Indiana hosts the Buckeyes a week removed from one of the most riveting near misses of the young conference season, but they once had a history of generating "darkest days" for the Ohio State faithful. To help us survey the prospects of such an extinction-level event occurring this year, we welcome in John M., the manager of the excellent Indiana site, The Crimson Quarry. You can follow John on Twitter at @crimsonquarry.
Many thought Tre Roberson's getting knocked out for the year would dim whatever hopes the Hoosiers had for being in a relatively wide open Leaders division race and yet IU played Michigan State really tough last weekend. What do you attribute last week's hot start to (and is it repeatable)?
The offense has looked very good for much of the season. I was a bit surprised that they started so hot against a quality defense like MSU's, but I would attribute it to IU being reasonably talented and well-coached on the offensive side and MSU coming out flat and committing a ton of penalties. I imagine the quick pace of IU's offense helped quite a bit. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of last week's game was the defense.
Speaking of the quarterback position, Cameron Coffman looked to be the real deal against a viable Michigan State defense in that one. Is he a guy who can keep the Hoosiers in the rest of their games and if he falters do they have anyone else who could potentially step up?
Both Coffman and true freshman Nate Sudfeld, who didn't play against the Spartans but was on the field for IU's utlimately fruitless comebacks against Ball State and Northwestern, have looked very good. I've been very impressed with the quarterbacks so far, both the two guys who remain active and Roberson in the 5.5 quarters that we had him this season.
The offense in general is really young but are there any stars in the making? Who's the future (and present) of Kevin Wilson's offensive attack?
Other than the quarterbacks, Stephen Houston has been very reliable at RB the past two seasons. True freshman Tevin Coleman is probably the most talented at the position, and he ran back a kickoff for a TD against Northwestern as well. As seems to be typical, IU has a nice stable of receivers, with Kofi Hughes, Cody Latimer, and Nick Stoner, along with tight end Ted Bolser.
If there's one off the radar player Ohio State fans should be on the look out for during Saturday's contest, on either side of the ball really, who would that be?
Since I haven't mentioned the defense yet, I'll point to Greg Heban, a former walkon at defensive back (he came to IU as a baseball player) who always seems to find himself near the ball.
And finally, Indiana enters this one pretty resounding underdogs but that didn't keep them from nearly taking down the Spartans. What scenario has to unfold for the Hoosiers to score one of the biggest upsets of the 2012 season?
Something strange has to happen, obviously. Against Michigan State, penalties allowed IU to build its lead. I don't have much optimism for the OSU game, mostly because the OSU offense is much more fearsome than MSU's. Still, if IU ends up with a huge advantage in the turnover column, I suppose anything can happen.