Following a 42-16 loss to Iowa, IU football will hope to turn things around when No. 18 Penn State visits Bloomington on Saturday.
After a couple of days to digest yet another disappointing homecoming defeat, IU coaches and players met with the media to recap the Iowa game and look ahead to a showdown with Penn State. Here are three key things to know from the session.
1. Seniors Jacob Robinson and Wes Martin put together a players meeting Monday morning.
IU is now 1-3 in Big Ten play this season. In an effort to right the ship, IU Coach Tom Allen said Robinson and Martin — two of the team’s senior leaders — led a team meeting where they challenged the team to react to its bad start in conference play.
“We’ve got a lot of new, young guys that haven’t been through the grind of a Big Ten season,” Allen said. “It can be draining on you physically and emotionally. I think they needed to remind the guys that it’s part of the process.”
Even after playing three tough opponents in four weeks, the back half of IU’s schedule doesn’t get much easier. Following Penn State’s visit to Memorial Stadium, IU will travel to Minnesota before returning home to play Maryland. Every team left on the Hoosiers’ schedule currently holds a .500 record or better.
2. Allen expressed concern about quarterback Peyton Ramsey’s turnover struggles.
At this point in the season, sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey ranks second-to-last in interceptions among Big Ten signal-callers with seven. Ramsey came into the Iowa game looking to build off of a solid performance against Ohio State, where he threw for more than 300 yards, had three touchdowns and threw no interceptions.
But Ramsey followed it up with a poor game against the Hawkeyes where he threw for 263 yards with two interceptions, while only tossing one touchdown.
“He has to protect the football. It’s part of his job,” Allen said. “I don’t think he played very well during the game. We’re not bashful about saying those kinds of things.”
With a game against Penn State on the horizon, Ramsey will surely need to improve upon his play, as the Nittany Lions boast one of the better secondaries in the conference. Penn State is holding teams to an average of 209 passing yards per game, and has picked off opposing quarterbacks six times so far this year.
3. Intensity won’t be an issue for IU this weekend.
In last week’s loss to Iowa, IU came out flat and never looked like it was capable of competing. With a ranked opponent coming to Bloomington for the second time this season, senior safety Jonathan Crawford said the Hoosiers will be ready.
“Honestly, I don’t think we’ll have to match them,” Crawford said. “I think we’re going to bring enough emotional intensity that they’ll have to match us.”
The visit of Penn State provides IU with a third opportunity for a marquee win over a big-name opponent. Crawford said he was confident the Hoosiers would have a good week of practice, and that the team's preparation would pay off come Saturday.
“Knowing where our mindset is, it’s going to be a positive week,” Crawford said.
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