Four games remain on Indiana football’s schedule. Amidst a record of 3-5 through the first eight games, six is the magic number. Six wins will automatically grant Indiana a bowl appearance for the first time since the 2020 season — the third time since head coach Tom Allen's first full season in 2017.
The chances of the Hoosiers winning three of their last four games look dreary. Junior Cam Camper, the team’s leading receiver, is sidelined for the season, while the starting quarterback going forward is uncertain and senior linebacker Cam Jones is still “week to week,” according to Allen.
Allen spoke to the media Monday afternoon for the first time since Indiana’s loss against Rutgers on Oct. 22 and opened with the devastating news surrounding Camper.
“Camper has torn his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season,” Allen said.
Camper was Indiana’s leading receiver throughout the first eight games of the season with 569 total receiving yards and 46 receptions. With a big chunk of games remaining on the Hoosiers’ schedule, other players in the receivers’ room will need to fill the Camper’s void.
“Moving forward there are going to be a bunch of young guys who make plays,” said Walt Bell, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Other injuries include Jones, who is still battling a foot injury which has kept him off the field since Indiana’s game against Nebraska on Oct. 1.
On top of injuries, Allen addressed questions regarding junior Connor Bazelak’s job security at the starting quarterback position.
“You’ll have to wait until Saturday to see who our starting quarterback is going to be,” Allen said.
With that message, all eyes shift to redshirt junior Jack Tuttle and redshirt sophomore Dexter Williams II waiting in the weeds for the opportunity to earn the job.
Bell said they’re going to use this week of practice to evaluate the position and make a proper assessment from there.
Heading into a tough home matchup against No. 16 Penn State Saturday, Allen and his team’s focus on consistency continues to be a mainstay throughout the season.
“It’s about coming out of the second half and finishing, '' Allen said. “Even though our conference games have come down to the fourth quarter, we haven’t found enough ways to make plays to finish those games the way we want to.”
Another focus is the development of the younger players, giving them more chances to close out the 2022 season strong despite Indiana’s final record. With the upcoming challenge against the Nittany Lions this weekend, Allen said it’s another great opportunity to play “one of the best teams in the county.”
“Very talented football team in all three phases,” Allen said. “Have to find a way to do our very best to come out with the win on Saturday.”
The last four opponents on Indiana’s schedule are No. 16 Penn State, No. 2 Ohio State, Michigan State and a finale against Purdue at home.
If Indiana loses this weekend’s game against Penn State, the Hoosiers will need to finish the season as they started it: by winning the last three games of the season in an effort to extend their season and play in a bowl game.