Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
What a difference a week can make. After getting torched for 41 points against Navy the Hoosier defense came out on a mission and did not allow an offensive touchdown. The Hoosiers faced the Bowling Green Falcons with their season in the balance in Week 3 and proved they can overcome a poor performance in Week 2.
Opponent: Bowling Green Falcons
Location: Saturday September 14th /12pm/ Memorial Stadium/ (Bloomington, Indiana)
Why They Played: The Hoosiers and Falcons meet for the first time on the gridiron as part of a home-and-home series. Indiana always has had a good relationship with the MAC and plays at least one school from the conference every year.
What The Game Meant:
This was a must win game for the Hoosiers. Not a should win or a could win, but a real must win game. After falling to Navy, the Hoosier’s bowl hopes rested on today’s game against the Falcons. Kevin Wilson deemed it a big enough game to break out the Chrome helmets a week early.
Top Offensive Performers:
Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana – Sudfeld finally got his first well-deserved start under center and lead the Hoosiers offense with 335 yards and two touchdowns through the air. The sophomore also added a score on the ground.
Stephen Houston and Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana- The Hoosiers got a good look at how dynamic this offense could be with the running attack getting back to full steam. Both backs went over 100 yards on the ground as they combined for 284 yards. Houston finally broke through with a good performance breaking off several long runs including a long of 60 yards.
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana- The junior receiver showed why he is on the Bilitnikoff Award Watch List as he set a new career high in receiving yards with 137. Latimer, who had been held in check over the first two games hauled in six passes and a touchdown.
Shaun Joplin, WR, Bowling Green- The Falcons could not muster much on offense today, but the senior receiver did all he could grabbing seven passes for 104 yards.
Top Defensive Performers
Tim Bennett, CB, Indiana-The junior defensive back put together another solid game as he recorded seven tackles and three pass break-ups. The Hoosiers have been lacking in the secondary in the past few years, but Bennett looks to have put a stop to that as he was all over the field for the Hoosiers.
Nick Mangeri, DE, Indiana- The Indiana defensive line applied pressure to Matt Johnson all day and Mangeri led the way. The sophomore picked up a sack and a diving interception in addition to four tackles.
Paul Senn, LB, Bowling Green- Senn’s biggest impact in this game came on special teams as he blocked a punt and took it 56 yards for the Falcons only touchdown and recovered a fumble on another kick return, on top of that Senn had three TFL’s.
Special Team Performance:
Special teams continue to be a difficulty for the Hoosiers, as they had a punt blocked and lost another fumble on a kick-off return. The blocked punt is inexcusable as nobody was assigned to block Paul Senn, allowing him to literally take the ball off Erich Toth’s foot and into the end zone. Equally as concerning is the kick return team. The Hoosiers, once again, could not get anything going for them in the return game as sophomore Damon Graham handled the return duties. Graham has only averaged 24 yards per return and fumbled away another. The upside for the Hoosiers is that Mitch Ewald connected on all six of his extra points, but did not attempt a field goal. Indiana also attempted an ill-advised onside kick to start the second half, granted the defense stopped the Falcons, it was an unnecessary risk given the time and the score of the game.
335 and 266
The Hoosiers offense showed a lot of balance in this win as they passed for 335 yards and ran for 266. One of the keys to the game in our “Three & Out” piece was for the Hoosiers to get back to having a balanced offense.
The game turned when Bowling Green was stuffed at the IU 22 yard line on fourth down. The Falcons were leading 10-7 and were in field goal range when the decided to go for it. IU shut the play down and never looked back as they took the lead on the next series.
I Knew it was over when…
Cody Latimer hauled in a 33-yard touchdown strike from Nate Sudfeld that extended the Hoosier lead to 28-10. The way that the defense was playing there was no way Bowling Green was going to make up 18 points on the Hoosiers.
Players of the Game
Indiana– Nate Sudfeld, Quarterback- Nate Sudfeld finally got to start a game. He rewarded the coaching staff with a terrific performance. Sudfeld threw for two more touchdowns and ran one in as well. More importantly he took care of the ball.
Bowling Green- Shaun Joplin, Wide Receiver- Joplin had a very solid day, but couldn’t help the Falcons reach the end zone. Indiana did a nice job limiting the yards after the catch.
What I took away from the game
The Hoosiers were in a must-win situation and they came through swimmingly. After an ugly first quarter, where the offense moved the ball well, but couldn’t finish, and the punt team gave up the only touchdown for the Falcons, the Hoosiers played a fairly complete game. The defense showed that they can indeed stop an offense that was fairly solid and the offense hummed under Sudfeld. Speaking of the offense, it is quite clear now that Kevin Wilson is going to use a two-quarter back system as we saw him insert Tre Roberson in the game in goal line situations. Sometimes it backfired and other times it worked. The offense got backed to a balanced game plan as they ran the ball well to take pressure off the passing game. Both Stephen Houston and Tevin Coleman had big games on the ground.
The most concerning part of the game was the coaching. Wilson gambled on two early fourth and goals and failed to come away with points. While it did not end up hurting the Hoosiers, there were too many points left on the field. When it comes time to play better teams some times the Hoosiers will need to take the 3. Also, Wilson opened the second half with an onside kick. While, I love the aggressiveness of the call, it was neither the time nor the game to start breaking out trick plays. Overall, it was an encouraging game for the Hoosiers and sets up a big statement game next week against Missouri.