Game Day: Indiana

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It's Halloween and the Indiana Hoosiers are in town. The last time Iowa hosted a Halloween home game was way back in 1987 against (that's right) Indiana. The Hawkeyes won that game 29-21 and went on to finish with a 10-3 record and a #16 ranking. A Halloween win this time would likely mean an even better record and ranking.

The need to know:

What: #4 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
When: 11:00 AM October 31, 2009
TV: ESPN

Thoughts on the game:

Injuries
Both teams this week have a lot of injuries to deal with. Iowa is obviously hurt by the injuries to Richardson and Robinson. Indiana has its own injuries to deal with mostly on the defensive side of the ball. Both backup DEs are likely out. They are also short in the secondary with 2 safeties and 2 cornerbacks with injuries. However, one corner, Donnell Jones is expected to start despite an elbow injury.

The Red Zone
Indiana has one of the best red zone defenses in the country. Opponents have only scored 71% of the time when inside the 20. By comparison, Iowa's opponents have scored 94% of the time. Of the 31 time the Hoosier have been backed up protecting their endzone, opponents have scored just 15 touchdowns and converted 7 field goals. That comes out to an average on just 4 points for each red zone trip. Again by comparison, Iowa's opponents average 4.7 points per red zone appearance.

The good news though, on the other side of the ball, Indiana has not been very good at punching it in for touchdowns. In their 27 red zone trips, they have come away with only 13 TDs (and 4 of those came against Akron).

The other good news is that, with Indiana's good red zone defense and poor red zone offense, there will likely be more field goals and Iowa has a decided advantage there. Murray is 14/18 and has made 6 straight. Indiana's kicker is 8/18 and has made only 2 of his last 6.

Hoosiers to keep an eye on
  • DE Jammie Kirlew - Doesn't it seem like every week Iowa is facing some elite defensive end? Well today is no different and Kirlew is one of the best. He has 13.5 tackles for loss, is 4th on the team with 45 tackles, and has forced 5 fumbles.
  • RB Darius Willis - He's been a little inconsistent and missed some time with injuries, but he's a threat to break a long run at any time (just ask Michigan or Northwestern). He averages 5.3 yards per carries and has run in 5 TDs.
  • KR/CB Ray Fisher - Speaking of the ability to break one, watch out for Fisher. He already has 2 kickoffs returned for touchdowns. He averages 40 yards per kick return and 10 yards per punt return.
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