Following an expected, albeit shaky, victory last week against the Ball State Cardinals, Indiana will now turn their sights to Eastern Illinois, an FCS opponent hailing from the Ohio Valley Conference. Although Indiana enters week two undefeated, they have no shortage of areas in need of improvement before the Hoosiers first big test of the season, with the week three match-up with the Buckeyes looming large in the background.
The Panthers come into this game sitting at 0-1 following a week one loss to Chattanooga, and it was not a very impressive performance for Eastern Illinois. The ground game was one of the few bright spots for the Panthers, racking up a total of 130 yards on 36 carries.
However, unlike the running game, the Eastern Illinois passing attack found themselves struggling throughout the game, totaling just 224 yards on 47 passing attempts for one touchdown and one interception. The Panthers will utilize a two-quarterback system, with both Harry Woodberry, a traditional pocket passer, and Johnathan Brantley, a duel threat quarterback, each expected to split time behind center.
Defensively it was also a mixed performance for the Panthers. Chattanooga had a hard time getting anything going on the ground all game long, totaling just 94 yards on 33 carries. Eastern Illinois also recorded two interceptions in the game and took advantage of some poor decision making on the part of Chattanooga. Yet when they were not forcing the Mocs into interceptions, the Panthers simply couldn’t find an answer to the Chattanooga passing attack, allowing them to rack up nearly 260 yards through the air on just 27 attempts.
The Hoosiers themselves are coming off a mixed performance, one that saw them cap off their season opener with a win, but not in the way many were hoping for. Between missed tackles, costly penalties, and dropped passes, the Hoosiers were far too sloppy for comfort and Indiana must take advantage of their Week 2 match-up with the Panthers to show the improvements they’ve made across the board.
One major area to watch in this match-up will be the Hoosiers run game against the Eastern Illinois front seven. Indiana struggled to get Stevie Scott going last week against Ball State, but the Hoosiers need to prove their struggles on the ground were a fluke rather than the norm. The Panthers did a good job of limiting the Chattanooga rushing attack, but the Hoosiers should have no issues running on a smaller and weaker FCS defensive front. Scott was one of the breakout players in the Big Ten last season, and Indiana needs to get him involved in the offense going forward.