2022 Indiana Hoosiers Preview

by Matt Fargo

Indiana Hoosiers

2021-22 Season Record 2-10 (0-9 Big Ten) - 2-10-0 ATS - 7-5-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 5
Defense - 7

Overview

Indiana is not known as a football powerhouse so when the Hoosiers came into last season ranked No. 17 in the AP Preseason Poll, the first time ranked since 1969 when they were pegged at No. 14, something special may be happening. 2020 was a weird year because of COVID so take it for what it is worth but beating Michigan, Michigan St. and Wisconsin and losing to Ohio St. by just a touchdown is impressive for any team, let along a program like Indiana. Expectations were sky high heading into 2021 with that massive Big Ten season and 17 starters back yet the Hoosiers got nothing going and had their worst season since 2011 when they went 1-11. Head coach Tom Allen put together a very respectable 24-21 record in his first four seasons, the best four-year run since the early 90s, and just like that a 2-10 mark has put the Hoosiers back to familiar territory.

Offense

Indiana was coming off a pair of seasons where it averaged 32.6 ppg and 30.1 ppg and with eight starters back, the Hoosiers were ready to take off. Instead, they averaged 17.2 ppg and 290.0 ypg, No. 123 and No. 124 in the country respectively and now more questions than answers await. Part of the issue was they could not stay healthy, namely at quarterback where Michael Penix, Jr. played only five games and there was no semblance of a running game. There is a three-man competition led by Connor Bazelak to try and get the offense moving again but it will not come easy. The top two receivers are gone and transfers will try and take on two of the three top spots and as for the running game, it is a similar story with the top two backs elsewhere. The offensive line was awful and this is where the turnaround has to start and it will be a challenge with a mix of new and old.

Defense

The defense was better but it would have taken a miracle effort to make up for the lack of offense and that obviously did not happen. While they allowed only seven more ypg from 2020, they gave up nearly two touchdowns more per contest and the Big Ten ate them alive. Like the offense, transfers will be a big part of the unit and there are pieces in place to get better. The strength is in the secondary with three starters back but they need to improve on the five interceptions gained last season, No. 120 in the nation. The rushing defense was not horrible but it has to do a better job at the point of contact as there were too many missed tackles. The defensive line will have at least three transfers to try and solve the issues as well as getting to the quarterback where it was No. 114 with just 17 sacks. The linebacking corps lost its best player but there is depth in the middle.

2022 Season Outlook

Allen was getting all sorts of praise after his first four seasons but it does not take long for the critics to speak out and while his job is not in jeopardy, something good has to go their way to avoid another extended freefall. While the conference was better last season, losing nine games by an average of 24.7 ppg is inexcusable and it does not get much easier this season. Indiana opens the season at home against Illinois which is a big game for both teams to get out to a strong start and then it hosts Idaho and Western Kentucky in a revenge game for the Hilltoppers, the lone FBS win for Indiana last season. The Big Ten slate is manageable early but closes with four brutal matchups. The O/U win total is set at 4 which looks spot on as there are four games that stand out as wins on paper so it will take a couple strong efforts on the road to climb over that mark and compete for a bowl. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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