The Indiana Hoosiers suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday after falling to Navy, 41-35. It was an embarrassing defensive performance by IU (1-1) and one that will not be soon forgotten.
The Hoosiers opened up the game slow, and once they figured out how to score again, were already out of the fight. Hopefully this game will put the quarterback debate to bed as it became painfully clear that Nate Sudfeld should be the starter going forward.
Coach Kevin Wilson said early in his tenure that he wants to complete about 70-percent of his passes, and it’s clear that it won’t happen with Tre Roberson under center.
Any time a head coach says him and his staff need to coach and prepare better, its a bad week.
Here’s what we took away from this game.
- Nate Sudfeld. He is clearly this team’s starter. He already has eight passing touchdowns this season and is completing nearly 73-percent of his passes. Sure, he isn’t as mobile as Roberson, but as long as the protection is decent he will be successful under center. Despite not being a natural runner, Sudfeld did manage six scrambles for 35 yards. He does seem to be good for one turnover a game, and its usually on a bad read. Still, he has been incredibly accurate and should at least start from here on out.
- Kofi Hughes. Hughes was all over the field. The wideout had six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. When he shows effort, he is an outstanding receiver. He did have a couple drops, including one in the endzone, but they weren’t drive killers. Its hard to forgive easy drops, but he did makeup for them. Hughes needs to focus on the catch, and not what comes after.
- Ted Bolser. I have said for years now that he is an NFL caliber tight end. He’s a matchup nightmare and an excellent receiver. Saturday, he had five receptions for 56 yards and a pair of touchdowns. On one of his touchdowns, he used his 6-6 height to snatch the ball above the DB. He already has four TDs this season. IU would be wise to keep feeding him the ball.
- The Defense. There isn’t enough space to talk about how bad the defense was on Saturday, and this is the internet. The Hoosier surrendered 444 yards rushing to Navy on 70 (!!) attempts, nearly twice as many as last year. Navy failed to score just twice on Saturday, once on a missed field goal and then to end the game. The worst part is that IU was preparing to play this game since March and even faced Navy last season. The Hoosiers have shown very little improvement on defense and it might be time for some big changes.
- No run game. While Navy was doing whatever it wanted on the ground, IU struggled to run the ball. This is inexcusable as the Navy defensive line gives up 30-pounds to IU’s offensive line. IU only rushed for 118 yards, but were managing 4.5 yards per carry. While IU had to pass to save time most of the game, the Hoosiers still showed an inability to get yards when it mattered most, especially against an undersized opponent.
- Coaching. The defense was woefully unprepared to play this game. The gameplan was ineffective and no adjustments were made. If you’re getting beat at the point of attack, you need to crowd the box and move defenders closer to the line. IU played its safeties like Navy was going to pass deep on every play. Wilson said his staff had a bad day, and he was right. Right now, IU essentially has three people in charge of coaching the defense, and co-defensive coordinators. It might be time to shake up the staff and find one man to do the job.
- Fred Glass. Why schedule Navy? Why challenge a team that doesn’t have the personnel to deal with Navy’s triple option? IU’s achilles heel has been run defense for years now, so you sign up to play one of the most complicated rushing teams in the country? Why? There is no reason for this game, except to add to the loss column, just like last year. IU has enough challenging opponents just by being in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers don’t need to go out and find a tough game.
This was a disheartening loss, but not that surprising. While we did say that IU would win, this was also a likely outcome.
Up next for IU will be Bowling Green (2-0). We’ll have more on that game up later this week.
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