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2021 Indiana Hoosiers: Not Slipping Up on Anyone this Year
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

2021 Indiana Hoosiers: Not Slipping Up on Anyone this Year

Last season Coach Tom Allen led the Hoosiers to an unusual thing: A Winning Season!. That doesn’t happen too often in Bloomington and there are plenty of reasons to think it will happen again in 2021. Not only that, but some pundits have Indiana in the Top-20. Pretty heady stuff for a basketball school. In a year controlled by Covid, the Hoosiers went 6-2 and have plenty of weapons back for an encore.

Offense: The fate of the offense depends on the the right knee of star QB Michael Penix Jr. When he is healthy Indiana is 10-2. He clearly is a difference maker and can beat you with his arms and his legs. He has a capable back-up in Jack Tuttle but he is not Penix Jr. The receiving group is loaded with Ty Fryfogle, a third-team All-American, D.J. Matthews, and TE Peyton Hendershot back in the fold. All three have caught a lot of passes in their career. The major question mark centers around who will replace RB Stevie Scott who rushed for 2,543 yards and 30 TDs the past three seasons. This will be a key to how well the offense performs. The offensive line returns 4 starters from last year plus Michigan transfer Zach Carpenter.

Defense: Nine starters are back including all four upfront players. Third-team All-American LB, Micah McFadden leads the linebackers and will be joined by three-year starter Marcelino McCrary. The secondary is solid also and led by 1st-team All American CB, Tiawan Mullen, who became the first Indiana player in history to earn first team honors at that position. This could be the best defense in IU history.

Non-Conference Schedule:

9/11 Idaho

9/18 Cincinnati

9/25 at Western Kentucky

The non-con schedule includes a must win at home against Idaho. Then comes a great matchup against a Cincinnati team that figures to be the best Group of Five squad in the country and might be in the Top-10 at the end of the season. If Indiana wins that one, they will grab a lot of attention. The road game at Western Kentucky will be tricky as they will be coming off the emotions of the Cincinnati game and could be ripe for an upset.

Conference Schedule:

9/4 at Iowa

10/2 at Penn State

10/16 Michigan State

10/23 Ohio State

10/30 at Maryland

11/6 at Michigan

11/13 Rutgers

11/20 Minnesota

11/27 at Purdue

The conference schedule is difficult and will come down to how the Hoosiers play on the road. They have 5 games away from Bloomington with games at Maryland and Purdue must wins. It will be the other three games that will determine Indiana’s place in the conference. They open the season at Iowa and their second conference game is at Penn State. Can they win those 2 games? They then have an early November trip to Ann Arbor and the Wolverines. Definitely, not an easy task. The home schedule includes must wins against Michigan State and Rutgers, a toss-up game against Minnesota and a probable loss against Ohio State.

Summary: On paper Indiana looks 2nd best in the division (if the QB is healthy)behind Ohio State. So, why am I picking them 4th? I guess I need proof that last year wasn’t a fluke. They had some good wins for sure against Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin. They played Ohio State close although the Buckeyes squandered a big lead. They went to the Outback Bowl and loss to Ole Miss and that was a bad loss. And 2020 was the year of the pandemic and can we really judge anything because of that. I think they will be a good team but they won’t slip up on anyone in 2021 and are they ready to get the big boy’s best shot?

Predicted Finish: 4th Place in the East

Overall Record: 7-5

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