Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
The Indiana Hoosiers reverted back to their inconsistent ways on Saturday. It was not a pretty sight as the Maryland Terrapins rolled to a 37-15 victory in their Big Ten opener. So let’s dig in and get to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from Saturday’s game.
The Good- Griffin Oakes and the weather. Indiana looks as if it has solved their issue with field goal kicking. Griffin Oakes, redshirt freshman, had a banner day for the Hoosiers as he set the school record for the longest field goal with a 58-yarder right before halftime. Overall he went three of four on his field goals and hit all of his kickoffs for touchbacks. The weather in Bloomington was absolutely perfect for a football Saturday in September with 75-degree temperatures and a light breeze. Even if the game was not good at least people could enjoy being outside.
The Bad- Where to start. Let’s start with the offense. The Hoosiers totaled 302 yards and just 15 points on Saturday, headlined by Nate Sudfeld going 14 for 37 for 126 yards and no touchdowns. The line did not give him protection, his receivers dropped ball after ball, and the running backs just could not get going. Sudfeld did not help himself out missing some open receivers and throwing an in accurate ball most of the day. The Hoosiers lone explosive play on offense was called back because of a holding penalty on Dan Feeney.
The defense was not awful and they did keep the Hoosiers in the game for the most part, but they need to start getting off the field on what coach Kevin Wilson calls “Money Downs”, meaning third and long situations. It also would not hurt to force a turnover once in a while. The Hoosiers have just three all year.
The Ugly- Team energy, Fred Glass’s trouble with math, play calling, and student fans. This was a game that was hyped up so much by the athletic department after the Hoosiers’ upset win at Missouri. They had pep rallies on campus, the PR department plastered Facebook and Twitter with ads all week and yet when Saturday roles along Memorial Stadium is half full at kickoff and the team comes out flat. I am not blaming the fans for the players’ lack of energy early, but it has to gnaw at them when they run of the tunnel and see thousands of empty seats. Still, an 18-22 year old who has only six chances this season to run out and play in front of the home crowd needs to be fired up and ready to go. It is even worse when the team comes out from halftime down only 11 points to a stadium that is maybe a quarter full. I get it. I was a student at IU. I have been through let down after let down. The losses to Southern Illinois, Ball State, Central Michigan, but come on people, it’s half time and your team is down by 11 points and is getting the ball to start the third quarter. What are you doing that is so important? To continue on the non-game playing ugliness of the game, the announced attendance Saturday was 44,313. Really? 44,313. Come on Fred and whoever is in charge of the tally! There were plenty of empty sections, not seats, sections in Memorial Stadium as the Hoosiers kicked off. It may be time that Glass and the higher ups start discussing place tarps on the upper sections of the North End Zone seats. It does the school and the team no good having seven sections of ugly grey on TV. Heck, you can even sell advertising on the tarps. By the way giving fans pass outs at half time is an even better way to ensure that they head back to their tailgates to spend the rest of their afternoon grilling.
Finally, I want to talk about play calling. The offense has definitely shifted from pass oriented to run oriented, but something has to change. Running the option with Nate Sudfeld is asking for trouble. Yes, Tevin Coleman can run outside and gain an edge, but is it worth the risk of having your quarterback blown up. The most curious call of the afternoon came on a fake extra point when IU cut the lead to 34-15. A fake extra point when you have one of the best running back in the country. Yes, the offense was bad, but that play call is something you only see when a 12-year old has given up on his game of NCAA football on Xbox. Offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and head coach Kevin Wilson have to add some flair to this offense, which has become quite ordinary. Yes, the Hoosiers are missing the services of Ted Bolser, Kofi Hughes, and Cody Latimer, but it is not like this team is void of talent. It is time for the coaching staff to show way they are paid the big bucks. Either fix it this season or start recruiting the players you need to right the ship next year.