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2017 Virginia Football Opponent Preview: Indiana

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The Big Ten comes to town in UVa’s second game of the 2017 season

Foster Farms Bowl - Utah v Indiana Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The first power 5 opponent for the Hoos this season will be the visiting Indiana Hoosiers on September 9th. UVa last played IU in 2011 and 2009, both victories for the Wahoos. Despite finishing with a losing record, IU was a competitive team in 2016 with a season that included wins against Michigan State, Purdue, and a narrow bowl loss to Utah. The Hoosiers then parted ways with head coach Kevin Wilson, apparently over concerns of player treatment. The team promoted defensive coordinator Tom Allen to the position and hired Tennessee OC Mike DeBoard to the same role in Bloomington. The strength of the team should be its defense and the Hoosiers will present a tough test for the Wahoos early in the season.

2016 Record: 6-7 (4-5 in the Big Ten)

Notable Departures:

RT Dan Feeney (AP All-American 1st Team)

RB Devine Redding (2x 1,000 yard seasons)

LB Marcus Oliver (All Big Ten Honorable Mention)

Notable Additions:

ATH Juwan Burgess (3* 247sports)

ATH Bryant Fitzgerald (3* 247sports)

RB Morgan Ellison (3* 247sports)

Best Name on the Roster:

R-So. Johnny Albomonte

Better Know a Virginian:

Jr. RB Mike Majette

IU only has one Virginian on their roster, out of Woodbridge HS in Woodbridge, Va. Majette was initially a Maryland commit and made the very wise decision to avoid College Park. He appeared in eight games last year before getting injured and totaled 267 overall yards. The Hoos did not offer Majette in high school, according to his 247sports profile.

2017 Outlook:

The defense should be the strength of the team for sure. The returning talent and coaching staff line up well to make the Hoosiers a top 20/25 caliber defensive unit. The offense, on the other hand, have question marks on the offensive line, a star RB to replace, and a talented QB with a penchant for turning the ball over. The new OC is coming off a great year at UT with Joshua Dobbs at QB, but Dobbs was a top tier rushing QB and incumbent IU QB Richard Lagow is not. The Hoosiers do have some talent at wideout though, so if OC DeBord can help limit mistakes, the unit should be able at the very least let the defense win them some games. Of course, they play in a division with Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State, but a bowl game should still be their realistic goal.

Prediction:

The Hoosiers open the year at home against Ohio State - while an upset isn’t an impossibility, it’s likely they’ll arrive in Charlottesville 0-1 and motivated to not end up 0-2. If Lagow shows some improvement and avoids throwing five picks like he did last year against Wake Forest, they should be able to keep pace with a Virginia offense that will struggle to score against the strong defense. The question is: will the Hoos have improved enough on offense to stay competitive at home?

This game might be the biggest toss-up to me on the schedule. I could see Benkert clicking right away this season, the defense forcing some turnovers, and things coming together well enough to win. I could also see the same struggles on offense as usual popping up and a solid UVa defensive performance not being enough to keep it close. Being a UVa fan, I’ll be a pessimist and predict something in the middle: a close win for the visiting Hoosiers.

Poll

Will UVa pick up a win against Indiana?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Yes
    (246 votes)
  • 41%
    No
    (178 votes)
424 votes total Vote Now