Oh boy, oh boy! Football is back, baby! As a fan and student at Indiana University, I’ve been waiting too long for the day to come. Indiana Football kicks off at Iowa on Saturday. This is a marquee, top 25 matchup and should have huge ramifications on the year. Here’s some things you should know about the Hoosiers before the season officially kicks off.
What Happened Last Year
Last year was a historic year for Indiana Football. A roster loaded with talent and heart, the team stormed their way to a comeback overtime win against Penn State. The Michael Penix Jr. two point conversion will always be a legendary snapshot for Hoosiers everywhere. The team was then able to rattle off wins against Rutgers, Michigan, and MSU before facing Ohio State in Columbus. The top 10 matchup turned out to be an instant classic, with Ohio State winning in the end 42-35. The game showed that the Hoosiers were talented enough to play against anyone, and weren’t a COVID cinderella fluke. The next week after that, disaster struck. Penix went down with a torn ACL at Maryland, causing him to miss the rest of the season. Backup Jack Tuttle led the Hoosiers to two more wins, and a controversial appearance in the Outback Bowl. The Hoosiers would end up coming short of their first bowl win since 1991, dropping the game 26-20.
Some BIG Returning Starters
The roster for this season is retaining a lot of talent. The preseason award watch list is extensive on the team. Headlined by Penix, Ty Fryfogle, Tiawan Mullen, and Micah McFadden, this team has a lot of talented leaders ready to make history. All of them are among the best at their position nationally and will have huge impacts on the field. Outside of those four, the offense retained 7 out of 11 starters, with the defense retaining 9 out of 11, respectively. A lot of the guys that stayed were potential draft picks, but wanted to come back to finally takes what’s theirs: a Big Ten Championship, and a Bowl win.
Big Time Transfers
Coach Tom Allen kept himself and his staff very busy during the offseason. Indiana was stealing transfers from big time schools, just showing how the nation views Coach Tom Allen. Headlined by former 5 star Stephen Carr, the transfers all have shots at playing time, with some starting. On the initial depth chart, there are already 4 transfers with starting positions. Carr was slotted in as the starting Running Back, D.J. Matthews Jr. is the starting Wide Receiver, Zach Carpenter is the starting Center, and Ryder Anderson is starting at Defensive End, which is huge for replacing the talent that left this offseason.
What to Expect This Season
Expectations and excitement are sky high for Hoosier fans everywhere. This is arguably the most talented roster to ever step foot in Bloomington, and the most influential coach since Bobby Knight. Tom Allen’s got this team honed in on winning big, not for just themselves but each other. LEO (Love Each Other) runs in these guys’ veins and fuels them to win big games together. The upside this team has makes me believe they can go undefeated. I know, crazy right? The atmosphere just feels different, and the schedule is packed with tough games that can help this team show the world who they are.
My sights may be set too high, which may lead to heartbreak. But, nevertheless, I have Indiana going 11-1 and winning the Big Ten this year. The one loss is gonna come at the hands of Cincinnati, in my opinion. Yes, I think Indiana will best Ohio State this year in Bloomington. I believe in Tom Allen and I believe in these players. This year, the Hoosiers are ready to shock the nation and build a powerhouse for years to come.