Indiana looks to snap five-game losing streak, hosts Rutgers
Indiana has failed to win a Big Ten game so far this season, taking a significant step back from last year’s six-win campaign.
But after a difficult stretch, the Hoosiers will look to break through Saturday against a Rutgers team that has also struggled to find its footing in conference play.
Indiana (2-7, 0-6 Big Ten) dropped its fifth straight game, falling 29-7 at Michigan on Saturday. The loss dropped the Hoosiers out of bowl consideration after Indiana posted back-to-back January bowl appearances following the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
“There’s no doubt this has been a major disappointment and frustration, way different than any of us ever expected, thought, even imagined would happen,” Indiana football coach Tom Allen said.
Allen is stressing to the Hoosiers to finish the season strong. Starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (shoulder) and backup Jack Tuttle (foot) both returned to practice this week and will split reps with true freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley, who has started Indiana’s last two games against Maryland and Michigan.
“Whoever is in there is going to need to be able to be healthy, and we’re not going to put them out there if they’re not,” Allen said. “But number two, it is what do we’ve got to do to be able to help us be successful on Saturday.”
Rutgers (4-5, 1-5) is coming off a 52-3 home loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. During the game, the Scarlet Knights lost wide receiver/kick returner Aron Cruickshank to a season-ending injury and could be without starting quarterback Noah Vedral, who sustained an undisclosed injury in the third quarter and did not return.
“I think Noah is going to progress during the week. I think he will be available,” Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said. “But I can’t tell you that for sure.”
If Vedral can’t play, Rutgers could turn to Cole Snyder, Evan Simon or true freshman Gavin Wimsatt at quarterback.
Though Rutgers has struggled at home in conference play, the Scarlet Knights did post a 20-14 upset at Illinois on Oct. 30.
“They’re a very physical football team, play hard,” Allen said. “Coach has done a great job there getting those guys and changing their whole mindset and how they play and how they compete for 60 minutes. So know that that’s going to be the case this week.”
–Field Level Media