Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Fighting Illini Football: Previewing Indiana’s Defense


Nov 2, 2013; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers safety Greg Heban (9) celebrates with teammates during the second half of the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Memorial Stadium. Minnesota won 42-39. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

After a heartbreaking loss to Penn State last weekend, the Illini will look to right the ship when the Big Ten’s worst overall defense hosts them on Saturday afternoon in Bloomington, Indiana.  When the Illini arrive at the “Other Memorial Stadium” this weekend, it will be a battle of the two worst defenses in the Big Ten.

The Indiana Hoosiers, with a 1-3 record in Big Ten play, has had an abysmal year on the defensive side of the ball in 2013.  Thus far, they have given up an average of just under 38 points per game and 507 yards per game (224 rushing yards per game and 283 passing yards per game).  However, on the bright side for Hoosier fans, they do lead the Big Ten in fumble recoveries.

One bright spot on this defensive squad is Junior Tim Bennett, who leads the nation in pass breakups and is in the top 20 nationally in overall tackles.  This is Bennett’s first year playing cornerback, who had spent his first two years at safety.  He has grown in to this role very quickly and is one of the top cornerbacks in the Big Ten.

With his inclusion on the top 20 for overall tackles nationally, Bennett is joined by four other Hoosiers:  Senior Greg Heban, Junior David Cooper, Junior Mark Murphy, and Freshman TJ Simmons.  The Hoosiers have had plenty to be proud of this season on the defensive side of the ball, but have had some tough competition week in and week out.

Indiana, much like Illinois last season, deploys a co-defensive coordinator approach, with William Igne and Doug Mallory.  It did not quite work out for Illinois, and thus far the result seems to be the same for the Hoosiers.

With this being a game featuring two teams trying to not be in the bottom two of the Big Ten, this one could honestly go either way.  Two defenses that have struggled most of the year will look to face off in what could be the highest scoring game in the Big Ten this weekend.  Both teams know what is at stake here, and both teams are going to come out looking to win a game that frankly is winnable for both teams.

Prediction:  THE CURSE!!! IT’S FINALLY OVER!!!  THE ILLINI HAVE WON A BIG TEN GAME!!!  Take the points in Vegas this weekend, the Illini will escape Bloomington with a win, as Scheelhaase goes off, throwing for 3 touchdowns and running for another, the Illini win 43-31.

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