Sports

Hoosiers postseason chase comes down to fixing 3rd-down plays, starting against Minnesota

  • Minnesota tight end Drew Goodger (83) and wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky (82) congratulate quarterback Philip Nelson (9) after his touchdown in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Minneapolis Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. Minnesota beat Nebraska 34-23. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

    Minnesota tight end Drew Goodger (83) and wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky (82) congratulate quarterback Philip Nelson (9) after his touchdown in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Minneapolis Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. Minnesota beat Nebraska 34-23. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)  (The Associated Press)

  • Minnesota wide receiver Jamel Harbison (16) celebrates with teammates and fans after Minnesota beat Nebraska 34-23 in an NCAA college football game in Minneapolis Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

    Minnesota wide receiver Jamel Harbison (16) celebrates with teammates and fans after Minnesota beat Nebraska 34-23 in an NCAA college football game in Minneapolis Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)  (The Associated Press)

  • Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson (9) drops back for a pass during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Minneapolis, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. Minnesota won 34-23. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

    Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson (9) drops back for a pass during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska in Minneapolis, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. Minnesota won 34-23. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)  (The Associated Press)

Indiana's second-half success comes down to two rules.

Convert third downs on offense and the Hoosiers score. Stop opponents on third down and they won't score.

So the Hoosiers (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten) are scrambling to shore up both areas as they begin their next quest: To become bowl eligible for the first time since 2007. It starts Saturday against Minnesota (6-2, 2-2).

Perhaps no other team in the Football Bowl Subdivision has such a stark contrast. Indiana is on pace to break the school's single-season scoring record at 42.2 points per game.

But the Hoosiers also are allowing 37.1 points and 221 yards rushing per game, both league highs and numbers that don't bode well against Minnesota's strong ground game.