Hoosiers' offense will be tough test for BG

Indiana has totaled 108 points in 2 games


BOWLING GREEN — Normally, the Bowling Green State University football coaches pore over the film of their next opponent, trying to spot tendencies in players and play-calling.

That wasn’t the case for the Falcons this week as they prepared for Saturday’s game at Indiana.

“We spent hardly any time with the Navy film — just looking at it for personnel,” BG coach Dave Clawson said. “The nature of what Navy does is so different offensively, when you play a team like that you end up not playing your defense.

“A lot of the teams that [Indiana] played [last year] marry up with us a lot more philosophically on offense than does Navy. Rather than spending a lot of time on the Navy film, we devoted more time to the things [Indiana] did a year ago.”

The film on the Hoosiers is impressive, especially on offense. Indiana has scored 108 points in its first two games, a 73-35 win over Indiana State, an FCS school, and a 41-35 loss to Navy.

“The nature of their offensive scheme is really hard to defend: They play fast,” Clawson said. “They snap the ball quickly, and simulating that tempo in practice is always difficult.

“We feel we have had a good week against it. But when you see it live and in person for the first time, it can be a challenge.”

While sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld completed 31-of-41 passes for 363 yards against the Midshipmen, there is a question of whether he or Tre Roberson will start for the Hoosiers.

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson wasn’t tipping his hand as to who would start.

“I thought Tre played well the other day — the opportunities didn’t go his way with protection breakdowns and such,” Wilson said. “And Nate’s first drive ended with an interception before he went score-score-score. I think he does a lot for us, but we’ll see how things go.”

Regardless of who starts at quarterback, Clawson said the Indiana offense will be a tough test for his team’s highly regarded defense.

“They have scored points against everybody,” Clawson said. “This group scored close to 50 points against Ohio State last year, and they have nine starters back.

“Our defense is excited by the challenge of going against an offense like this, but it’s hard. … They are well-coached, they know exactly what they’re doing, and they don’t run bad plays.”

While the Hoosiers defense has allowed 76 points and 821 yards of total offense in two games, Clawson said that unit wouldn’t be a pushover.

“Indiana is how you would imagine a Big Ten defense: They are big, they are stout,” he said.

While Navy’s offense is hard to prepare for, Wilson wasn’t making excuses for a unit that has allowed 410.5 yards per game.

“We need to be more physical, we need to be more aggressive,” he said. “We need to tackle better too.”

While Indiana enters the contest as a narrow favorite, Clawson said the Falcons are excited to travel to Bloomington, Ind., to face a team from a BCS automatic qualifier league.

“Whether they will admit it or not, a lot of our players were not recruited by [these teams] — they were rejected in the recruiting process,” he said. “They view games like this as a challenge.

“I think we have a number of players on our team who could play in the Big Ten, or at least at a higher level. They get excited about this challenge.”

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.