IU (2-2) really shouldn’t have been facing a team like the Tigers in the first place. If this had been part of a SEC-Big Ten then the match-up would be understandable. But much like the Navy game, IU was unprepared and under performed.
IU struggled in all phases of play on Saturday. Its hard to determine whether or not Missouri is a good team when the Hoosiers played so poorly.
Here are our takeaways from the game:
- What happened to Nate Sudfeld? For the first time this season, Sudfeld really struggled on the field. He threw three interceptions, up from the just two he had through the first three games. He also completed just 53-percent of his passes, way down from his season average of 70-percent. Sudfeld wasn’t sacked all day, nor was he hit, but Missouri did dominate IU’s line forcing Sudfeld off his mark often. Even the more mobile Tre Roberson couldn’t get the offense going when he was brought in late in the game.
- The offensive line was a disaster. It was the first time all season that the Hoosiers didn’t have over 100 yards rushing. The backs couldn’t find room to run and it hurt the entire Hoosier offense. Tevin Coleman and Roberson were both able to rush for touchdowns. Most of the day IU was forced to pass since they were down, and that wasn’t much better. Neither quarterback was given much time to pass the ball. The offensive line has hurt the Hoosiers for years. They simply don’t have a line that is equipped to play in the Big Ten effectively. Yes, there are multiple injuries, but Indiana shouldn’t struggle this much. The Hoosiers have to use the bye week to get healthy and improve the the protection before conference play begins.
- Turnovers, offensive. IU (read: Sudfeld) had three interceptions. The first was a pick-six near the end of the first half. The second one was a deep pass that ended the half. The final was at the beginning of the fourth quarter and led to a missed field goal by Mizzou. This was a game where IU couldn’t afford to turn the ball over. Thankfully, the defense prevented Mizzou from scoring off these turnovers.
- Turnovers, defensive. IU forced three turnovers Saturday. Two of which were in the first quarter, and the third at the beginning of the second quarter. IU only managed seven points off the three turnovers. The Hoosiers have to figure out how to get in the end zone after a turnover. They left 14 points on the field, and would have been tied going into halftime.
- The defense can only do so much. Giving up 623 yards is a lot. At the same time, IU only allowed a 50-percent conversion rate on third down. IU had nine offensive drives of five plays or less that didn’t result in a score, and none of those drives lasted more than one-minute 30-seconds. While to fast paced offense puts a lot of pressure on opponents, it also doesn’t allow the Hoosiers defense to get any rest. If the Hoosiers don’t score, the defense is forced back on the field with little rest and no momentum.
- Cody Latimer is a stud. He had eight receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. The rest of the receiving corps is very talented as well. When all the primary options are covered, it makes you wonder how much they are all trying. Between Latimer, Ted Bolser, Shane Wynn, Kofi Hughes, and the running backs someone should be open every play. IU has too many weapons to not find an open man down field.
- Coaching and Scheduling. We have said before that IU needs to take a long hard look at who they schedule. They also need to look at the coaching staff at the end of the season. The defensive coordinators need to go. Its not just talent that’s the issue at IU, its coaching. Teams can scheme effectively even with poor talent on the roster (see: the previous week against Bowling Green). IU also has to stop scheduling opponents like Navy and Missouri. The Big Ten is a difficult enough conference that IU doesn’t have to go out of its way to find a challenge. Coach Kevin Wilson needs to stick with cupcake opponents in the non-conference, or else he won’t be coaching for much longer.
IU has the week off to lick its wounds and try to improve before they welcome Penn State to Bloomington. Indiana now has to find a way to go 4-4 in the Big Ten if it wants to be bowl eligible. That is not an easy task.
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