Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Midseason review: Indiana
By ESPN.com staff
Record: 3-2 (0-2 Big Ten)
Indiana still can't compete with the Big Ten's elite (read: Saturday's ugly loss at Ohio State), but the Hoosiers have enough firepower to reach a bowl game for the second time in four seasons. This program is looking to take a step this fall, and a favorable schedule plus a dynamic passing attack gives IU a good chance to do so. Although the annual problems on defense must be addressed, Indiana can feel good about the potential on offense with Ben Chappell leading the way. The senior quarterback leads the Big Ten and ranks ninth nationally in passing average (295.2 ypg) with 12 touchdowns, just three interceptions and a 70.2 percent completion ratio. He has an outstanding receiving corps at his disposal, led by Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher. Indiana remains too one-dimensional on offense, a problem that will prove costly against the Big Ten's better defenses. It's important to get Darius Willis going in the second half. It's more important to get more stops on defense after being shredded by Denard Robinson and Terrelle Pryor in the first two Big Ten games. Indiana must find ways to protect its secondary. The Hoosiers should win their final nonconference game, but they need at least two Big Ten wins to qualify for a bowl.
Offensive MVP, Ben Chappell: The senior has evolved into one of the nation's most proficient passers, completing 132 of 188 attempts for 1,476 yards. He threw 12 touchdown passes before he threw his second interception and set team records for completions (45), attempts (64) and pass yards (480) in a shootout loss to Michigan. Chappell tossed three or more touchdown passes in three consecutive games -- Western Kentucky, Akron, Michigan -- and shows tremendous chemistry with his receivers and tight ends. Belcher and Doss, the Big Ten's top two pass-catchers, also merit mentions.
Defensive MVP, LB Tyler Replogle: There aren't many candidates on a struggling unit, but Replogle has done a good job as the defense's undisputed leader. He leads Indiana in tackles (32) despite missing a game with a concussion and boasts an interception, a fumble recovery and 1.5 tackles for loss. Linebacker Leon Beckum (4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks) also had done some good things in the first half.