Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
Welcome back to our Throw Back Thursday series as we take a look at Week 3 (Game 2) of the 2014 season. A match-up that featured the defending MAC champion Bowling Green Falcons against the Hoosiers. This was one of the strangest games I have ever watched. The Hoosiers actually played well, but ultimately fell 45-42 in the last seconds. The whole game changed when All-American running back Tevin Coleman fumbled in the red zone as the Hoosiers were looking to go ahead two scores and put the game out of reach, instead the Falcons rallied and shocked the Hoosiers. The biggest issue IU had in this game was that they could not put two halves together. The defense played pretty well in the first half, but the offense only managed 14 points and bumbled away golden opportunities to build a lead. In the second half the offense took off behind Coleman, but the defense ran out of gas, as Falcon Fast was busy running 113 total plays on offense.
However, if Indiana did not falter in northwestern Ohio, I doubt they would have scored the upset the next week at Missouri. But this game branded the season as damaged goods either way and would manifest itself in the Big Ten opener against Maryland when Memorial Stadium was just over half capacity coming off a big time win.
Opponent: Bowling Green Falcons
Location: Saturday September 13th /12:01pm/ Doyt Perry Stadium/ (Bowling Green, OH)
Why They Played: The Hoosiers traveled to Bowling Green for the back end of a home-and-home series.
What The Game Meant:
This game was a great opportunity for the Hoosiers to open the year 2-0 and build some momentum heading into a tough road game at Missouri next week. If the Hoosiers want to reach the post season this game was almost a must win.
Top Offensive Performers:
Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana- After a slow start rushing for only 30 yards, Coleman almost single handedly willed the Hoosiers to victory with a huge second half finishing with 189 yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns.
Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana- Nate Sudfeld looked more like himself today throwing for 344 yards and a score. He completed 75 percent of his passes and picked his spots to run while adding two scores on the ground. It seemed like the week off really helped establish a rhythm with his receivers.
James Knapke, QB, Bowling Green- Knapke may have had a chip on his shoulder as the Indiana native threw the ball an astronomical 74 times for 395 yards and three scores. Making his second colligate start, Knapke, looked poised and ready to lead this Falcon team for the rest of the season.
Top Defensive Performers
Nick Mangieri, BAN, Indiana- Mangieri flew around the field all day recording five tackles, a sack, and an interception to go along with a pass break up.
Ryland Ward, DB, Bowling Green- Ward came up with what turned out to be the play of the game when he punched the ball of out Tevin Coleman’s hands as the Hoosiers were driving to go up by two scores. He also accounted for six total tackles.
Special Team Performance:
The Hoosiers having a kicking dilemma, a problem that reared its ugly head in a gut wrenching three-point loss. First year kicker Aaron Del Grosso missed a short field goal to move to 0 for 2 on the young season. If the Hoosiers do not fix the field goal kicking situation soon, it may be a real issue that costs the team more games down the road. Equally as concerning is the punt game which saw Erich Toth average 25.7 yards on three punts. The Hoosier defense needs the punting game to be solid when the offense falters so that it is not stuck on a short field. It is mind blowing that at a soccer powerhouse like Indiana that the coaching staff cannot find one person that can kick a football well. There was one bright spot on special teams and that was Dominique Booth, who alertly caught an on-sides kick attempt. He nearly broke it for a touchdown, but more importantly he gave IU the ball in great position and the Hoosiers cashed that in for seven points. It was a really great play from a true freshman.
13 and 11 for 143
The Bowling Green Falcons ran 113 plays on Saturday. ONE HUNDRED THIRTEEN! The NCAA record for most plays in a game is 115 and that was done three times, the last time coming in 2013 in a game featuring BYU and Houston. Falcon Fast was on spot today. It really showed in the second half as the Hoosier defense looked worn down. What may have hurt the Hoosiers even more was their complete loss of discipline as they racked up 11 total fouls for a mind-boggling 143 yards.
The Hoosiers were driving to go up by two scores, which would have all but clinched the game for IU when Tevin Coleman fumbled the ball. The Falcons took the ensuing drive for a touchdown to go ahead 39-35.
I Knew it Was Over When…
This game was over when Roger Lewis beat Tim Bennett on a two-yard touchdown pass from James Knapke. This put the Falcons up 45-42 with nine seconds left in the game.
Players of the Game
Indiana– Tevin Coleman, RB- Once again the Hoosier running back had a terrific game. He rushed for 189 yards and three scores. With him in the game the Hoosiers always have a shot of breaking off a big run.
Bowling Green- Roger Lewis, WR- The freshman was a stud on Saturday as he reeled in 16 catches for 149 yards and a score. He was a thorn in the side of the Hoosiers all day.
What I took away from the game
This was about as big of a gut punch of a loss in recent memory. The Hoosiers absolutely needed this one to become bowl eligible. Now, no one is eliminated from bowl contention after just two games, but the Hoosiers are behind the eight ball heading into Missouri. They will need to win a game they are not supposed to. I thought the Hoosier defense was great in the first half. They flew around, created pressure and a turnover. The offense just could not turn that into points. It was a tale of two halves for IU as the offense picked it up in the second half, led by Coleman’s three scores, but the defense just could not get off the field, and when they did the IU offense sputtered. Good news for Hoosier fans is that it looks like quarterback Nate Sudfeld has gotten into rhythm with his receivers, as he looked sharp completing 75 percent of his passes for 347 yards. Shane Wynn finally came to life with 139 yards receiving.
In all this was a brutal day to be a Hoosier fan. A frustrating game on the road against a MAC opponent ends up in yet another mind-boggling loss. Indiana has plenty to figure out this week before they take on the Tigers of Missouri. This team needs to find itself fast or else 2014 will be lost before the end of September.