Saturday's game between IU and Rutgers has all the makings of a low-scoring affair.
Both teams feature defenses among the best in the Football Bowl Subdivision and offenses that often become stagnant mid-game.
The weather forecast for the noon kickoff at Memorial Stadium — a 100 percent chance of rain — also doesn't lend itself to a high-scoring matchup.
Both programs own a 4-6 overall record in 2017 and have to win their final two games to gain automatic entry into a bowl game.
"I want a hungry team to take the field on Saturday," IU Coach Tom Allen said. "I expect them to be locked in."
Last week's win at Illinois gave the Hoosiers their first taste of Big Ten success this season. All six of IU's losses have come in conference play, and the Hoosiers can't afford any more slip-ups if a third consecutive bowl berth is to be realized.
The same is true for Rutgers, 3-4 in the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights have already tripled their conference win total from the past two seasons this season and a successful rushing attack has been a big reason why.
While Rutgers' S&P+ ranking for total offense is 121st out of 130 teams in the country, its rushing S&P+ ranking is 38th. Senior running backs Gus Edwards and Robert Martin, the two rushers with the most carries for Rutgers, both average more than four yards per carry.
Defensively, the Hoosiers appear capable of neutralizing the ground game. The country's 21st-best rush defense belongs to IU.
The IU defense is also a senior-laden group. Players like linebackers Chris Covington and Tegray Scales, along with cornerback Rashard Fant, will be playing their final games at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
All of IU's senior players will participate in Senior Day ceremonies prior to the game. However, a few exceptions exist within this group.
A total of seven redshirt juniors and one redshirt sophomore, in terms of NCAA eligibility, will participate in IU's Senior Day festivities. This includes wide receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr., IU's leading receiver in terms of catches, touchdowns and yardage.
Cobbs is considered an NFL draft prospect and has the option to either leave after this season, as all non-seniors do, or return for a final year with the Hoosiers.
Others, like senior quarterback Richard Lagow, don't have that luxury.
Lagow has one game left in Bloomington, and he's guaranteed two more in what's been an unpredictable IU career for the Texas native.
"Obviously its a lot to process, its a lot of emotions and all that," Lagow said. "I'm excited to go out there and play one more time."
He'll look to keep those emotions in check Saturday, to ensure his collegiate career extends into December.
"There's a great atmosphere around this place," Lagow said. "We're just taking it one day at a time and having fun."
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