There’s no trophy on the line this week, just a trip to Bloomington for a date with Indiana.
The Iowa football team improved to 4-1 overall and evened its Big Ten record at 1-1 with a 48-31 win at Minnesota on Saturday, earning the right to keep Floyd of Rosedale in Iowa City. That’s 2-1 in “trophy games” this fall, if you’re keeping score.
The only thing on the line this week is, well, pride. If Iowa wants to stay in the hunt for a Big Ten West title or a nice bowl destination in January, this is a game it needs to win.
The Hoosiers are 4-2 (1-2 in Big Ten), but have lost two of their last three (to Michigan State and Ohio State) after opening the season with wins over Florida International, Virginia and Ball State.
Here are “5 Things” about the Hoosiers and Saturday’s game (11 a.m., ESPN2).
1. Meet the coach
The last time Iowa played Indiana (2015), Kevin Wilson was the Hoosier coach.
Tom Allen took over at the end of the 2016 season (coaching the Foster Farms Bowl loss to Utah) and, on paper, looks like a natural for this position. He’s from New Castle, Ind., and earned his master’s degree from IU in 2002.
He coached at two Indiana high schools — Ben Davis from 1998 to 2006 and Marion in 1997.
He actually started as a high school coach in Florida, serving as head coach at Temple Heights Christian School in Tampa from 1992 to ’94 and was defensive coordinator at Armwood H.S. in Mango in 1995 and ’96 before moving back to his home state as defensive coordinator at Marion. He then moved to Ben Davis, where he was defensive coordinator from 1998 through 2003 and head coach for three seasons.
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He moved around quickly after getting his first college job at Wabash in 2007. He was at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn., for two seasons and spent a season at Drake and Arkansas State before spending three years at Mississippi. He spent a season at South Florida before becoming the associate head coach — and later the head coach — at Indiana in 2016.
He was defensive coordinator at almost every stop, including his year in Des Moines. The Bulldogs ranked sixth in the FCS that season, allowing 94.2 rushing yards per game.
He still oversees the defense.
2. Iowa connection
It’s not surprising the Hoosiers’ roster lacks any Iowans.
But the coaching staff has a Hawkeye connection. And Allen, as mentioned, spent a year in Des Moines on the Drake staff.
William Inge is Indiana’s special teams coordinator.
As Bill Ennis-Inge, he was an outside linebacker for the Hawkeyes from 1993 to ’96. A captain on the 1996 team, Inge recorded 173 career tackles, 24 sacks and 37 tackles for loss. The Hawkeyes were 17-7 his final two seasons, collecting Sun and Alamo bowl victories.
His first coaching gig was at UNI, where he worked with linebackers for two seasons, the defensive line for one and was co-defensive coordinator in 2004. He had stops at Colorado, San Diego State, Cincinnati, Buffalo and with the Buffalo Bills in the NFL before landing at Indiana in 2013 as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
3. Ramsey watch
Indiana can move the ball, averaging 27.8 points and 411.2 yards per game.
Quarterback Peyton Ramsey has completed 66.8 percent of his 211 passes for 1,361 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He passed for a career-high 322 yards with three TDs in Saturday’s loss to Ohio State.
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A 6-foot-2, 212-pound sophomore from Cincinnati, Ramsey completed 65.4 percent of his passes as a freshman for 1,252 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. He played for his father, Doug Ramsey, at Elder High School and was a two-time Greater Catholic League South Player of the Year. He passed for 6,708 yards in his prep career and ran for 2,692, averaging 5.8 yards per carry.
The Hoosiers also have a talented young runner in Stevie Scott, a 6-2, 236-pound true freshman who is averaging 88 yards per game, 4.9 yards per carry. He only played in three high school games as a senior because of injury, but totaled 2,500 as a sophomore and junior at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y.
4. History lesson
Indiana, quite honestly, doesn’t have a rich football tradition. This has long been a basketball school, after all.
Allen is the 31st coach in the school’s 134th season. Only six had winning records, the last Bo McMillin, whose final season was in 1947. A College Football Hall of Famer, McMillin went 63-48-11 from 1934 to ’47, guiding the Hoosiers to their only unbeaten season (9-0-1 in 1945) and first Big Ten championship. Bill Mallory, 69-77-3 from 1984 to ’96, has the most wins.
Allen is 9-10 in one-plus season.
5. The series
As mentioned above, Indiana doesn’t have much of a football history, and the series with Iowa reflects that. The Hawkeyes lead, 44-28-4.
The series started in 1912 and Iowa won the first four games. Three of the next four games ended in a tie and Iowa didn’t win again until 1939 (no games were played from 1922 through 1930). The Hawkeyes won 10 in a row, starting in 1953, and six straight, starting in 1980. Iowa has won the last two meetings and six of the last seven.
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