When: Noon Saturday
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: 1250 AM, 102.7 FM
FORT WAYNE — Kofi Hughes is one of three Indiana receivers ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten in receptions per game.
IU also has the top-ranked passing offense in the conference, averaging 303.1 yards. But the junior still sees room for improvement as the Hoosiers (2-5, 0-3 Big Ten) travel to play Illinois (2-5, 0-3) Saturday.
“The craziest thing about all this is that we still haven’t reached our full potential with this offense,” Hughes said during a phone interview Tuesday. “We’re just getting started.”
Hughes is second on the team with 374 receiving yards and is tied for second with two touchdown catches. He’s averaging 62.3 yards per game, which is eighth in the Big Ten, and his 4.33 receptions per game ranks eighth as well. He has 26 catches in six games, and he matched his season-high with seven catches for 73 yards at Navy on Saturday.
“For about three or four weeks, he’s been one of our better offensive players,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said during the Big Ten teleconference. “I’m proud of the way he has played.”
Hughes was suspended for the season opener for a violation of team rules. He’s been a factor since returning, including a 110-yard performance Sept. 29 at Northwestern.
Hughes credited the quarterbacks and the coaching staff for the success.
“Missing the first game wasn’t fun at all. I knew I had to get going to get some good stats this year,” he said. “In this offense, you don’t know who’s going to have the big game. It can be anybody. You just have to make plays when the ball comes your way. That’s what I’ve been doing, as well as everybody else on our team. Cody Latimer (4.28 catches per game) has been strong for us, making huge plays. Shane Wynn (5.4 receptions per game) as well.
“This offense is built for us.”
Hughes led IU with 35 catches for 536 yards last season. Wilson said he’s more consistent this season.
“He’s got a little bit more fight on a consistent basis. Playing without the ball, blocking, he’s making some big plays,” Wilson said. “I still think he can be better. Details, route running, leverage, we’ll keep pushing him to be a complete player.”
Hughes is focused on helping IU end its five-game losing streak. Four of the five losses have been decided by three points or less.
“We’re playing good football. We’re just not making that one play,” Hughes said. “We’re making a lot of plays, but we’re not making that one play. We’re going to start making that one play Saturday (against Illinois).”