What's a Ute? Hoosier Daddy, That's What
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Back in the day -- 1968, to be exact -- the Indiana Hoosiers earned their way into their only Rose Bowl.
Their secret weapon was a tailback named John Isenbarger who also served as the punter but who often didn't. Even when he should have.
In fact, he was such a danger seeker on fourth down, the fans would join Indiana's coaches in a chant that lives on in Hoosier tradition to this day:
Indiana did return to a bowl in California 12 seasons later, in 1979 when the brains under this Brillo pad masterminded a 38-37 upset over BYU:
Gotta say, Lee Corso's aged well.
But if he were to assess the Hoosiers' chances against Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl tonight in Santa Clara, he'd probably issue his signature not so fast warning.
The Utes are a load.
OK. That's outta the way.
Coach Kyle Whittingham has a way of getting youths ready for bowl games. Dude's led his squads to a 9-1 record in them. That's why a cursory look at the stats may be deceiving.
Here's part of what's available on the Bovada data tool on our Home page:
The Hoosiers are 6-6 on the year, but none of those victories have come against a team with a winning record. They have played Big Ten ground-&-pounders close, so the question is this:
Can they stay within the +4 spread that Bovada has given them?
Utah RB Joe Williams is a load. Dude got his yards against the likes of Washington, and he'll get them here. QB Troy Williams has been hampered with a sprained MCL in the late season, one reason why the Utes dropped three of their last four. Still, two of those losses were to the Huskies and Colorado, and Indiana is not of that caliber.
The other issue is Utah's Sack Lake City defense.
This unit led the Pac-12 with 40 sacks and 95 tackles for loss. Indiana, meanwhile, has allowed 87 tackles for a loss.
Indiana's playing with a new head coach in Tom Allen, who's taking over from Kevin Wilson after hints and allegations of player mistreatment. He's popular with the players, so distractions shouldn't be an issue.
Still, the Hoosiers are in deep, here. Their recent history against the spread isn't good, their fortunes against the strengths of Utah aren't good, and as mentioned, Whittingham's been there and done that better than any coach out there.
Prediction: Utah -4
Result: Utah 26 Indiana 24 ... Hoosiers cover