Week 5 – Indiana at Northwestern

Posted Sep 27, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction – Indiana at Northwestern

Indiana (2-1) at Northwestern (4-0) Sept. 29, 12:00, BTN

Here's The Deal: Northwestern has started out the season red hot, and if it's able to keep playing the strongest defense yet in the Pat Fitzgerald era, and if the offense can continue to be efficient and effective, there shouldn't be a problem with an Indiana team that started out the season well before losing a home shootout to Ball State. The Hoosiers have the offense moving, but Northwestern has been a brick wall with one really, really bad stretch against Syracuse the only blip so far. The Wildcats have been doing most of the little things right with good special teams and timely plays when needed, and if all goes according to plan, they should be 5-0 with winnable road games against Penn State and Minnesota to follow. With Michigan State and Ohio State up next, the Hoosiers have to come up big now or there could be a rough slide before going to Navy.

Why Indiana Might Win: Bombs away. The Northwestern defense might be playing well against the run, but the secondary is getting hit on early and often. Syracuse's Ryan Nassib went ballistic, throwing for 482 yards and four scores, while Vanderbilt and Boston College were each able to move the ball through the air. IU might not have played Alabama and LSU so far, but the passing game lit up Ball State for 423 yards and four scores after two big games against Indiana State and UMass. The Hoosiers will come up with big yards through the air, but Northwestern might not be able to do the same. The Wildcats haven't been awful throwing the ball, but they've mostly operated by …

Why Northwestern Might Win: The ground game. Using a cast of characters, Northwestern has found away to control games and the tempo by running in a variety of ways. Whether it's Kain Colter taking off from his quarterback spot, or Venric Mark doing a little bit of everything for the offense, or Mike Trumpy taking off for 106 yards against Boston College, the offense is moving the ball. Indiana's defensive front has been fine so far, but that's mostly because it hasn't faced a tough running game. NU is playing extremely smart football right now with no picks and not enough big mistakes to prove costly. IU has to win the turnover margin, and it won't.

What To Watch Out For: Indiana lost starting quarterback Tre Roberson for the season, and Cameron Coffman stepped in and got hot against Ball State throwing for 251 yards and two scores. He hurt his hip and in stepped Nate Sudfeld, who completed 13-of-20 passes for 172 yards and two scores. In all, IU threw for 423 yards in the wild loss, and Cody Latimore was the main star catching four passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns. The Hoosiers are going to need plenty of big plays to counterbalance the good NU ground attack.

What Will Happen: This is where Colter becomes a quarterback. The Wildcats aren't going to alter the overall formula, but they're going to need a few big plays from the passing game to keep IU from teeing off. That's where Colter comes in with a good, sound passing ability able to take advantage of one-on-one situations. He'll outplay the IU quarterbacks – Coffman is expected to be fine.

CFN Prediction: Northwestern 31 … Indiana 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Northwestern -11.5 O/U: 58.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 2.5