Indiana has seven wins on the season for the first time since 2007 and been successful with a great passing attack on offense.
Peyton Ramsey has been solid at the quarterback position, but the Hoosiers’ offense hinges upon an effective rushing attack to open up the passing game. That’s why Coach Tom Allen is exuberant about having a player like Stevie Scott in his backfield.
After all, Scott is a six-foot-two, 233-pound back, who can run over linebackers and outrun defensive backs. He has rushed for 1,874 yards over Indiana’s last 21 games to go along with 19 touchdowns. Not to mention the sophomore has rushed over the century mark eight times in his two-year career, including a 200-yard performance in Indiana’s win over Virginia in 2018.
His legs in the second half are a valuable commodity and provides Indiana with a crutch in the clutch.
“You have to run the football at critical times and there at the end you can’t throw the ball,” Allen said. “It’s a whole different kind of psyche you have towards those last few minutes of the game.”
The New York native already has a 1,000-yard season under his belt. He’s currently on pace to become the Hoosiers’ first back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher since Devine Redding accomplished the feat in 2015-16. What’s even more impressive is Scott been operating behind a patched up offensive line.
Now Indiana is coming off a bye-week and approaching arguably its’ two toughest games of the season. Going on the road to Beaver Stadium to play a ticked off Penn State team will be a tall order and hosting Michigan in back-to-back weeks is tough as it gets in the Big Ten.
The Hoosiers will have to successfully run the ball against some stout defenses up front in order to pull of the upsets and Allen trust Scott to be ready for the challenge. Running backs Coach Mike Hart, who is a former Wolverine has prepared Scott to take on the physicality the defenses bring around the league.
Indiana’s offense has scored 31 or more points in every game this season besides the loss to Ohio State. The rushing attack keeps defenses honest, the pressure off Ramsey and Scott is good for five yards per carry. If the next two games are close in the fourth quarter don’t be surprised to see the Hoosiers grind it out on offense and play keep away from the other team.
“It’s always good to get those key first downs with Peyton’s or Stevie’s legs,” Allen said. “The ball security that Stevie has and the coaching Coach Hart gives him.”
Anything similar to Indiana’s win on the road at Nebraska, when Scott put the offense on his back and opened up the play-action for Ramsey to find wide-open targets. Allen was proud with the performance of his backfield and hopes to keep the wheels turning.
“Stevie Scot got some huge yards at the end and we threw the ball pretty effectively,” Allen said. “It’s a pretty good feeling when the offense gets to close it out.”
Saturday morning will reveal if No. 24 Indiana can remain prosperous now that the team won’t be sneaking up on anyone and will be getting every opponents’ best.