Wisconsin looks to overpower struggling Indiana

Running backs Bradrick Shaw and Jonathan Taylor will look to pound the rock against Inidana this weekend.

Image By: Brandon Moe

Heading into the final third of the season, the Indiana Hoosiers looked to play the role of The Little Engine That Could — both so close to climbing over the mountain, yet so far. In what has been an extremely underwhelming year for IU, who stand at a 3-5 overall record, the Hoosiers are still in search for their first Big Ten victory.

While it was short-lived, the Hoosiers shocked the nation on opening night of College Football as they squared off against conference foe and then-No. 2 Ohio State in Bloomington. The Hoosiers showed promise as they controlled the game and effectively limited the high-octane Buckeye offense for the better part of three quarters. Late in the third quarter, the Hoosiers led the Buckeyes 21-20. But the Buckeyes, led by star-quarterback and Heisman contender J.T. Barrett, finally awoke and scored 29 unanswered points in the final 20 minutes of the game, leading Ohio State to a 49-21 rout of Indiana.

Unfortunately, the momentum the Hoosiers hoped to build off of those first three quarters has not amounted to much this season. Finishing games has been a particular problem of late for Indiana, as it has dropped its last three conference games to Michigan, Michigan State and Maryland by a grand total of 18 points. The Spartans and Terrapins both used huge fourth quarters to overtake the Hoosiers, while Michigan intercepted a Peyton Ramsey pass on 4th and goal to end the game.

Sometimes, records can be deceiving, and, in this case, the Hoosiers fall into this category. Yes, they barely lost to a struggling Michigan team and, yes, they lost to a Maryland team that has been not found much traction as of late, but the Hoosiers have literally been drives and plays away from being 6-2 and one of the more prominent teams in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers rank No. 30 in the nation in total defense, but despite bringing back 10 out of their 11 starters from last season, the defense as a collective unit has shown they do not have the clutch-factor necessary to make big plays down the stretch. The defense, simply, has hindered the Hoosier’s from climbing over the proverbial mountain.

The Hoosiers are at a crossroads entering this week versus the No. 4 Badgers as first year head coach Tom Allen has not yet been able to capitalize on his opportunity to take the Hoosier football program to a higher level.

If the Hoosiers are to have any shot at getting their season back on track, they must look towards the leadership of redshirt freshman quarterback Peyton Ramsey, along with his favorite target and junior wide receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. and a rotating backfield primarily filled by running backs Morgan Ellison and Cole Gest to have breakout games.

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