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NCAA Football Big 10 FootballIndiana Hoosiers

Dreadful Defense Dooms Indiana Hoosiers

Cody Latimer-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Hoosiers were lucky to only give up 45 points last Saturday. The Missouri Tigers tore through the Hoosier defense like a black plague en route to a 45-28 victory in Bloomington in the first Big 10-SEC matchup of the 2013 season.

The Tigers recorded 623 yards of total offense. 404 of those 623 yards came from the arm and feet of Missouri quarterback James Franklin. Franklin also had a hand in scoring three of the six Missouri touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground. To put that total yardage in perspective, that’s nearly 271 Dwight Howards layed end-to-end.

Indiana’s failure to pressure Franklin was further compounded by their inability to stay with Missouri’s wide receivers. Both Dorial Green-Beckham and Marcus Lucas topped 100 yards receiving for the Tigers and L’Damian Washington added 77 yards receiving.

The Hoosiers fared no better at stopping the run as the Tigers rushed for 280 yards on 50 carries. The 5.6 yards per carry average has been a problem throughout the season for Indiana, as their average yards per rush allowed going into Saturday’s game was 5.1 yards.

The Missouri defense forced three Hoosier turnovers, which led to the Tigers holding a 13-minute time of possession advantage. That disparity was too much for Indiana to overcome even with their high-powered offense.

Speaking of that offense, the 28 points the Hoosiers scored was a far cry from their season average of 44 points. While Indiana was as proficient as ever through the air with 377 yards passing, the time of possession disparity and frequent scoring of the Tigers forced Indiana to abandon their running game. The Hoosiers finished the game with less than half of their normal rushing output at just 98 yards on 26 carries.

What’s more painful for Hoosier fans is that this game could have been worse. If not for two bad decisions by Franklin in the first quarter that led to interceptions and a fumble by Lucas on the Tigers’ first drive of the second quarter, the Tigers might have put up 50-plus points.

Game-planning to beat the Hoosiers for Big 10 coaches should be easy. Don’t turn the ball over when you’re on offense. Moving the ball, milking the clock and keeping the Hoosier offense on the sideline should be easy. Until Indiana improves its defense, there will be little hope for competing for a Big 10 championship in Bloomington.

Derek Helling is a Big 10 football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DRokSH, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+

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