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July 16, 2010

An early look at the Big Ten: Indiana

The Indiana Hoosiers

Location: Bloomington, Ind.
Distance from Lincoln: 636 miles

Best way to get there: It's about an 11-hour drive from Lincoln to Bloomington, so flying is probably the best option. AirTran airlines offers a direct flight from Omaha to Indianapolis, which is a little more than an hour drive to Bloomington. Otherwise, several other airlines offer flights from Omaha to Indianapolis with one connection.

Offensive scheme: Spread
Defensive scheme: 4-3

Rivals.com past recruiting rankings: No. 92 (2010), No. 59 (2009), No. 78 (2008) and No. 97 (2007).

The Hoosiers have 20 commitments for 2011, including two four-stars, 11 three-stars and a four two-star recruits.

Indiana's history against Nebraska

Believe it or not, Indiana actually holds the all-time series lead over Nebraska, posting a 9-7-3 advantage in 19 meetings. As you would probably expect, though, the Huskers have dominated the past four showdowns, winning the most recent in a 69-17 blowout of the Hoosiers in 1978.

Why this game could be a potential rivalry

Considering that Indiana is one of six Big Ten teams that hold an all-time series lead over Nebraska, the Hoosiers automatically go on NU's list of teams to get even with upon making its conference switch. Outside of that, you have to get a little creative to find some reasons for a rivalry.

One angle (albeit a pretty big stretch) is the fact that Indiana fans take a lot of pride in being "The" Big Red of college athletics. Their reasoning is that the Hoosiers have been playing football since 1884, well before Nebraska (1890) and Wisconsin (1889), who also uses the moniker.

Until the two teams get back together on the field, that's probably as good as things are going to get as far as a rivalry goes.

Stars to watch for in 2011

Indiana doesn't have very many bright spots, but one is sophomore running back Darius Willis. Last year as a redshirt freshman, Willis ran for a team-high 607 yards and six touchdowns, earning a place on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, and third-team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele.

The Hoosiers will also have their top two wide receivers back when Nebraska joins the conference, as juniors Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher are both coming off exceptional sophomore campaigns and should only continue to improve.

Doss might be IU's best returning player, as he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from the conference last season.


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