For all those of you that are fans of strong opposing defenses: a) that's weird. b) this is not your week to shine, homies. That being said, this is a sick week for those of you who like it when Northwestern has a capability to score bunches of points. It's also a sick day for those of you who like it when there are three posts on this site in the same day, which is probably none of you because you'd probably much rather have it where I post, like, once a day instead of four times on the same day.
Hit it or quit it.
Thus far: Let's divide Indiana's season into two distinct parts: their four games against non-conference opponents (in which they are 4-0) and their three against conference teams (in which they are 0-3). Indiana's non-conference schedule is arguably the worst in the nation, even worse than NU's: they played Towson (a FCS team that is 1-6 on the season with their one win coming in quintuple overtime against Coastal Carolina - yes, they went to quintuple overtime), Western Kentucky (the former second favorite team of Sippin' on Purple - NEVER FORGET - but now just a random Sun Belt team that happens to be 1-6), against whom they trailed, Akron (the current holders of the nation's longest losing streak - eight straight, tied with New Mexico - the IU game represents Akron's third-smallest margin of defeat, the others coming against Gardner-Webb and Kent State) and Arkansas State (a 3-5 MAC team that played Indiana to a 36-34 thriller two weeks ago). That's awful. Just awful. In-conference started out well with a 42-35 shootout against Michigan that everybody expected, then a 38-10 blowout against OSU that everybody expected, and then a 43-13 whipping at the hands of the fighting Zooksters from Illinois that nobody really expected. Something you'll notice about all these games is the absurdly high opposing scores. It's a theme.
Us and them: There are ten other teams in the Big Ten. Of these, NU holds an all-time winning record against exactly one: Indiana, against whom the Cats are 43-34-1. Despite the fact NU has won five out of six, this isn't a recent development: even before 1995, NU was 35-31-1 all-time against Indiana, and that's after a nine-game IU win streak that lasted from 1985-1993.
When they got the ball: Don't judge that "thus far" thing to mean that Indiana is bad on both sides of the ball. If anything, they have a disturbingly potent passing attack: senior Ben Chappell leads the Big Ten by a gooooooood margin in terms of passing yardage, having thrown for 2137 yards, which is seventh in the nation. The highlight of his year was a 480-yard, 3-touchdown performance against Michigan's joke of a secondary.. He's also tossed 17 touchdowns to only six picks, completing 66.2 percent of his passes. His two major targets, Damarlo Belcher and Tandon Doss, have been contributing for a few years now and are solid, however, it looks like close to the goal Chappell is looking more for freshman tight end Ted Bolser, who leads the team with five receiving touchdowns, including the team's only one against Illinois last week. But as good as they are at passing, that's exactly how bad at rushing: worst in the Big Ten, 104th in the nation. That completely sucks: well, technically, NU averages 3.2 yards per carry while they average 3.3, but, that's besides the point - Indiana is last in yards rushing, averaging only 102.6 per game. Darius Willis and Trea Burgess split carries, each getting a little under ten a game and averaging 4.2 yards per carry, though Willis has the lion's share of touchdowns with four.
When we got the ball: Remember all those high point totals earlier? Now, look: Indiana hasn't allowed less than 17 points in any game this season. That was against Towson. The amount of a lack of a defense Indiana has is impressive. They rank tenth in the conference in scoring defense - lolminnesota. They lost their best defender from last year's squad, defensive end Jammie Kirlew, and, well, there's not much else going on. For an example of the badness, half of the team's six picks - five of which came against Towson and Arkansas State - have been made by Mitchell Evans - who you may remember as a backup wide receiver who also ran the wildcat offense for the Hoosiers last year, but is now a safety. They have a solid linebacker corps of Tyler Replogle, Leon Beckum, and Jeff Thomas, but nothing really noteworthy.