be on the secondary to set the tone against Bowling Green’s receivers. A season ago, the Hoosiers allowed 290 passing yards per game. This won’t get the job done in 2014. The Falcons present an opportunity for the IU secondary to prove itself against a quality opponent.