Tom Allen and the Indiana Hoosiers are coming off arguably their best season since 1988. Indiana finished 12th in the AP poll which is the highest they have finished a season since 1967 when they finished 4th. The Hoosiers lose a few key pieces but many of the core pieces return which should set Indiana up for another successful season and high expectations. WR Whop Philyor departs for the NFL after having 495 yards and three touchdowns. Luckily WR Ty Fryfogle returns and should only get better. As for the 2021 Hoosiers, let’s jump in!
Sept 4, @ Iowa: Indiana has a tough schedule and opening on the road at Kinnick Stadium is the furthest thing from a cakewalk. The Hoosiers will get Michael Penix back from injury. Penix will not use his legs often to gain yards, but he will use them to extend the play and find one of his playmakers down field. One area he needs to improve is his accuracy. In three of his six games, he completed less than 53% of his passes. While I do expect Indiana to be a good team next year, starting on the road against Iowa will be too much for the Hoosiers. Prediction: 27-20 Iowa
Sept 11, Idaho: In week 2, the Hoosiers will look to bounce back from an opening week loss. Idaho should be an easy game for Indiana. Idaho is scheduled to play this spring in the FCS season. Look for RB Sampson James to carve his role out in this game after the departure of RB Stevie Scott. This will be a good game to test out the depth of the team and get the backups some playing time. Prediction: 55-13 Indiana
Sept 18, Cincinnati: If Indiana proves me wrong and beats Iowa, College Gameday should come to Bloomington for this game. There is potential this could be a top 10 match up. Cincinnati is returning a large portion of their team who narrowly lost to Georgia in the Peach Bowl. It is only February and I am excited for this game. Look for it to be a defensive game with field position playing a big part in who wins the game. The Hoosiers lose two key players off their defensive line in Jerome Johnson and Jovan Swann. Replacing them will be key to controlling the line of scrimmage and putting the Hoosier offense in favorable positions. Prediction: 23-21 Indiana
Sept 25, @ Western Kentucky: The Hoosiers will travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky to take on the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky in late September. Western Kentucky went 5-7 last year. The Hilltoppers struggled to score consistently in 2020 with them failing to score 20 points in six of their games. Indiana goes on the road for this game, but look for QB Michael Penix to use the game to get into a groove to help set the tone for the rest of the season. His connection with WR Ty Fryfogle, WR Miles Marshall, and transfer WR D.J. Mathews will be vital to the team’s success the rest of the season. Prediction: 38-14 Indiana
Oct 2, @ Maryland: Indiana beat Maryland 27-11 last season after the Terrapins have an up and down season. Maryland returns QB Taulia Tagovailoa who will play an important role in Maryland’s success. WR Rakim Jarrett should have an increased role after limited playing time due to games being cancelled and being transitioned into the offense. Fortunately for Indiana, they possess more talent than Maryland and while the game may be competitive, the Hoosiers will remain to be too much. Prediction: 31-20 Indiana
Oct 9, Michigan: The Jim Harbaugh Era at Michigan has been entertaining to say the least. In 2020, Indiana beat Michigan for the first time since 1987. They will be looking for back to back victories which has not happened since 1958 and 1959. They will be in good position considering the game will be in Bloomington and not Ann Arbor. Michigan appears to finally have a quarterback in Cade McNamara who took over for Joe Milton part way through the season. Milton and McNamara will also battle with true freshman and five star prospect J.J. McCarthy in the off season to see who will be taking the first snaps in the fall. Overall, Indiana’s defense will be too much for Michigan as the Wolverines will struggle to score. Prediction: 28-17 Indiana
Oct 16, Rutgers: Greg Schiano appears to have Rutgers moving in the right direction after one season. Rutgers went 3-6 which was their largest win total since 2017. While Schiano has a ways to go until his team is truly competitive in the Big Ten, they should not be overlooked. His team will continue to take a step forward this year and will look to upset teams this fall. Indiana remains more talented, especially on defense with the return of All-American LB Micah McFadden. McFadden lead the team with 10.5 tackles for loss and will look to add upon that total in 2021. Prediction: 31-27 Indiana
Oct 30, @ Penn State: When the Hoosiers travel to State College in late October, Penn State will have revenge on their mind. Remember, Penn State believes they should have won the 2020 match up after many believe Michael Penix was short on his two point conversion attempt. Indiana will need their secondary to step up as WR Jahan Dotson returns for Penn State after a strong season. Dotson had 884 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020 and is a threat to score at any moment. DB Tiawan Mullen was an All-American and will be tasked with slowing down the receivers of Penn State. Unfortunately for Indiana, the revenge factor is too much and Penn State pulls out the victory. Prediction: 33-24 Penn State
Nov 6, Ohio State: Over the last few years, Indiana has played Ohio State close with numerous games coming down to the final possessions. The Buckeyes lose their signal caller in Justin Fields as well as a few other key pieces from their team. If the Indiana defensive backs thought they had their hands full with Penn State, Ohio State might have the best receiving room in the country starting with WR Chris Olave and WR Garrett Wilson. Indiana was able to expose Ohio State’s defense in 2020 and will look to do the same in 2021. The Hoosiers offense will not be able to match Ohio State’s offense and will fall short for the second week in a row. Prediction: 38-30 Ohio State
Nov 13, @ Michigan State: Indiana shut out Michigan State in 2020 which showed how bad the Spartan offense was. QB Rocky Lombardi has transferred meaning QB Payton Thorne should be in line to take snaps. Michigan State also failed the run the ball effectively with the their top three running backs failing to average 4.0 yards per carry. Year two of Mel Tucker should see improvements, but the offense is still a long way from where it needs to be. Indiana should cruise to a victory after a rough patch. Prediction: 31-14 Indiana
Nov 20, Minnesota: One team to look for as a bounce back team in 2020 is Minnesota. QB Tanner Morgan is returning once again and will be looking to turn Minnesota around after a disappointing 2020 season. The Golden Gophers also return RB Mohamed Ibrahim who should be one of the best running backs in the Big Ten next season. Minnesota has to find a pass rusher though. Only three players registered more than 1.0 sacks and one player with more than 2.0. If the Golden Gophers cannot pressure the quarterback consistently, they will struggle to win games. With Indiana returning four of their five offensive linemen, I like the Hoosiers in this match up. Prediction: 35-20 Indiana
Nov 27, @ Purdue: Purdue started off 2-0 in 2020 but then proceeded to lose their last four games to end the season. Jeff Brohm and his team struggled to stop opposing offenses with every team scoring at least 20 points and three teams scoring at least 31. Pudue also bounced between quarterbacks with Jack Plummer and Aiden O’Connell having near identical passing stats. Both quarterbacks passed for just over 900 yards. Purdue only had 5.0 total sacks on the season. While this may be a rivalry game, Indiana will finish the season off strong. Prediction: 35-17 Indiana
Analysis: Indiana finishes 9-3 in 2021 which would be their most wins in a season since 1967. While some fans may view this as a disappointment, this season will be proof that Tom Allen is building a special program in Bloomington. Indiana will have a chance to go for their 10th win and most in program history in their bowl game. A 10 win season is what propels programs to new heights and influences donations which and result in facility upgrades. This is just the beginning for Indiana.