Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
This Throwback Thursday is painful. As my mother said to me the next day, “I feel like I had been in a car wreck”. While this game could have easily put a nail in the coffin of the 2015 season, and this was the kind of game that ended seasons in the past, the Hoosiers bounced back to reach six wins and play in the Pinstripe Bowl. However, if the Hoosiers want to take the next step in the evolution of the program they have to beat teams like Rutgers and Maryland regularly. IU will be looking for revenge when they head to Rutgers this season on November 5th.
Opponent: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Location: Saturday October 17th /3:37pm/ Memorial Stadium/ (Bloomington, IN)
Why They Played: The Hoosiers and Scarlet Knights will now play every year as part of the Big Ten East Division
What The Game Meant
This was the most important game of the Kevin Wilson Era. This was a very winnable game for the Hoosiers before heading into a daunting three game stretch. Indiana needed this game to keep fans interested. After their performance yesterday, IU has lost the eyes and dollars of much of Hoosier Nation.
Top Offensive Performers
Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana- In his first game back after an ankle injury the senior quarterback had a career day throwing for 464 yards and four touchdowns. He also added a score on the ground. The Indiana offense was much better with Sudfeld back behind center.
Mike Majette, RB, Indiana- The freshman running back was a breath of fresh air in the running game for the Hoosiers. He accounted for 113 total yards and showed a burst of speed that IU has been missing since Tevin Coleman and D’Angelo Roberts departed.
Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers- The one guy IU could not let beat them torched the Hoosiers for seven catches, 157 yards and three touchdowns before being knocked out of the game late in the third quarter.
Robert Martin, RB, Rutgers- Mr. Martin was a Hoosier killer as well on Saturday evening as he carved up the IU defense on the ground with 124 yards and three more touchdowns.
Top Defensive Performers
Marcus Oliver, LB, Indiana- Oliver once again led the IU defense in tackles with 14. He also had a tackle for loss and an interception.
Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers- Longa was all over the field for the Scarlet Knights recording a game-high 16 tackles, 1.5 TFL’s, and a forced fumble.
Special Team Performance
Indiana had done a terrific job on special teams all afternoon until an errant snap sailed over punter Erich Toth’s head. IU blocked two extra points, took explosive return man Janarion Grant out of the kicking game, and looked like they showed some life in the return game as Damon Graham averaged 25 yards per attempt.
Rutgers outscored Indiana 22-0 in the fourth quarter in route to a stunning comeback and a 55-52 victory.
With Indiana up 52-33, a “comfortable” 19-point lead, IU was forced to punt and that’s where the wheels fell off the bus. The snap soared over the leaping try (punters are taught to not jump for a high snap) of Erich Toth and was picked up by Kemoko Turay and run into the end zone for a touchdown which made the score 52-39.
I Knew it Was Over When…
I could say that I knew this game was over when the last second field goal sailed through the uprights, but that just wasn’t true. This game was over when Rutgers quarterback Chris Laviano hit Carlton Agudosi for 16 yards on a third and four to get Rutgers down to the IU 14-yard line. The Scarlet Knights were in field goal range and all they had to do was line it up and kick it.
Players of the Game
Nate Sudfeld Indiana- The senior was great for most of three quarters on Saturday accounting for five total touchdowns and throwing for 464 yards. His two late interceptions were critical mistakes and it did cost the Hoosiers the game, but he played well for about 45 minutes.
Leonte Carroo and Robert Martin, Rutgers- This two-headed monster accounted for six touchdowns and 281 yards. Indiana had to make Rutgers one-dimension, but clearly that did not happen. Everytime IU jumped out to a double-digit lead these two players brought Rutgers back.