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Big Ten preview: Indiana Hoosiers

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Indiana junior running back Jordan Howard (8) runs with the ball. Credit: Courtesy of Haley Ward / Indiana Daily Student

Indiana junior running back Jordan Howard (8) runs with the ball. Credit: Courtesy of Haley Ward / Indiana Daily Student

Location: Bloomington, Indiana

2014 record: 4-8

Head coach: Kevin Wilson (fifth year, 18-34)

2015 record so far: 4-0

Record vs. OSU since 2005: 0-8

What’s happened so far in 2015: The Hoosiers opened their season with a 48-47 shootout victory against Southern Illinois. That was followed by a more comprehensive 36-22 win against Florida International before coming from behind for a 38-35 victory over Western Kentucky. Their latest success was a 31-24 win against Wake Forest, which matched their final win total from last season.

Key offensive player: The Hoosiers have been riding the hot start of their quarterback Nate Sudfeld. Despite playing only six games last season, the senior completed 101 of his 167 pass attempts, resulting in 1,151 yards and six touchdowns. The Modesto, California, native has continued to demonstrate his talent in 2015. In four games, he has two 300-plus yard games, racking up more than 930 passing yards and seven touchdowns. Sudfeld’s best performance came in the 38-35 thriller against Western Kentucky, in which he completed 20 of his 27 pass attempts for 355 yards and three scores.

Key defensive player: Linebacker T.J. Simmons has established himself as a solid component in a rather leaky Hoosier defense so far this season. The junior has showed potential from his very first year with Indiana, as he was an honorable mention for the Big Ten All-Freshman team. As a sophomore, Simmons was second on the team with 72 tackles. So far in 2015, the Lakeland, Florida, native is leading the defense with 27 tackles, 16 of those being solo.

Weaknesses: Sudfeld and the offense has had to bail out the defense constantly this season. The secondary has been particularly poor for the Hoosiers. Through four games, it has allowed a whopping 1,442 passing yards, which places them second-to-last in the country. Coach Kevin Wilson has to get that side of the ball sorted out if he hopes to continue this hot start and lead Indiana to its first bowl game since 2007.

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