Indiana Football Must Prove It Can Be More Than A High-Scoring Circus Act In 2014

By Michael Briggs
Indiana Football 2014 Season
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Call me a purist, but I don’t believe the Indiana Hoosiers‘ style of football belongs in the Big 10.

Last season, the Hoosiers won just five games despite scoring 38.4 points a game. That’s right — nearly 40 points a game didn’t even earn the Hoosiers the opportunity to go to a bowl game. If we’re measuring an offense by its efficiency, a superior one should be able to produce wins at least at a 50 percent clip, right?

Sure, IU’s strength of schedule was a commendable 26th overall in the nation last season, but when exactly does the novelty of high-flying offense wear off when it’s not defeating the teams it routinely plays? You know, like when the Hoosiers were in desperate need of a win, but instead suffered 51-3 and 42-14 defeats to the Wisconsin Badgers and Ohio State Buckeyes?

Meanwhile, if the offense sputtered down the stretch, the Hoosiers’ defense was a runaway train bearing down a cliff. Under the direction of head coach Kevin Wilson, the Hoosiers have been a complete joke defensively, surrendering 38.8 points per game in 2013. In the Big 10, where teams traditionally pound defenses between the hashmarks to open up the passing game, the IU defense looked like its players studied calculus for their history final, allowing 5.4 yards per carry.

Inevitably, opposing offenses then opened up for 290 yards per game through the air, running and gunning to the tune of 527.9 yards a game — which was actually even more than the Hoosiers accounted for on offense.

Wilson’s style of play is not cutting it in the Big 10. As the program is currently constructed, it appears the only way the Hoosiers can save their coach’s job is by actually learning how to defend. If Indiana believes its offensive approach can translate into wins — yes, even on the road in crucial games against the conference’s best teams — new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr is going to have to get his players to make significant strides this season.

Otherwise, expect Wilson’s circus act to be on the road for a new destination in 2015.

Michael Briggs is a College Football Writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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