Indiana – Virginia
Time: 2:30 PM CT (Sat, Sept 9, 2017)
Spread: IND -2.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
Indiana began the season with a tough “schedule loss,” falling 49-21 to No. 2 overall ranked Ohio State in Week 1. The Hoosiers fell 49-21, despite leading 14-13 at the halfway point. Indiana’s pass attack was on-point, but it got little from the backfield. The Hoosiers had 420 passing yards in Week 1, as Richard Lagow threw 40 of 65 for three TDs, with a pair of interceptions.
No one rushed for more than 24 yards, however, and the Hoosiers had just 17 total rushing yards factoring in Lagow’s negative-30 yards in the affair. Simmie Cobbs Jr. had a huge game at wide receiver with 149 yards on 11 catches, including a TD, and Luke Tillman and Donovan Hale combined for another 139 yards between them. Even so, it was not enough with the OSU Buckeyes getting 304 passing yards from J.T. Barrett and 292 rushing yards, including 181 coming from J.K. Dobbins.
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Overall, the Hoosiers had little chance to beat Ohio State at any rate, but it will have a very legitimate chance to pick up a Week 2 victory against Virginia. The Hoosiers enter the game as 2.5-point favorites on the road, with the game set to air at 2:30 (Central) on ESPN U.
The over/under is set at a somewhat low figure of 57 points, which seems to be a decent value on the ‘OVER,’ given the offensive prowess Indy exhibited against what was a much tougher Week 1 Buckeye defense. After all, the Hoosiers played a very solid first half and even led at the intermission, that has to bode well as a sign when it faces a middling ACC school like the Cavaliers this week.
Virginia won its week 1 matchup against lowly William & Mary, winning 28-10 as it held the Tribe to just 72 total passing yards in the game. Kurt Benkart did far more than that at QB for the Cavaliers, throwing 27 of 39 for 262 yards and three TDs.
Jordan Ellis rushed for 80 yards on 20 carries, and the Cavaliers had 92 rushing yards and a rushing TD (From Ellis). Doni Dowling had a big game catching the ball with six receptions for 76 yards, but it was Andre Levone, Olamide Zaccheus and backfield performer Ellis with the three receiving TDs.
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The Cavaliers scored a TD in each of the four quarters, giving a strong effort after leading 14-0 at halftime. Tommy McKee had a strong game for William & Mary out of the backfield with 89 yards and a TD, but outside of his play, the Tribe was hardly effective at advancing the ball. Was Virginia’s defense strong, or was it simply a matter of playing a team mostly devoid of weapons? That will become clearer in Week 2, and college football oddsmakers seem to expect some admixture of the two, given that the over/under is under 60, after all.
Virginia will go on to play UConn, Boise State, Duke and North Carolina after this week. While the UConn game should be fairly closely contested, the following three weeks will really test the Cavaliers. It could be that if Virginia bobbles this week it finds itself at 1-4 by October 14, which would be a pretty precarious place to begin the season. That makes this home matchup against Indiana more imperative than some may grasp, off the bat, because the Cavaliers really need the momentum.
Indiana meanwhile faces FIU and Georgia Southern after this, but then has to take on Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State in the first three weeks of its Big Ten schedule. Truthfully, the Hoosiers have long proven to be outclassed in conference play, which makes this non-conference matchup all the more imperative for them, too.
These two schools have a tough draw on their respective schedules this year, and with this game separated by less than a field goal in the point spread, it should be a hotly contested battle between two programs trying to find their footing in 2017 before their schedules toss them the “real” challenges shortly.