Indiana is just two wins away from the program's first trip to a bowl game since 2007 and just its second since 1993. But the health of the Hoosiers' two best players will be a huge factor in if and when they can reach those six requisite wins.
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld and running back Jordan Howard both left Saturday's 34-27 loss to Ohio State with injuries and did not return to the game.
Monday, head coach Kevin Wilson didn't put any timelines on Sudfeld and Howard, sticking to saying that the injuries weren't major and that if both players are healthy, they'll play.
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"I don't know, everybody's different to me," Wilson said. "(Minnesota Vikings running back) Adrian Peterson came off a six-month ACL in four and a half. It's a timeline. Some guys heal slower. If you say, 'Hey, you're out a week,' and it takes two, a kid gets psychotic and thinks it's worse. The more you sleep and get your treatment and better you eat and better you live and say some prayers out there, it kind of goes the way it's supposed to go.
"(Howard)'s a little gimped up, both of them on ankles. They play positions, but there's no position you play that you don't have to move. We're not going to put a kid out there that can't play. I just felt the other day like Nate tried to come back in the game. It was a little tender going into the game. He just looked like he couldn't move. I don't know if it was smart for him.
"I don't think any of those injuries are major, though. So is it by Saturday? A week? Fourteen (days)? Time will tell. We're not going to push it."
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While the Hoosiers' success is greatly impacted by the presence or absence of Sudfeld and Howard — Sudfeld was one of the Big Ten's leading passers heading into last week, Howard was the nation's leading rusher — Indiana got big performances from the backups to those two players against Ohio State. Backup running back Devine Redding had two touchdown runs, and backup quarterback Zander Diamont had a 79-yard touchdown run.
Indiana plays at Penn State on Saturday.