Parents' Weekend against Illinois
Bloomington, Ind.- The Indiana Hoosiers will take on the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Both teams enter the matchup with similar records with Indiana at 1-8, 0-5 in the Big Ten and Illinois at 1-9, 0-6 in conference.
"I think it's two teams who are toward the end of the season that anticipated not necessarily being in this situation," Indiana head coach Gerry DiNardo said. "So, there are some similarities."
The Hoosiers have shown improvement throughout the season especially in the areas of turnover margin, rush offense and special teams. Indiana has rushed for 1,219 yards this season for an average of 135.4 a game. The Hoosiers have a 13 turnover improvement over last season and have a current turnover margin of + 1, which ranks third in the conference. The Hoosiers have also improved in the kick return categories after ranking near the bottom in both categories last season.
"I don't know that I can say that the guys that are playing haven't improved," DiNardo said. "Some of the guys that were playing that are no longer playing, I think it's safe to say that someone else is playing better than them. I can't say there is any guy who has gotten worse as the season goes on. I am still pleased with their individual progress and if I wasn't, I would make a change and I have made some changes obviously."
The Indiana-Illinois matchup will start at 12:10 p.m. and be televised on ESPN-Plus. The game can also be heard on the IU Radio Network with Don Fischer (p-b-p), Dan Thompson (analysis) and Joe Smith (pre game, halftime, post game).
Indiana and Illinois do battle for the 61st time. The Illini own a 40-17-3 edge. The Hoosiers are 10-12-1 at home against Illinois.
Seventy-two percent of Indiana's rushing yards this season have come from freshmen and sophomores. Forty-eight percent of the team's scoring has been produced by players with less than two years experience while 54 percent of the team's tackles have been made by freshmen and sophomores.
Indiana has rushed for 1,219 yards this season and needs just 180 more rushing yards to eclipse its team rushing total from a season ago.
Indiana has seen marked improvement in where it ranks in the Big Ten in a number of statistical categories when comparing this year to last year. The Hoosiers have improved from 11th to 7th in rushing offense, 6th to 4th in kickoff returns, 11th to 3rd in turnover margin, 8th to 3rd in penalties per game and 10th to 3rd in kickoff coverage.
Indiana has a +1 in turnover margin, an improvement of +13 from last season. The Hoosiers have been picked off just seven times this season as compared to 21 last year. IU has forced 15 turnovers this year, just two less than all of last year.
Marketing and Promotions
Pam and Dave performing on the westside of the stadium two hours prior to game time.
Four piece roving band will be playing two hours before game time.
The Kids Zone, located on the southside of the stadium, will be open three hours before kickoff.
This weekend is Parents' Weekend, as seniors and parents of Student Athletic Board, trainers, cheerleaders and Poms will be recognized during the pre game.
The Marching Hundred will perform at halftime featuring music from "Where are they Now?"
At halftime, the winners of the Indiana football essay writing contest will be recognized. The Z.G. Clevenger Awards will also be presented at halftime.
Entering Saturday's contest with a 1-9 overall record and an 0-6 mark in Big Ten play are the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Similar to Indiana, Illinois has struggled to put points on the board lately. The Illini rank 105th nationally in scoring at 16.9 points per game, and have scored 14 or less points in each of their last five games.
Illinois has enjoyed some success throwing the ball, ranking third in the Big Ten with 231.2 passing yards per game.
Defensively, Illinois has not been able to stop the run. The Illini rank 102nd nationally in rushing defense, giving up an average of 205.2 yards per game on the ground.
Illinois comes off a 41-10 defeat at the hands of Iowa in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes raced out to a 34-0 lead after three quarters before the Illini got on the board with a Mark Kornfeld touchdown grab early in the fourth quarter.
Rushing yards and time of possession told the story in last week's game, as Iowa outgained Illinois, 244-59 on the ground and had the ball for 36:11 in comparison to the Illini's 23:49.
Quarterback Dustin Ward runs the Illinois offense, with Jon Beutjer out for the year after undergoing back surgery. When the Hoosiers faced Illinois last year, Ward completed 16 of his 23 pass attempts for 197 yards and two touchdowns. This year, Ward has completed 34-of-60 passes for 392 yards and one touchdown.
In a pass-happy offense, Kelvin Hayden and Mark Kornfeld are the two favorite targets. Hayden has made 50 catches for 575 yards and three touchdowns this year, while Kornfeld has caught 40 passes for 472 yards and three touchdowns.
Linebacker Matt Sinclair leads the way with 104 tackles for an Illini defense that has recorded only one interception all year.
"Their offense and our offense are the two closest schematically in the conference. There aren't many college teams that run the system that we do. I would say we are two of the purest West Coast offenses in college football. So their scheme is very similar to ours, which helps us in a preparation standpoint because not only our scout team should as a result of that give our defensive players a good look because they are used to doing it. You can also go against one another. Our offense can go against our defense and give our defense a good look. It's not so much the other way. Illinois is much more multiple on defense than we are. They seem to give something different every game. You may see one defense one week and not see it at all the next. You have to be ready for a lot of change when it comes to them."
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