by John Miller
To put it nicely, the Kevin Wilson era got off to a rocky start last Saturday. The Hoosiers (0-1, 0-0) were embarrassed at Lucas Oil Stadium by in state opponent Ball State 27-20. Indiana was dominated around the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and after the opening drive never showed much life. Hopefully, with a good week of practice, the Hoosiers can figure some things out and come out with a purpose this weekend.
Indiana welcomes the Virginia Cavaliers (1-0, 0-0) to Memorial Stadium for a 7pm showdown. This is the second game of a scheduled home and home series with the Cavs. In 2009, Virginia walloped the Hoosiers 47-7 at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville.
Virginia is regarded as one of the most prestigious academic public colleges in America. It was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1800 and became institutionalized in 1819. Although Cavaliers is the official nickname of the school, they are often referred to as the Wahoos, or Hoos for short. The school joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1953 and is part of its Coastal division.
The Wahoos running game was the main difference in the opening victory. Redshirt freshman Kevin Parks had a monster game, running for 114 yards and three touchdowns. He shared the load with junior Perry Jones who ran for 56 yards and is one of the few play makers returning from last year’s team. In 2010 as a primary backup, Jones rushed for 646 yards and one touchdown. Clifton Richardson is another freshman who made an impact his first game. He rushed for 57 yards on seven carries and scored a touchdown.
With Virginia being primarily a rushing team, the WR position is not as talented a group. Sophomore Tim Smith led the way in their first game, hauling in seven passes for 72 yards. Kris Burd is a rare impact senior for the Cavs. In 2010, Burd corralled 58 passes for 799 yards and five touchdowns. Another freshmen threat on the outside for the Wahoos is speedster Darius Jennings. Ponderous TE Colter Phillips may also get some looks in the redzone.
Virginia’s kickers is senior Robert Randolph. In the season opener, Randolph was 4/4 on field goals including a 42 and 48 yarder.
Virginia appears to very much be a team that is one year ahead of Indiana in the rebuilding process. It is hard to win as a first year head coach in any sport, let alone college football. London has implemented his system and if last week is any implication it has hit the ground running. It is a perfect example to show how Indiana may suffer this season and bounce back stronger next year because of it. Hopefully, the Hoosiers will be taking one step back to take two huge steps forward, just like the Wahoos appear to be.
A few injury notes for the Hoosiers, OT Josh Hager had surgery on his injured knee, and will miss the entire 2011 season. This is bad news for an offensive line that already looked porous. LB Leon Beckum is also out this week after injuring himself against Ball State. The good news for the Hoosiers is DE Darius Johnson has returned to practice and will play on Saturday.
With Virginia dominating the line of scrimmage in their openner, things do not bode well for the Hoosiers. Hopefully, some home cooking is all the doctor ordered. It looks like Edward Wright-Baker will be getting the start but if he does not make things happen, look for a change to either Dusty Kiel or Tre Roberson. Virginia will most likely run all over Indiana but I do see the Hoosier offense waking up and showing life. I think this game will be a much better showing for IU, but still not good enough to win.
Boomer’s Prediction: Hoosiers – 28 Virginia – 38
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