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Bowling Green Falcons vs. Indiana Hoosiers: A Way Too Early Nonconference Preview

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After falling in Bloomington last season, the Falcons will face Indiana for the second time in two years, this time in Bowling Green.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten opponent Indiana will travel, YES I SAID TRAVEL, to Doyt L. Perry Stadium in Week 3 to complete the second game of this two-year home-and-home series between the Falcons and Hoosiers. After a 42-10 dismantling in Bloomington last season, the Falcons look to gain revenge on their home turf September 13th.

Indiana Hoosiers 2013 Rewind:

The 2013 season was a forgettable one for the Hoosiers as they were 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the BIG. Indiana arguably played their overall best game of the season against Bowling Green last year, as they were able to torch the Falcon defense for 42 points.

The Hoosier defense, which struggled last season, also did not allow an offensive touchdown from the Falcons in the first meeting. Indiana's notable wins seemed to be overshadowed by many bad, bad losses last season. Indiana fell to Navy in week two last season at home by a score of 41-36, this being probably the worst loss in the Hoosiers 2013 campaign. Other notable losses include Minnesota at home by a score of 42-39, and then being absolutely demolished by Wisconsin 51-3 only two weeks later.

The only "good" wins Indiana had last season, in my eyes, were against Bowling Green, and Penn State at home 44-24. The Hoosiers just could not pull out close games last season and their sub-par record shows just that.

Mascot:

What exactly is a Hoosier? The word Hoosier can simply be explained as a native of the state of Indiana. The actual meaning and origin of the word have many different theories behind them. In 1830 the word "Hoosher" was used to describe the state of Indiana as the "Hoosher" state.

Somewhere along the way Hoosher became Hoosiers, and it became the word for the native people of Indiana. That is when the university started referring to their students as "Hoosiers." The school does not have an actual mascot although a bulldog named "ox" did serve as one from 1959-1965, as well as a bison in the late 60's. The only mascot Indiana had was in 1979 in named "Indiana Pride." However, students quickly abandoned this idea.

Stadium:

Memorial Stadium is the location of home games for the Hoosiers. This almost 53,000 seat stadium was built in 1960, and is meant to honor all of the military members from Indiana that have served throughout the state's history. Former Hoosier coach Terry Hoeppner also deemed memorial stadium as "The Rock" because of its all granite construction. "Defend The Rock" is often the common term heard on game days in Bloomington.

Last Bowl Appearance:

The Hoosiers last bowl appearance was in 2007 in which they were trounced by Oklahoma State in the Insight Bowl, located in Tempe, Arizona. The only lead Indiana had the entire game was in the opening quarter in which it led 3-0. OSU took a 25-point lead at halftime and never looked back, winning the game by a score of 49-33.

Head Coach:

Kevin Wilson will enter his fourth year as the head coach of the Hoosiers in which he will continue to look to improve this Indiana Football program. Even though the 2013 campaign was sub-par, the Hoosiers seem to be headed in the right direction as coach Wilson has improved his team's record every year since he began in 2010.

Wilson and his staff have also had the best recruiting classes the past two season in school history, ranking top 40 nationally.

Five Key players:

1. Nate Sudfeld QB, (6'5, 230lbs)

2. Tevin Coleman RB, (6'1, 205lbs)

3. Shane Wynn WR, (5'7, 170lbs)

4. Tim Bennett CB, (5'9, 186lbs)

5. Michael Hunter (6'1, 194lbs)

Offense:

It is not going to take much defense to make Indiana a decent football team this year considering the amount of weapons this Hoosier team has on the offensive side of the ball. Starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld will be back this season. (Note: Tre Roberson, who saw a lot of action last season transferred). This job should be solely Sudfeld's. The only concern on offense for the Hoosiers is the fact that their entire receiving corps has seen a face lift this season. Two of their stud receivers, Codi Latimore, and Kofi Hughes, who both toasted the BG secondary last season, were lost to graduation. Nick Stoner and Shane Wynn will look to head the receiving core for Indiana, but the Hoosier offense will mainly rely on explosive running back Tevin Coleman.

Coleman is the most explosive player on this Hoosier offense, and one could even go as far as being considered one of the most explosive backs in college football. Coleman averaged over 12-yards-per-carry last season, finished with just under 1,000 yards, and managed to find the end zone 12 times. Coleman's big play ability opens up the air attack for this Hoosier offense and allows them to spread out defenses. This could cause problems for Bowling Green as graduation has depleted some of their depth on defense. Coleman ran for 127 yards in last season's game and Bowling Green really had no answer for him. The Falcons do return their top two tacklers from last season in Ryland Ward and D.J. Lynch, but they are going to need much more run support than that if they plan to slow down Coleman and the explosive Hoosier offense.

Defense:

The defensive side of the ball has been a major concern for the Hoosiers, and it showed early last season. Indiana allowed 444 rushing yards to a lackluster Navy team and over 620 total yards to Missouri. The first three out of six games last season the Hoosiers let up an enormous 6+ yards-per-play. Luckily, for Hoosier fans, this Indiana offense was able to keep up in shootouts, which is the only reason they had any success last season.

A new name will head the defense for the Hoosiers this season and that is former Wake Forest D-coordinator Brian Knorr. Knorr brings a 3-4 defensive set to the Hoosiers and will look to develop some of the youth that Indiana's secondary has acquired. His Demon Deacons last season ranked 38th in the nation defensively in points against while the Hoosiers ranked 117th. If Knorr can translate his defense from last year to Indiana, look for the Hoosiers to be in a lot more ball games this season.

Special Teams:

Indiana's inconsistency in the punting/coverage game explains why their special teams ranked a bit poorly in 2013. Despite the punting game, the Hoosiers actually ended up starting every drive on average at the 31.5-yard line while opponents only at about the 27. The source of the kicking game, Mitch Ewald, was lost to graduation so we may see a slight decline in these numbers this season. I also wouldn't put all of the blame for the punting game on returning punter Erich Toth. Toth averaged about 41 yards-per-punt last season, but the punt coverage was very inconsistent. Bowling Green's only touchdown in the last meeting was a blocked (stolen) punt return for a touchdown.

Early Prediction:

Whew. Alright guys this looks like it is going to be one heck of a ballgame, and I know Bowling Green has had this game on their radar since the blowout last season. The ticket for BG will be limiting the production of Tevin Coleman. The kid is going to get his numbers, but the Falcon defense cannot let him go off. The advantage that BG has is the pace that they are going to run their offense. As a typical BIG team, Indiana's defensive line consists of ridiculously large lineman who cannot move like Pitt DE Aaron Donald did in the bowl game (arguably best lineman BG has seen). If the Dino Babers offense can wear down this sub-par Indiana defense then BG has a great shot to win this game. I'm going out on a limb here and saying Falcons 41-37 in a heck of a football game.