The Nebraska Cornhuskers host Indiana this weekend in Big Ten action with each program seeking another step toward bowl eligibility. In fact, after tying their 2017 & 2018 win total already this season, a road victory today ensures Indiana’s 2019 bowl eligibility. Meanwhile, Nebraska is 4-3 after dropping two of three recent outings. The Hoosiers sit fourth among the uber-competitive Big Ten East. Nebraska is tied for third in the West.
Indiana opens as a slight -1.5 favorite. However, there could be considerable line movement as health information is released concerning each team’s currently injured starting quarterback. It is worth noting Indiana has functioned much smoother than Nebraska with their #2 behind center.
These programs last met in 2016 when Indiana pushed, but ultimately fell vs. No. 10 Nebraska 27-22.
Indiana making stridesAfter 11-consecutive losing seasons, the Indiana Hoosiers have a chance today to ensure at least a .500 record this year. That’s great news for head IU coach Tom Allen. Allen replaced Kevin Wilson in late 2016 and has since guided Indiana to a pair of 5-7 performances. Though, with his initial recruiting class now at maturity, Indiana is bordering on national respectability.
The Hoosiers work behind a stout defense, allowing just 20.9 points per game: No. 32 FBS. Though it was a solid recent offensive display, led by backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey, which carried visiting IU over Maryland 34-28. Ramsey replaced injured Mike Penix at the 12-minute mark to begin second-quarter play after Penix left with an injured shoulder.
Ramsey finished his afternoon with 20 of 27 completions, one touchdown, 193 passing yards and 46 rushing yards to boot. Running back Stevie Scott added two touchdowns and 108 ground yards as senior wideouts Nick Westbrook and Donovan Hale grabbed one aerial score each to aid Indiana’s cause.
Penix, amid a fine season, is listed as questionable for this weekend’s division matchup.
Though, the Hoosier’s defense kept Maryland’ total yardage at 383 while forcing two turnovers and dominating time of possession by 11 minutes.
Indiana is 2-1 away from home this season, pushing then No.25 Michigan State before suffering its lone road loss.
Nebraska offense missing without MartinezFollowing a 3-1 start, while briefly cracking the top 25, Nebraska has fared 1-2 since, recently being thumped by Minnesota 34-7. A major reason for that downturn is the ongoing injury status of starting quarterback Adrian Martinez. Martinez missed last week’s contest after injuring his left knee vs. Northwestern.
Postgame Press Conference:— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) October 13, 2019
» Nebraska at Minnesota https://t.co/4es9oIShiQ
Opposite the unbeaten Golden Gophers, reserve Cornhuskers quarterback Nick Verdal had issues moving the chains. Verdal finished his afternoon completing 14 of 23 passes for 135 yards and zero scoring strikes. Further, Nebraska’s run game added just 151 yards opposite the Gophers’ grinding defense.
An update concerning Martinez’ status should come later this week. However, Nebraska’s middling defense (27.6 points allowed, No. 71 FBS) must still contend with Indiana’s above-average scoring attack. And the plodding Cornhuskers offense may be without their pulse if Martinez remains sidelined. Martinez leads Nebraska with ten touchdowns and adds 341 total rushing yards to comprise a legitimate dual-threat.