Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
After mulling over the Hoosiers’ season opening 28-10 win for three days, I have come up with the first edition of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 2014. While to good clearly outweighed the other two categories there was plenty to pick apart.
The Good- Two things really stood out for the Hoosiers, their defense and the run game. Tevin Coleman and the stable of running backs the Hoosiers have combined for 455 yards on 69 attempts. This is something that IU has not had the ability to do in decades. While Coleman headlined the group with a career high 247 yards, the Hoosiers got big plays out of D’Angelo Roberts, Myles Graham, and true freshman Devine Redding. If the Hoosiers can rush for 200+ yards a game they will be set up in a great spot in the Big Ten. The run game can be explosive as well as shorten the game against teams like Michigan State and Ohio State. This should give the defense the rest it will need to be effective. Speaking of the defense, the Hoosiers were outstanding on Saturday holding the Sycamores to just 170 total yards and a mere 30 on the ground. Outside of the first drive, the IU defense looked more posed and less panicked. In 2013 it seemed like there were a million pieces moving around and the defense never was ready when the offense snapped the ball. It was different in game one of 2014. The defense was set, adjusting when they needed to, but did so under control and in a less chaotic fashion. Granted it was against an FCS foe it was still a very good sign for the Hoosier faithful. IU’s defense will get tested in their next game when they face one of the MAC’s best offenses in Bowling Green.
The Bad- There was not too much bad in this game, but the Hoosiers have to start taking care of the ball and not give the opponents a short field. All 10 points that Indiana State scored were the result of Indiana turnovers. The first, a muffed punt by true freshman J-Shun Harris, and the second, a poor throw from Nate Sudfeld that would have been taken in for a pick six if not for the hustle of wide receiver Simmie Cobbs. The Hoosiers could be in store for a big year if they can take care of the ball better than they did in week one.
The Ugly- The Indiana passing game was not what it was in 2013, and it was not expected to be as great due to the departures of Cody Latimer, Kofi Hughes, Ted Bolser, and Duwyce Wilson. However, Nate Sudfeld’s ability at quarterback was supposed to be the equalizer when bringing along a talented, but inexperienced group of receivers. The play calling was definitely toned down a bit and Indiana State dropped eight defenders into coverage, but Nate Sudfeld just looked gun shy. Multiple times the offensive line gave him plenty of time to find a receiver and he either double clutched and threw a poor pass or took off running. I think Hoosier Nation held their collective breath each time Sudfeld scrambled out of the pocket. Going back to 2013, Nate Sudfeld’s last four games have been unimpressive. Maybe it is a coincidence that three of those four games were played in wet weather. In order for the Hoosiers to be successful they need the passing game to improve. Relying on Tevin Coleman and the run game in conference play may make them too one dimensional to be a successful offense.