TIME: 7:30 PM (EST)
DATE: September 8th, 2018
LOCATION: Memorial Stadium | Bloomington, IL
HOW TO WATCH: Big Ten Network
While google searching for important things like “Tom Crean forehead,” it made me think, “What exactly is a Hoosier anyway?” Turns out, there’s not a simple answer to that question. While used widely as a nickname for Indiana residents, the true origin of the term Hoosier still remains a mystery...
Anyhoo, this Saturday, the Hoos face off against their similarly-nicknamed Big Ten friend for the second consecutive year. Fans will remember that, last year, Indiana made a quarterback change during the game with Payton Ramsey coming in for a struggling Richard Lagow. Ramsey then went on to lead the Hoosiers to a road victory at Charlottesville.
This year, Ramsey should have the reigns of the offense but Indiana Head Coach Tom Allen has also expressed that he wants to play backup quarterback Michael Penix, Jr. Either way, a lot will rest on the quarterback as Indiana’s top two running backs will not be available for the game.
On the other offense, Virginia unleashed the option offense last week and fans got a taste of the explosiveness of Bryce Perkins. Jordan Ellis was also an obvious highlight as he ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns. That was against Richmond though and we’ll see if Virginia can make it click again against Indiana.
By Danny Neckel
UVA had 301 rushing yards last game, which was their most in 58 games.
Indiana gave up 170 rushing yards and three TD’s to FIU.
The Hoosiers gave up 200 or more rushing yards five times last season, including 242 at home to Georgia Southern. Expect the Hoos to pound the ball with Ellis and Perkins.
Bryce Hall, CB
One would tend to think that the losses of Andrew Brown, Micah Kiser, and Quin Blanding would be detrimental. It will be tough to replace them for sure, but Virginia returns eight of its eleven defensive starters from last year. One of them, cornerback Bryce Hall, holds down the secondary which is perhaps the most deep defensive position on the Cavalier’s defense. Last week, the third-year had six tackles, a sack and forced a fumble.
Jordan Mack, LB
Third-year linebacker Dominic Sheppard was announced out for the season with an injury earlier this week. Sheppard was expected to provide some depth in the inside position especially with the departure of Micah Kiser. Now a third-year, Mack is poised to fill in Kiser’s shoes. Look for Mack to be consistent play maker and for him to build off his solid previous season where he finished fifth in the ACC with 114 tackles.
Marcus Applefield, OL
There’s no doubt the the offensive line will be critical key for Virginia’s success this year. The triple-option offense helmed by Quarterback Bryce Perkins will rely heavily the improvement of the line. Coach Garett Tujague is in charge of this part of the offense. One new component is Rutgers transfer Marcis Applefield. Him and Jake Fielers serve as the two seniors on the line and the main leaders for the rest.
Peyton Ramsey, QB
Redshirt sophomore, Peyton Ramsey, now commands the Hoosiers. Last week against Florida International, Ramsey threw for 156 yards, three scores, and one interception. BUT, don’t be surprised if you also see Michael Penix, Jr. on the field at the position. Indiana Head Coach Tom Allen has expressed interest in playing the true freshman, who helmed the team starting early in the third quarter last week.
Stevie Scott, RB
Morgan Ellison, Indiana’s leading rusher a year ago, was suspended “indefinitely” by IU Coach Tom Allen before the season started. And last week, Ellison’s backup Cole Gest unfortunately suffered a season-ending injury. Freshman Stevie Scott handled most of the load for the Hoosiers last week but also look for senior Mike Majette, fifth-year senior Ricky Brookins, AND youngster Ronnie Walker to all to step up as well.
Jonathan Crawford, S
In last year’s matchup, Indiana’s defense caused troubles for the Cavaliers and it’s very likely that Coach Tom Allen will try to test Bryce Perkin’s throwing abillity. This year, on the defensive side, the Hoosiers are only returning four starters. Jonathan Crawford, who tallied an interception last week, holds the team’s secondary down alongside junior A’Shon Riggins and redshirt sophomore Marcelino Ball.