Statistics don’t always tell the whole story, but in the case of Indiana’s 2018 football team, the numbers seem to suggest that the Hoosiers are doing a few things at an elite national level.
At the top of the list is an offense the puts together sustained drives. There are several different variables that go into a successful ball control offense, and the Hoosiers’ statistical profile through three games highlights many of them quite well.
The IU defense has also been a pleasant surprise in many respects, especially when opposing teams are throwing the ball.
Of course when it comes to Indiana and statistics you cannot go too far without the standard caveats such as (i) asking if this be sustained in the Big Ten, and (ii) noting that the stats also show areas where improvement is needed.
But the bottom line is, sitting here today, this Indiana football team is doing a few things at a very high level that at least on paper suggests that they will be competitive as the schedule gets more challenging. For now, the result is that Indiana is one of only 35 undefeated teams in the NCAA’s FBS (Division I).
3rd Down Conversions: The Hoosiers are converting nearly 50 percent of their third downs (48.8%) and stand at 22nd in the country and third in the Big Ten.
4th Down Conversions: Along those same lines, IU has converted on four of five fourth down attempts, which is good for 19th best in the nation.
Completion Percentage: The Peyton Ramsey/Michael Penix combination is on an IU record setting pace in terms of completing passes. Collectively, they sit at 74.7 percent, which is good for 4th best in the country and 2nd in the Big Ten.
First Downs: The IU offense has been a first down generating machine. With 37 rushing first downs, 30 passing, and 11 via penalties, the Hoosiers rank 17th overall and 2nd in the Big Ten when it comes to moving the chains.
Fumbles Lost: IU has lost just one fumble thus far (Stevie Scott vs. Ball State). That puts them at 16th nationally and 2nd in the Big Ten.
Sacks Allowed: The veteran Hoosier offensive line has kept its quarterbacks clean, giving up just one sack on the season. That puts IU at 4th in the country and 1st in the Big Ten.
Passing Yards Allowed: Sure, one could argue that the rain against Virginia helped out here, but just 135 yards a game is good for 8th best in the country and first in the Big Ten. There will be bigger tests down the road, but this is impressive no matter how you slice it.
Team Passing Efficiency Defense: This stat is intended to be an overall measure of a pass defense factoring in completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns allowed, plus interceptions. Indiana comes in at 22nd nationally here.
Fumbles Recovered: Takeaways are big focus of Tom Allen’s defense, and so far there has been productivity. IU has collected three fumbles which puts them at 17th nationally and first in the Big Ten. Indiana is also 29th nationally in total turnover margin.
Punt Return Yards Allowed: This one just might be the biggest outlier of all. Heydon Whitehead has punted the ball 12 times thus far on the season, and IU has yet to give up a punt return yard. That’s good for 8th best nationally, and the best in the Big Ten.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE
Yards Per Completion: If there are still Peyton Ramsey doubters out there, they will surely point to the team’s 8.88 yards per pass completion, which puts IU at 126th nationally and 13th in the Big Ten.
Red Zone Defense: IU has given up a score in every opponent’s trip into their red zone which leaves them at 109th nationally and 11th in the Big Ten.
Red Zone Offense: The Hoosier offense has had a few mishaps when it possessed the ball in the red zone, and it stands at 94th nationally and 10th in the Big Ten.
Rushing Defense: IU is giving up 187.3 rushing yards per game, which is 94th in the country and 13th in the Big Ten. This is an area that will need to improve quickly with the Big Ten East coming up.
INDIVIDUAL STATS OF NOTE
- Stevie Scott:
- 8th in rushing yards and rushing yards per game
- 28th in all-purpose yards per game
- Peyton Ramsey:
- 7th in completion percentage
- J-Shun Harris:
- 23rd in yards per punt return
- Donavan Hale:
- 19th in receiving touchdowns
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