On Defense: Secondary v. Wide Receiver
When it comes to Indiana's offense the Hawkeyes will have their choice of poison chalices to drink from. The Hoosiers rank 26th in total offense, 24th in passing offense, 54th in rushing offense and 15th in red zone offense. They're efficient, don't turn the ball over and quarterback Nate Sudfeld boasts some of the best statistics in the Big Ten. This is to be expected from a Kevin Wilson coached team. Wilson, who spent eight years with Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, essentially has the Hoosiers running a Big 12 offense. That's why they average 468 yards and 33 points per game.
The Hoosiers use three wide receivers disproportionately: Ricky Jones, Simmie Cobbs, and Mitchell Paige. Each wide receiver has 30+ receptions while the next closest receiver only has 7. Jones and Cobbs average more than 15 YPC and have a combined eight touchdowns. Jones is your smaller, speed receiver who stands at 5'10, 188 lbs. Cobbs is your taller possession receiver who stands at a solid 6'4, 212 lbs. Paige is about as slot wide receiver as slot receivers can be: 5'7, 176. Each wide receiver has their role and Sudfeld utilizes them properly.
Arguably most impressive about Sudfeld is that despite attempting 226 passes this season, he's only been sacked six times. SIX. This is good for first in the Big Ten in sacks allowed. He's only been sacked multiple times in one game, twice, against Michigan State.
In short: Sudfeld is going to get his time and make his throws. That's why it will be up to the secondary to minimize the damage, tackle well and keep everything underneath.
On Offense: Offensive Tackle v. Defensive End
The other side of the Kevin Wilson coin is his Big 12 defense. They are the nation's worst passing defense, allowing 342 yards per game. Their rushing defense is somewhat better (but still bad), only giving up 166 yards per game. They don't pick the ball off, but they do account for a decent number of sacks. Overall, they're ranked 119th in total defense out of 127 teams.
The strength of the Hoosier is at defensive end. Senior Nick Mangieri, who stands at a solid 6'5, 270 lbs, has already notched an impressive seven sacks, forced two fumbles and broken up five passes. Four of those sacks came against the likes of Cardale Jones and Christian Hackenberg, so we're not exactly talking about padding your stats against MAC teams.
Opposite of Mangieri is Darius Latham, who also stands an impressive 6'5, 300 lbs. He only has two sacks, seven tackles for loss and a pass breakup. However, this is attributable to him being suspended for three games for what sounds like a multitude of reasons.
With Boettger still out with injury and Cole Croston likely being lined up against Indiana's best pass rusher, the tackles will have their hands full on Saturday. With Beathard's assumingly limited mobility, it's important for him to get the time he needs to stand in the pocket. Taking it a step further, it's important for those tackles to open up holes for Wadley, Daniels and Mitchell. Considering the aggressiveness of the defensive ends, establishing a solid running game will open the play action and give Beathard multiple opportunities to abuse a porous secondary.