One: Play ruthless defense
Bloomington is the home of the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for the past three weeks in a row now, so the Badgers are going to have to play incredible defense in order to beat the Indiana Hoosiers. In last week’s game against Maryland, Indiana’s junior running back Stevie Scott rushed 80 yards and scored three touchdowns. This season, Scott has the fourth best rushing record in the Big Ten, totaling to 405 yards.
Indiana has more tricks up their offensive sleeve than just running the ball, though. Senior wide receiver Ty Fryfogle was named the Big Ten’s best offensive player the two consecutive weeks before Scott snagged the title, including in their game against Ohio State. Three of Fryfogle’s seven catches were touchdown passes against the Buckeyes.
Standout players Scott and Fryfogle make it clear that Indiana’s offense should be taken seriously this year. If the Badgers want to continue their ten game winning streak against the Hoosiers, their defense will have to find ways to rattle Indiana’s offensive success.
Two: Don’t let Jack Tuttle get too comfortable
Starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr., a redshirt sophomore, will be out for the rest of the season after tearing his ACL against Maryland last week. This is the third year in a row Penix’s season has ended due to injury. Backup quarterback Jack Tuttle, also a redshirt sophomore, will start against Wisconsin this week.
After Penix limped off the field in the third quarter, Tuttle successfully completed all five of his passes for 31 yards, ensuring the Hoosier’s 27-11 victory over Maryland. Indiana’s Head Coach Tom Allen has spoken highly of Tuttle’s potential, specifically noting the quarterback’s strong arm and even stronger work ethic.
While Tuttle seemed ready to step up when called upon last weekend, he lacks experience as a starter. To beat the Hoosiers, the Badger’s should take advantage of Tuttle’s inexperience and not let him settle into a groove.
Three: Minimize turnovers
This season, Indiana’s defensive success has been grounded in their ability to force turnovers. The Hoosier’s boast a national-best of three forced turnovers per game, with 16 out of 18 of them being interceptions. While eight different players have intercepted the ball this season, junior defensive back Jaylin Williams leads his team with four. The Hoosiers have been capitalizing off of these turnovers, scoring many of their points off of short touchdown drives as a result.
In their last game against Northwestern, the Badgers endured five turnovers, including four by quarterback Graham Mertz. Indiana’s defense tends to blitz to create chaos and force bad passes, which the Badgers should be weary not to fall victim to. For a shot at victory this week, the Badgers will need to work hard to keep possession of the ball.