Indiana vs Ohio State: The Jordan Howard Factor


Indiana will beat Ohio State on Saturday. That is my prediction. Why? Because the Hoosiers have the best running back in the Big Ten.

For Indiana, there is a saving grace. That saving grace ended up at Indiana University when UAB closed down its program. The death of another school’s football program has breathed life into the Indiana’s program. The Hoosiers have always flashed offensive potential, but since the arrival of running back Jordan Howard, they have shown consistency and balance on offense not seen in a very long time. This is the Jordan Howard Factor.

Jordan Howard is one of the many reasons why the Hoosiers (4-0) are undefeated this season. Why is that? He’s the best running back in the Big Ten. But… What about Ezekiel Elliot? What about…? Stop right there. Shhh… The answer is Jordan Howard. It’s just that simple.

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This Saturday, both Howard and Devine Redding have the opportunity to continue to do damage to the opposing defense, but Howard is the reason I believe the Hoosiers upset Ohio State.

Jordan Howard has found a new home in Bloomington, Indiana. Last year, he ran for over 1,500 yards for UAB. We are only four weeks into the 2015 season and Howard is already leading the nation in rushing. That’s less than one year after his former team fell off the map.

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Howard, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound junior, has rushed for 145, 159, 203, and 168 in victories against Southern Illinois, Florida International, Western Kentucky, and Wake Forest respectively. He is the main cog in an offensive machine that is currently 14th in the nation and leads the Big Ten with 522 yards per game. As a team, IU sits at second in the B1G in passing (285.8) and rushing (236.5).

Jordan Howard LEADS the NATION in rushing with 675 yards and averaging 6.1 yards-per-carry. Schematically, Howard is a perfect fit to replace Tevin Coleman. Last November, Coleman torched the defending national champions for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries in Columbus. The Buckeyes are susceptible to a strong running game. Now an NFL rookie running back, Coleman is utilizing his speed in a talented Atlanta Falcons’ backfield rotation. Where Coleman was the burner, Howard is the bruiser. Granted, Coleman is faster than Howard, while his successor packs a far more powerful punch. Luckily, a bruising running game is exactly what Indiana needs to topple the Buckeyes.

In their game against Western Michigan, on Saturday, Ohio State’s rushing defense had holes. 2014 MAC Player of the Year Jarvion Franklin found space to work right up the middle on several occasions. He finished with 68 yards on just 12 carries. Jamauri Bogan tallied 93 yards on 23 carries against the Buckeyes’ front seven.

Howard presents the biggest challenge for the Buckeyes’ run defense in 2015. After racking up 168 on 33 carries in a 31-24 victory at Wake Forest last Saturday, Howard became the first FBS running back in the last 20 seasons (!!!) to rush for at least a minimum of 140 yards in the first four games of the season.

That’s pretty good. No Coleman? No problem… Indiana will beat Ohio State, on Saturday, and it will be because of the Big ten’s top running back, Jordan Howard.

Follow me on twitter: @jaydotsiskin

Next: Indiana Football: Three Keys to the Win over Wake Forest

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