1. The Hoosiers’ lack of true firepower will leave them in the dust.
In terms of overall talent, many teams pale in comparison when playing against the Buckeyes. This seems to be the case to a greater extent when it comes to the Hoosiers.
One thing that the Hoosiers do bring to the table is veteran experience. Their roster, more notably on the defensive side, consists of mainly juniors and seniors. This could come to their benefit but it may also be their downfall as the skilled young talent that the Buckeyes add to their game every season is too much to handle.
Last season, the Buckeyes were led by one of the most dynamic offensive players in the country in Curtis Samuel and dual threat quarterback J.T. Barrett. That duo plus redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber were nearly unstoppable as they made their way to a one loss season. Those offensive weapons were matched by some serious game breakers on defense in Raekwon McMillan and Malik Hooker.
Fortunately for the Hoosiers, the only names returning from that bunch are Barrett and Weber. With that, the Bucks have plenty of breathing room to rebuild around recent departures as their ball carriers at quarterback and running back are clearly solidified.
Defensively, the Hoosiers will be returning just about everyone. This includes the leader in total tackles last season in linebacker Tegray Scales. Having solid continuity on a team is somewhat of a rarity nowadays but the payoff is nothing short of positive.
On offense, the Hoosiers will be returning their starting quarterback Richard Lagow and leading receiver Nick Westbrook. The team will also see the long awaited return of one of their most productive receivers in redshirt junior Simmie Cobbs. He suffered a season ending injury in his first game last season.
In Cobbs’ sophomore season, he recorded over 1,000 receiving yards which was good for third best in the Big Ten and led the Hoosiers in receptions and total yards. However, it is still unknown if he will be able to suit up against the Bucks on Thursday night which will certainly hurt the Hoosiers in a big way.
Though the Hoosiers have an experienced roster, they are missing one of the most valuable pieces which is having an x-factor type player. This type of player can provide leadership and the ability to shape a game to be in their favor regardless of the opponent or setting. The Hoosiers will find themselves in quite the dilemma when they are in need of someone to step up big.