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IU, Navy to face off for 3rd time


The Hoosiers run onto the field behind former IU Coach Bill Mallory before a game against Navy at IU on Sept. 20, 1986. Courtesy Photo / Courtesy of IU Archives Buy Photos

IU has won the only two meetings (1985 and 1986) in the series. 

However, this is the first time the Hoosiers will play the Midshipmen in Annapolis, Md.
Some of the players are excited to get out there not only to play football, but also to check out the campus and town of Annapolis.

“It’s definitely going to be a good experience,” freshman offensive lineman Dan Freeney said. “My family is coming down for the game. It’s been a dream place of mine to go for a while.”

IU has lost its last four games, but is coming off a historic performance against Ohio State.

The Hoosiers have never scored that many points against a top 10 team and never scored that many points against Ohio State.

Freshman quarterback Nate Sudfeld said he felt like the offense could have done more damage.

“We put up 49 points, but I don’t feel like the offense had that great of a day,” Sudfeld said. 

Last year, the Hoosiers averaged 199.4 passing yards per game, which was ranked fifth in the Big Ten.

This year, IU leads the Big Ten and is 15th nationally, averaging 313 yards per game.
Also, the Hoosiers rank second in the Big Ten in total offensive yards and third in
scoring offense.

However, the Midshipmen’s defense could cause problems for the potent Hoosier offense.

Sophomore quarterback Cameron Coffman said he has seen their defense’s intensity in the film room.

“They are a bunch of guys that play really hard, and they bring it every game,” Coffman said. “They are not scared of anybody, so it should be a good test for us.”

Sophomore cornerback Parrish Gaines and senior safety Tra’ves Bush lead the Midshipmen defense with 38 tackles each.

Bush has one tackle for a loss with a fumble recovery.

Like most special armed forces schools, Navy has limits on how many pounds their students can be depending on their height.

“Not as huge like the 320-pound Michigan State guys,” freshman offensive tackle Jason Spriggs said. “But they play as hard, if not harder.”

The Midshipmen average two sacks per game.

Four of their 12 sacks on the season have come from senior outside linebacker Keegan Wetzel.

The Hoosiers’ offensive line has had success protecting the quarterbacks in the recent Big Ten games.

IU has given up eight sacks this season, but only one has come in the past two games.

The Hoosier offense will face a high energy defense, Freeney said.

“They are a really up-tempo defense,” he said. “They have a really high motor that is going to come at us all 60 minutes.”

One of the keys to the game will be possession time for the Hoosiers.

Offensive line coach Greg Frey and Coffman both explained how Navy’s triple-option offense runs down the clock and doesn’t give the opposing team much possession time.

“We have to take the opportunities we get and score with them,” Coffman said.

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