BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana returns to nonconference play Saturday with a home game against Connecticut after enduring a 41-point loss to Big Ten juggernaut Ohio State last week. The Hoosiers will be trying to win their eight consecutive out-of-conference game and get back on track at home before re-entering Big Ten action the following week.
TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Indiana -27
Hoosiers coach Tom Allen stressed that Indiana needs to put the 51-10 loss to Ohio State in the rear-view mirror and not let the effects of the rout linger this week. Senior offensive tackle and captain Coy Cronk echoed the coach's thoughts and put it this way: "Don't let Ohio State beat us twice." UConn should be a good salve to heal the burn marks that Ohio State's high-octane offense left on Indiana's defense, which gave up 520 total yards. The Huskies, who had one of the nation's worst defenses a year ago, are coming off a bye week after squeezing past FBS Wagner 24-21 in their opener and losing 31-23 at home to Illinois, which lost to Eastern Michigan last Saturday.
ABOUT UCONN (1-1)
Freshman quarterback Jack Zergiotis made his college debut against Illinois and passed for 275 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions. Two UConn running backs have more than 100 yards rushing each this season, with Kevin Mensah totaling 171 yards and two touchdowns and Toledo transfer Art Thompkins adding 105 yards (5.8 yards per carry) and one TD. It's too early to tell whether coach Randy Edsall has transformed UConn's atrocious defense that allowed 519 yards per game last season, but after two contests this year the Huskies were 18th in the country in total defense, giving up 271 yards per game.
ABOUT INDIANA (2-1)
The offense wasn't as effective against Ohio State as it was in two wins to start the season and that could be attributed to the absence of injured quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who sat out the game against the Buckeyes. Penix, a redshirt freshman who passed for 523 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 79 yards against Ball State and Eastern Illinois, is likely to be a game-time decision this week, but Allen doesn't expect him to be sidelined long term. The Hoosiers want to establish their running attack after averaging 101.3 yards in the opening three contests.
1. Indiana RB Stevie Scott, named to the Doak Walker Award watch list after rushing for 1,137 yards as a freshman in 2018, has just 118 yards in three games this season and is averaging 3.2 yards per carry.
2. Peyton Ramsey, Indiana's starting quarterback last year, started last Saturday in place of the injured Penix and completed 19-of-33 passes for 162 yards and threw an interception that was returned 96 yards for a touchdown by Ohio State's Damon Arnette.
3. UConn hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in two games this season.
PREDICTION: Indiana 42, Connecticut 7