(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Indiana Football: It’s Time to Turn the Page….And Not Overlook Rutgers

You’ve probably seen that Indiana is a double digit favorite on the road in the Big Ten on Saturday.  Our latest check of the line shows the Hoosiers as 17 point favorites.  Clearly Vegas has moved on from IU’s first loss of the season.

Or maybe the oddsmakers believe Rutgers is just that bad.  Hopefully the Hoosiers don’t travel out to New Jersey with that attitude.  Their history against the Scarlet Knights certainly doesn’t warrant taking them lightly.

Sure they handled Rutgers 41-0 in a rain soaked affair in Bloomington last November.  We’re here to tell you that was an outlier.  Despite what happened last year, or the scores of Rutgers’ games this year, or Saturday’s point spread, Indiana will be tested on Saturday on the road.  Or if you prefer, “Not so fast my friend!”

This is a Rutgers program that beat Purdue and Maryland at home last year.  And prior to last year, they had given IU fits.

In 2016 the Hoosiers were a 13-point favorite and barely escaped Piscataway with a 33-27 win.

Image result for highpoint stadium
Image via Rutgers Athletics

The 2015 game in Bloomington should have its own nickname.  Something along the lines of “The Unforgivable” comes to mind as IU blew a 52-28 late third quarter lead.  IU was a six point favorite in that one and lost by three.

IU went out to Rutgers in 2014 and got manhandled in the second half and lost 45-23.  The circumstances were a bit different that year, as they did go into that game as an 8-point underdog with Zander Diamont as the starting quarterback.  Only a 307 yard performance by Tevin Coleman gave the Hoosiers a fighting chance.

The bottom line here is that Indiana is not in a position to take anyone in the Big Ten lightly.  That Rutgers loss to Buffalo at home last week is fool’s gold.  The Bulls are 4-0 and have defeated Eastern Michigan (which beat Purdue) and Temple (which beat Maryland).

This Rutgers team returned a decent amount of their offensive and defensive production from last year.  Coming into the season, this game against Indiana was viewed as a virtual coin toss.  They struggle to score points, but Rutgers is going to surprise a couple teams this year.  Indiana had better be ready.

TURNING THE PAGE

If Indiana is going to go on the road and take care of business on Saturday, a big key will be the Hoosiers’ ability to learn from their first loss of the season, turn the page, and move on.  Several Hoosier players addressed that topic on Monday.

Defensive lineman Nile Sykes, who recorded his first sack of the season and also got pressure on Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke to influence an interception had this to say about getting ready for Saturday:

“Just prepare like we’ve been preparing, make sure that we’re playing our best on Saturday, make sure we’re ready to play another Big Ten game, and like coach says, this next game is always the most important one because its the next one.”

You can watch senior safety Jonathan Crawford discuss the topic here:

Punt returner and wide receiver J-Shun Harris recognizes the value of the running game to the success of this football team:

“We’re definitely going to have to get our run game together and that’s going to be a huge part of the success for our passing as well, so if we can click on both cylinders running and passing then it’s kind of tough for defenses to play us.”

Finally, starting quarterback Peyton Ramsey will be looking to rebound from a two interception game against the Spartans.  Here is what he had to say yesterday about looking forward:

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