The record says the Indiana Hoosiers are 2-8 overall and sitting in last place in the Big Ten's East Division with a 0-7 mark. P.J. Fleck begs to differ, and the Gophers football coach is letting his team know that it shouldn't judge Saturday's opponent in Bloomington, Ind., by its resume cover.
"We're treating them as an 8-2 football team, not 2-8,'' Fleck said Monday. "And they've lost six games that are from top 20 teams and four of those teams at a particular time were ranked in the top 10.''
Fleck actually was shortchanging the Hoosiers a bit. Indiana has losses to five teams that were ranked in the top 10 when the Hoosiers played them — then-No. 8 Cincinnati, No. 4 Penn State, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 7 Michigan. That's the price of being in the Big Ten East and scheduling Cincinnati, a team in the hunt for a College Football Playoff berth, as a nonconference opponent.
Indiana entered the season brimming with optimism, coming off a 6-2 record and Outback Bowl appearance in 2020. The Hoosiers were ranked No. 17 in the Associated Press preseason top 25. A 34-6 loss at Iowa in the season opener proved prophetic for the Hoosiers, whose only wins are against Idaho and Western Kentucky.
"That's not what I envisioned for this group,'' Indiana coach Tom Allen said. "I did envision them being able to be at this time of the year competing for and being in the hunt for the Big Ten Championship.''
The Hoosiers are coming off a 38-3 home loss against Rutgers in which quarterback Jack Tuttle suffered a lower leg injury that has his status in doubt for Saturday. Tuttle replaced Michael Penix Jr., who's been out since Oct. 2 because of a shoulder injury. Allen wasn't sure if Penix will play again this season.
Rossi among Broyles nominees
Gophers defensive coordinator Joe Rossi on Monday was named one of 59 nominees for the Broyles Award, given annually by the Frank & Barbara Broyles Foundation to the top assistant coach in college football.
Under Rossi, the Gophers rank seventh nationally in total defense (296.7 yards allowed per game); ninth in rush defense (99.9); tied for 16th in scoring defense (19.2); and 27th in passing defense (196.8). The Gophers last allowed less than 20 points per game in 1999 and less than 300 yards per game in 1977.
Wisconsin game at 2:30 or 3 p.m.
The Big Ten announced that the Gophers regular-season finale Nov. 27 against Wisconsin at Huntington Bank Stadium will start at either 2:30 p.m. (and air on ABC or ESPN) or at 3 p.m. (and air on FOX).