The Indiana Hoosiers responded to last weeks disappointing loss by issuing a beating to Bowling Green. It look like this would be a close game on paper, but the Hoosiers turned in a magnificent performance on defense to win 42-10.
IU (2-1) had a very slow start on the day, and could have easily jumped out to a 21-7 lead after turning the ball over twice at the goal line. The Hoosiers attempted to go for on fourth and goal from the one yard line twice, and failed each time.
IU still rotated quarterbacks between Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson, although Roberson never attempted a pass (but did manage a rushing touchdown). Its clear that Sudfeld should be the starting QB, until the offensive line can’t protect him.
Here’s our takeaways from the game:
- The Running Backs. Tevin Coleman and Stephen Houston were beasts all day. Coleman averaged 6.8 yards per carry and found the endzone twice. All Houston did was average 11.9 yards per carry. Even when the offensive line was struggling, the backs were able to find running room or make their own.
- The Defense. This was possibly the best defensive performance IU has had under Kevin Wilson. The defense kept the team in the game as the offense sputtered in the opening quarter. While it helps that BGSU missed a pair of field goals, the reality is that the Hoosiers held them to three points (only nine if those are makes). The Falcons only touchdown was off a punt block returned for a touchdown. IU was exceptional on third down allowing BGSU to convert just 8-of-20 attempts (they were 2-for-6 on fourth down as well). Couple that with two takeaways and it was a banner day for the D.
- Tim Bennett. The junior cornerback is slowly becoming an impressive playmaker. He had seven tackles and three pass breakups. His ability to find a way to smackdown the ball is incredible and his coverage skills have improved significantly over last year. Even when going against bigger receivers, he is still able to make big plays.
- Play Calling. Specifically the play calling at the goal line. Yes, it got better as the game progressed, but the fact that it was so bad early is bad enough. Against a better team, the turnovers inside the five are devastating. The coaching staff had a rough game last week, and eventually looked better on Saturday. Thankfully, the players were ready to play, they just needed to be in a position to win,.
- The Offensive Line. Once again, they got better later in the game, but early on it was embarrassing. A Big Ten offensive line getting blown up by a MAC team. Their play led to the goal line failures in the first quarter. Yes, there are injuries in this unit but against an inferior opponent they should be able to blow defenders off the line. Last week the offensive line was beat up by a significantly smaller line against Navy, and this week was nearly as bad. If Sudfeld is going to be the starter, the line has to keep him clean.
- Ted Bolser. He should never make this list. I have said the nicest things about the monster tight end, but he was invisible on Saturday. He had one catch for 12 yards early in the game, and then disappeared. There was no word mentioning him being injured, so it might be that there were few plays called his way. Wilson favors a fast paced offense, that doesn’t always include passing to tight ends. But Bolser is an exceptional player and has very reliable hands. If IU’s offense gets bogged down, he’s a good target to look to.
- Honorary Defensive Spot. The defense so rarely ends up on the Good list that I’m not sure what to do. Hopefully they continue to play well (doubtful) but for now we’ll keep their spot on this list warm.
Other game notes:
- Wideout Cody Latimer had a big day with six receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown. Surprisingly, it was his first TD of the season.
- Defensive ends Nick Mangieri might have had the best play of the game. He made an acrobatic interception after the ball was knocked into the air during a tackle. It was a rare play and extremely lucky.
- What was the punt protection on the blocked punt? Two BGSU players attacked the punter, unblocked, and took the ball from him. It was an odd formation that should never, ever be used again.
- IU actually showed off its ability to stop the run. BGSU only managed 136 yards rushing and were getting just 3.8 per carry. 136 yards may seem like a lot, until you realize that IU gave 444 yards rushing to Navy a week ago.
Next up, the Hoosiers will host Missouri (2-0). It will be no easy task for the Hoosiers to take down this SEC opponent. Much like IU, this is a team that finished in the bottom half of its conference.
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