If there was a college football team that needed a week off, it just might have been Nebraska. A week after making a head coaching change, the Cornhuskers were blasted at home by Oklahoma, so they certainly could have used a week to regroup before taking the field again. This week they will do just that as they host Indiana in Big Ten action.
Indiana took its first loss of the season last week on the road against Cincinnati, and the Hoosiers will head to Lincoln as an underdog in their second Big Ten game of the year. Can they hand Nebraska another demoralizing loss to start October, or will Nebraska get some momentum and come up with a much-needed win at home?
Here's what you need to know about this week's matchup between the Huskers and Hoosiers.
Indiana at Nebraska
When Indiana Has the Ball
Indiana has been putting together a solid passing attack to start the season. Connor Bazelak is among the Big Ten's passing leaders heading into Week 5 with 1,171 yards and seven touchdowns, although he could benefit from improving his accuracy (53.5 percent completion rate). Cam Camper, the Big Ten's third-leading receiver with 418 yards, has been the top target, although he has just one touchdown.
The passing game has to work for Indiana because the Hoosiers are toward the bottom of the conference in rushing yardage. But that may be just fine because Nebraska has the Big Ten's worst pass defense. The Cornhuskers are allowing 280.5 passing yards per game.
When Nebraska Has the Ball
Anthony Grant has been one of the Big Ten's top running backs early in the season, and it would be wise for Nebraska to keep him going again this weekend. Grant has averaged 116.0 rushing yards per game, and the Hoosiers haven't done well in slowing down opposing rushing offenses, at least not until last week. Cincinnati managed just 40 rushing yards on 30 carries against Indiana last week, but the Hoosiers also have given up 200-plus on the ground in a game twice this season (Illinois, WKU).
Quarterback Casey Thompson got off to a solid start racking up the passing yardage for Nebraska this season, but his touchdown-to-interception ratio has to be concerning with five scores and three picks in four games.
It is telling that Nebraska is labeled the favorite in this spot considering the way this season has started off for both schools. Indiana may have been exposed last week by a much better Cincinnati team, but the Hoosiers are probably the safer bet overall. Taking them on the road to not only cover but come away with a win shouldn't be a tough decision. Nebraska has to prove it can finish a game. If the Huskers can't, then Indiana will take advantage of it.
Prediction: Indiana 27, Nebraska 23
Podcast: Week 5 Preview, Predictions and Picks Against the Spread
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