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Indiana season preview: Wealth of returning players bodes well for Hoosiers

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Hoosierfootball
Coach: Kevin Wilson (5-19 in third year)
Last year: 4-8
2013 schedule
Aug. 29 vs. Indiana State, 7 pm., BTN
Sept. 7 vs. Navy, 6 p.m., BTN
Sept. 14 vs. Bowling Green, noon, ESPNU
Sept. 21 vs. Missouri, 8 p.m., BTN
Oct. 5 vs. Penn State, TBA
Oct. 12 at Mich. State, noon
Oct. 19 at Michigan, 3:30 p.m., BTN
Nov. 2 vs. Minnesota, 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 9 vs. Illinois, TBA
Nov. 16 at Wisconsin, TBA
Nov. 23 at Ohio State, TBA
Nov. 30 vs. Purdue, TBA
Key game of season for the Hoosiers: Oct. 5 vs. Penn State. This will be the Hoosiers' fifth straight home game to open the season and their Big Ten opener. If they want to prove they are a bowl team and can be a Big Ten factor, they have to win this game. After this they will go on the road for two straight games – at Michigan State, at Michigan – and they must have momentum entering that stretch. The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, will be feeling the effects of their NCAA sanctions and should be vulnerable.
Key players returning: Mitch Ewald, Sr., K; Stephen Houston, Sr. RB; Shane Wynn, Jr., WR; Cody Latimer, Jr., WR; Ted Bolser, Sr., TE; Jason Spriggs, So., OL; Greg Heban, Sr., S; Tre Roberson, So., QB; Cam Coffman, Jr., QB; Nate Sudfeld, So., QB.

Offensive line could be among Big Ten's best

Thursday, August 22, 2013 - 12:01 am

Indiana is set to have a big season in coach Kevin Wilson's third season. IU returns 20 starters, the most in the Big Ten. The team has perhaps the conference's best kicker in Mitch Ewald, who has 44 career field goals and is Indiana's most accurate kicker ever at 80 percent. It has a pair of big-play receivers in Shane Wynn and Cody Latimer. Wynn is only 5-7 and 168 pounds, but still led IU in receiving last year (68 catches, 660 yards and six touchdowns).

Latimer made second-team All-Big Ten after totaling 51 catches for 805 yards and six touchdowns.

The Hoosiers are very high on their offensive line. With Jason Spriggs, Collin Rahrig, Dan Feeney and Peyton Eckert, they have the foundation to have one of the Big Ten's best lines. If they do, that will open up an explosive spread attack that averaged 30.8 points last year. Boosting the running game has been a big point of emphasis.

Quarterback has been uncertain, but in a good way given Tre Roberson, Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld are all talented and experienced. Don't be surprised if all three play significant roles this season.

The defense has struggled, but it does return eight starters. A key contributor will be cornerback Kenny Mullen, a former Bishop Luers standout.

IU won just one game in Wilson's first season. It went 4-8 last year, with four losses by four or fewer points. All signs point to the Hoosiers making their first bowl game since 2007 and just their second since 1993.

Intriguing aspect of the Hoosiers

The Hoosiers have their best freshman class in a generation. Fifteen of the newcomers are on defense, including four-star (out of five) impact players in defensive end David Kenney, safety Antonio Allen, defensive back Rashard Fant and defensive tackle Darius Latham. Don't forget former Homestead standout Isaac Griffith, a promising receiver.

Indiana fans will cheer if…

IU can play just decent defense. The Hoosiers have rated among the Big Ten's worst defenses for a generation. If they can play just average defense, they have a chance a bowl.

Indiana fans will boo if…

IU doesn't start strong. The Hoosiers open with five straight home games and play a school-record eight home games overall. They need to be at least 4-1 before facing a pair of road games against Michigan State and Michigan.