Biggest, Baddest Game Preview: Indiana Hoosiers at Missouri


Time to wipe the snot from your noses Hoosier football fans. It’s a brand new week of Indiana football.

One quick note, Columbia, Missouri is basically no further south than Bloomington (less than one longitudinal degree difference). I just felt like that needed to be said. If there’s some magic voodoo that makes teams from the south superior to those from the north, Mizzou doesn’t have it. Phew.

1. Defense. Just Defense.

This has pretty much been the staple “Key to Victory” since forever. I won’t belabor it, but I will throw some stats your way that might get your optimistic juices flowing. Missouri has not been great on offense. Consider first that their two FBS opponents have ranked 89 (UCF) and 113 (Toledo) in total defense and Indiana ranks 57. I know, stats are stupid this early in the season, but still, Indiana is the toughest defense Missouri will have faced this year (HA!). Against those mediocre units, Missouri has only managed to rank 87 in passing offense, 47 in rushing offense and 80 in total offense. I mean…not bad, right? On paper this match up is against the nation’s 57th ranked defense and 80th ranked offense. Huh.

On paper this match up is against Indiana’s 57th ranked defense and Missouri’s 80th ranked offense.

2. Run Tevin, RUN!

GREAT NEWS. Missouri’s run defense is worse than Indiana’s. The Tigers are 48th in yards surrendered per carry while the Hoosiers are 39th. Toledo’s Kareem Hunt torched the Tigers on his way to a 148 yard and 3 TD day while averaging 9.9 yards per carry. Heck, South Dakota State’s top back even put over 100 yards and 2 TDs on Mizzou. Think about the kind of numbers the top running back in the nation (in terms of average yards per game) could put up against that kind of defense.

3. Sudfeld MUST Perform Despite Heavy Pressure

With the above information in mind, one would think priority numero uno for Gary Pinkel’s defense this week would be stopping Tevin Coleman. It will be. That should open the door for Nate Sudfeld to pick apart a defense ranked 83rd in the country at defending against the pass. Missouri is allowing their opponents to complete over 60% of their pass attempts and opposing QB’s are sporting a 108 QB Rating.

However, last year Sudfeld had a measly 36.5 QBR against the Tigers with 3 costly interceptions. The issue was obvious. Missouri was in Nate’s face all day long, and Sudfeld handled the pressure terribly. In order to the stop the run and mess with Sudfeld, expect Mizzou to bring heavy, heavy pressure. How Nate reacts to that pressure will largely determine Indiana’s offensive success, as it did last year.

4. Show Up at Winning Time

Indiana was clinging to a 3 point lead. It was late in the fourth quarter. Their opponent had mounted a threatening drive and had the ball all the way inside Hoosier territory.

Yes, that’s the scenario that we all witnessed last weekend, and we all know how it ended. But guess what? That is the exact same sequence that unfolded at the end of the game the last time Indiana beat a ranked opponent. Except for the ending.

The Terry Hoeppner led Hoosiers stepped up. They made a play during Winning Time. They found a way to win rather than lose as safety Will Meyers made a diving, one-handed interception on the Indiana 14 yard line. It was awesome. It was what winners do. It was what Indiana has lacked for years. It’s what will have to happen if the Hoosiers want to win Saturday.

5. Beat Kevin Down Cherry Hill: “Who ever said you had to be good to play football?…Even if they still beat you 99 times out of 100, that still leaves…ONE TIME.”

The Hoosiers are definitely the Little Giants in this week’s match up. Let’s consider what we know. Indiana is about to play a ranked team on the road. Indiana has lost 18 in a row to ranked opponents dating back to an upset over Iowa in 2006. 2006!!!  As for the road bit, the Hoosiers lost all four of their road games last year by an average of 26.5 points.

Meanwhile, in their last 43 home games against unranked opponents, the Tigers have come out on top 40 times. Hopefully the IU bus has a VHS player so Wilson can throw in the Little Giants tape for the kids on the way to Columbia.

Nonessential Knowledge:

  • Truman the Tiger (Mizzou’s mascot) is named after Harry Truman. Just thought I’d drop that bomb on you.
  • Indiana ranks dead last in the country in both field goals and punting. Neither of those positions is coached at IU. Literally.
  • The experts in Vegas think this game will be closer than most fans. The line is just 13.5 in favor of Mizzou. Only 8% of gamblers have picked the Hoosiers to cover.


*unless otherwise noted, all statistics were pulled from