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Thursday, June 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Hoosiers face unfamiliar foe

OSU Football

Unfamiliar and unpredictable – for the IU football team, that might be the best way to describe the Virginia team it will face Saturday.

The Hoosiers will travel to Charlottesville, Va., this weekend for a non-conference matchup against the Cavaliers, an Atlantic Coast Conference school they have never faced.

For the third week in a row, IU will be watching extra game film and doing additional research to prepare for an unfamiliar opponent. Virginia follows consecutive games against Ohio State and Michigan – teams that have not been on the Hoosiers’ football schedule since 2006.

“You can only learn so much from film,” sophomore offensive lineman Justin Pagan said. “You just have to go out there and play the game.”

Not only are the Cavaliers unfamiliar, but they are also unpredictable. Virginia (1-3, 1-0) opened its season with a 26-14 loss to Football Championship Subdivision team William and Mary. Last week, Virginia won 16-3 at North Carolina, a team that had been ranked in the top 25 earlier this season.

The Virginia win against the Tar Heels was its first of the season. After the loss to William and Mary, the team also fell to TCU and Southern Mississippi.

Lynch said his team focused on the game film of the Virginia-North Carolina game rather than the earlier Cavalier losses. Virginia is a much improved team from its first week, Lynch said.

“They are a football team that has progressed the way a coach wants them to progress,” Lynch said. “There are so many teams around the country where the teams are so different from their first games, including us.”

However, the Cavaliers’ team stats still show inconsistency. The defense ranks eighth in the nation in pass defense, but they give up more than 145 rushing yards per game. On offense, the team has allowed 17 sacks – the fifth worst in the country.

Keys to the game:

IU run game consistency:

In five games this season, IU’s running game has produced roller coaster results.

Against Eastern Kentucky and Ohio State, the Hoosiers rushed for less than 75 yards. Last week, the Hoosiers mustered 18 yards against Ohio State’s defense.

In its other three games, IU has averaged 188 yards rushing.

IU offensive coordinator Matt Canada said it comes down to execution which makes a difference between a good and bad run game.

“In all ways – blocking, running, setting up the run with the pass, just the execution of our offense in general,” Canada said about execution.

IU might look to use the run game this week against a Virginia team that ranks 71st nationally in rush defense, while 8th in pass defense.

“We want to get back to being balanced,” junior quarterback Ben Chappell said. “We have to get back to running the ball and off that, we’ll have some opportunities to pass.”

IU third-down offense

Virginia has allowed 16 third-down conversions in 61 attempts, tied for sixth in the nation. Its pass defense allows just 156.5 yards per game.

Based on those numbers, Chappell said he does not want to see many third-and-long situations Saturday. To avoid those situations, the team will need to run the ball better and be more efficient on first and second down, Chappell added.

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