Written by: TJ Inman
Brandon Doughty was exceptional all afternoon, throwing for 484 yards and three touchdowns. However, it was back-to-back throws in the second half that ended up determining the game. Doughty was picked off by IU's true freshman safety Jonathan Crawford twice during a 21-0 run by the Indiana Hoosiers (3-0) that keyed a come from behind 38-35 victory at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. Western Kentucky's loss ended a seven game winning streak for the Hilltoppers and dropped them to 2-1.
Indiana started the game with a bang as Mitchell Paige returned a punt 90 yards for the first score of the game. However, Western Kentucky's high-powered offense got into gear and the Hilltoppers scored back-to-back touchdowns, both on D'Andre Ferby runs. The Hoosiers stopped the Hilltoppers on 4th and goal from the one yard line and then marched 99 yards for the tying score. Western Kentucky answered in two plays as tight end Tyler Higbee put WKU ahead 21-14 on a 15-yard pass from Brandon Doughty. Indiana's Griffin Oakes connected on a short field goal to pull the Hoosiers within four but Western Kentucky took advantage of the young IU secondary for a 78-yard touchdown pass to Taywan Taylor right before halftime. The Hilltoppers star quarterback, now Western Kentucky's all-time leader in passing yards, threw for an astonishing 352 yards in the first half and he appeared well on his way to a record setting day.
IU began the second half with a much needed scoring drive as Mitchell Paige scored his second touchdown of the day, this time on a 36-yard strike from Nate Sudfeld. Western Kentucky moved the ball down the field and looked like they would be adding another touchdown to their four point lead. That's when Jonathan Crawford stepped up changed the game. Crawford intercepted a pass in the middle of the field at the three-yard line and the IU offense took advantage by marching 97 yards for the 31-28 lead. On the next play from scrimmage, Crawford undercut a pass by Doughty and came up with his second interception, this time at the Western Kentucky 22. Three plays later, Devine Redding ran it in to put the Hoosiers ahead 38-28. Doughty led a touchdown drive and connected with Jared Dangerfield with 5:56 remaining but the Hilltoppers would never get the ball back. IU's offense chewed up clock by running it down the field and took a knee inside of the ten-yard line as time expired.
Nate Sudfeld threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns while completing 20 of his 27 passes. Ricky Jones was once again IU's leading receiver as he caught five balls for 126 yards and a touchdown. It was a balanced attack for the Hoosiers though as Jordan Howard ran the ball 31 times for 203 yards and Devine Redding churned out 79 yards with a touchdown. The offense as a whole racked up 639 yards to the Hilltoppers 568.
IU, 3-0 for the first time under head coach Kevin Wilson, heads to Winston Salem, North Carolina to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons next Saturday at 12:30.