A pair of programs from the Big Ten do battle in search of a conference victory up in the Cornhusker State. The Indiana Hoosiers are on the road as they make the trip north to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday night. Indiana was drubbed 45-24 on the road by Cincinnati in their most recent contest last Saturday, failing to cover as a 16.5-point underdog. Nebraska had a bye week last week: they were clobbered 49-14 at home as an 11-point underdog by then-#6 Oklahoma back on September 17 in their first game since firing coach Scott Frost. In the all-time series between the schools, the Hoosiers own a 10-8-3 advantage, including a 38-31 victory on the road in the most recent matchup on October 26, 2019.
Indiana Hoosiers Look to Get Back in Win ColumnIndiana was unbeaten on the season before going on the road last week and getting pounded by Cincinnati. The Hoosiers dropped to 3-1 on the season with the defeat and stand 1-0 in Big Ten play going into this contest. Against Cincinnati, Indiana tied the game at three late in the first quarter only to give up a touchdown on the next play from scrimmage to trail 10-3. They never got even again, giving up four second-quarter touchdowns to trail 38-10 at the half. You could turn out the lights at that point. Indiana was outgained 394-348 in total offense and turned the ball over three times, including a scoop-six, while forcing only one takeaway. Those numbers sunk the fact that the Hoosiers held a 27-15 edge in first downs and a slim 30:01 to 29:59 margin in time of possession.
The Hoosiers enter this game 28th in the FBS in passing offense with an average of 292.8 yards per game through the air and they are 108th in rushing offense with 114.8 yards per contest. Indiana stands 83rd in the FBS in scoring offense as they put up an average of 28.8 points per game and they are 88th in scoring defense by allowing 29.2 points per contest. Connor Bazelak has completed 108 of 202 pass attempts for 1,171 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Shaun Shivers leads the Hoosiers in rushing with 69 carries for 320 yards plus three scores on the ground this season. Josh Henderson (36 carries, 159 yards, two TD) is the second back in the system. Cam Camper is the top receiver for the Hoosiers as he has hauled in 33 passes for 418 yards plus a score on the year. D.J. Matthews Jr. (17 receptions, 198 yards, two TD) and Shivers (11 catches, 65 yards, TD) are the only other players with double-digit catches for the Hoosiers this season. Charles Campbell has connected on all nine extra point attempts and eight of nine field goal tries with a long of 51 this season.
Nebraska Cornhuskers Trying to Find a Way to Get On TrackNebraska was walloped in their first game after firing Scott Frost as they were steamrolled by #6 Oklahoma two weeks ago. The Cornhuskers dropped to 1-3 overall on the season and are 0-1 in the Big Ten so they look to get back in the win column here. Against Oklahoma in their previous game, Nebraska scored on their opening drive to take a 7-0 lead before giving up 49 unanswered points. They didn’t score again until only 3:17 remained in the contest with the game well out of reach. The Cornhuskers were crushed 580-327 in total offense, lost the first down battle 31-21 and lost the turnover battle 2-1. Those numbers far overshadowed the Cornhuskers’ narrow 30:24 to 29:36 edge in time of possession in the contest.
On the season, the Cornhuskers are 59th in the nation in passing offense with 257.5 yards per game while they are tied for 35th in the nation with 193.5 yards per contest when it comes to rushing offense. Nebraska is 73rd in the FBS in scoring offense with 30.5 points per game while they are 114th in scoring defense by holding opposing teams to 35.5 points per contest. Casey Thompson is 76 of 117 passing for 995 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions on the year. Chubba Purdy is seven of 11 passing for 35 yards and an interception while adding 29 rushing yards plus a score. Anthony Grant leads the ground game with 82 carries for 464 yards plus five scores this season. Ajay Allen (33 carries, 190 yards, two TD) and Gabe Ervin Jr. (nine carries, 61 yards) are the next backs in the system. Trey Palmer leads the team in receptions with 28 for 323 yards plus a score this season. Marcus Washington (12 grabs, 198 yards) and Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda (five catches, 120 yards, TD) are the only other players to crack the century mark in receiving yards this season. Timmy Bleekrode has connected on all 17 extra point attempts and one of three field goal attempts with a long of 46 on the year.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Nebraska continues to struggle as things didn’t get any better with Mickey Joseph taking over the head coaching job after Frost’s firing. The Cornhuskers have major issues on the defensive side of the ball and they have hurt themselves with turnovers, committing seven giveaways in their four games. Opposing QBs have completed 66.5% of their throws against the Cornhuskers for 1,122 yards and seven scores while Nebraska has surrendered 934 yards, 5.7 yards per carry and a dozen scores on the ground. That could prime Bazelak for a big day as the Cornhuskers have struggled to slow opposing teams this season. Look for the Hoosiers to head into Lincoln and come up with a road victory to remain unbeaten in conference play.
Full-Game Total Pick
Indiana has seen the over hit in three of their four games this season. The Hoosiers have posted combined point totals of 43 (vs. Illinois), 57 (vs. Idaho), 63 (vs. Western Kentucky) and 69 (at Cincinnati) this season. Those numbers came against posted totals at kickoff of 47.5, 50.5, 61.5 and 57.5 points this season. Nebraska has split their four games in relation to the total this season. The Cornhuskers have seen totals of 54 points (vs. Northwestern in Ireland), 55 (vs. North Dakota), 87 (vs. Georgia Southern) and 63 (vs. Oklahoma) in their games. Nebraska had totals of 52.5, 62.5, 64 and 65.5 points this season set by the sportsbooks. This total may be a little too low as both teams have had their issues on the defensive side of the ball. Look for Indiana to find a way to push this over the number.