This week will feature a battle between two of the power conferences in college football at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington Indiana.
The Indiana Hoosiers may not always be the first team that jumps to the forefront of one’s thoughts when they are thinking of Big Ten Football, nor are the Missouri Tigers the first team that comes to mind when a fan is pondering SEC football. But, the truth is that these are the two teams that will represent their respective conferences in a matchup on the gridiron this weekend.
The Tigers will be rolling into Bloomington with a 2-0 record looking to win a big road victory. The Tigers have not competed in a road game so far this season. The Tigers have also not had a true test to gauge their team as they have easily won home games over Murray State and Toledo. The Tigers a slight favorite in this game, but many are expecting this to be a game worth watching.
Coach Gary Pinkel has been in Colombia for 13 seasons as the head coach now and is looking to establish his team as a contender in the always-strong SEC. Pinkel has historically fielded very explosive offensive teams. He also finds away to keep his teams in close games. Pinkel seems to be motivated by the challenge that comes from switching from the Big 12 to the SEC.
With that transition has come a greater challenge for his offensive squads because of the talent they are up against every week in the SEC. For Indiana fans who may have expected their team to continue to win by putting up outlandishly high point totals week after week, they may have their eyes opened this weekend when they face off a team with an equally capable offense.
The Tigers feature a very elusive quarterback who is happy to take off with the ball when a hole opens up for him. Quarterback James Franklin will be responsible for the bulk of the Tigers’ offense as he has led the team in rushing for one game already this season. He is capable of succeeding in the prominent Missouri spread offense.
As for the Hoosiers, fans should expect to see something a bit different. Instead of looking for much from sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld, Indiana needs to attempt to establish a running game. This is a perfect opportunity for the Hoosiers to get their ground game going. They are facing an unproven opponent with a defense that is expected to struggle this year.
The Hoosiers will need to rush the ball in the Big Ten. Also, Missouri has lacked the ability to rush the ball at times. If the Hoosiers can find a balanced attack, they will control the clock in this game. If Indiana controls the clock at home against Missouri, they should represent the Big Ten well and get a victory this weekend, but do not count out the experience of a coach like Gary Pinkel.