Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
Welcome back to our TBT series! We get to review the final non-conference game for the Hoosiers in 2014, a 49-24 win over North Texas. This is what the Hoosiers offense was supposed to look like all year, hitting on big plays and outscoring opponents. It was as sharp as Nate Sudfeld had been all year and Shane Wynn led the way with two long touchdown catches.
Opponent: North Texas Mean Green
Location: Saturday October 4th /2:30pm/ Memorial Stadium/ (Bloomington, IN)
Why They Played: The Hoosiers closed out their series with the Mean Green that opened in 2011.
What The Game Meant:
Indiana finished their non-conference schedule 3-1 after the win on Saturday. The win means IU needs three conference wins to get to the magic number of six. It was a game IU had to have.
Top Offensive Performers:
Shane Wynn, WR, Indiana- Wynn finally had the big game that was expected of him coming into this season finding the end zone twice on long passes from Nate Sudfeld. He finished with five catches for 127 yards and the two scores.
D’Angelo Roberts, RB, Indiana- The other Indiana running back found pay dirt twice and had 102 yards on just 14 carries including a career long 47-yard touchdown. While Tevin Coleman gets the spot light Roberts has been a nice number two.
Carlos Harris, WR, North Texas- The junior had a big day for the Mean Green hauling in 11 catches for 120 yards and a score. He was the lone bright spot in a lackluster offensive performance.
Top Defensive Performers:
Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana- The dynamic freshman may be rewarded by the conference again for an outstanding game. Scales set the tone early with an interception that set up the first Hoosier score and finished the game with four total tackles.
Nate Hoff, NT, Indiana- Not far behind scales in performance, this redshirt freshman has been great in 2014 for IU. He finished with three total tackles and half a sack.
James Jones, CB, North Texas- It is hard to pick a player of the game for a team that was gashed for 49 points, but Jones racked up 10 tackles including one for a loss.
Special Teams Performance:
The kicking game for the Hoosiers performed very well given the windy conditions. Griffin Oakes had four touchbacks on seven kicks and executed a perfect onside kick that led to the Hoosiers second score. He was also perfect on all seven of his extra points. It would have been nice if Kevin Wilson had attempted a field goal when the game was already out of reach just to see how Oakes handled the wind. There are not too many opportunities to get that type of practice in a game setting. Erich Toth had a decent day punting averaging 42.5 yards per kick pinning two of them inside the 20-yard line. However, his net yardage was hurt by a touchback and a couple of returns. After showing some life in the kick return game last week against Maryland, Indiana struggled a bit as they fumbled once and only averaged 18.8 yards per return.
The Hoosiers averaged 8.1 yards per play Saturday. One could say that this is what the offense is supposed to do against a defense like North Texas, but it was nice to see the offense break out of its slump.
The tone was set early for the Hoosiers when freshman linebacker Tegray Scales picked off a pass on North Texas’ first drive. It gave the Hoosiers the ball at the Mean Green 31-yard line.
I Knew it Was Over When…
The Hoosiers opened the second half with touchdowns on their opening two drives crushing any hope that the Mean Green had after going into the third quarter down only 14 points.
Players of the Game
Indiana– Shane Wynn- The senior receiver finally made some explosive plays as he took two long passes for touchdowns. The Hoosiers need Wynn to be the playmaker in the passing game and on Saturday he was.
North Texas- Carlos Harris- Harris had a very solid game for the Mean Green scoring a touchdown and hauling in 11 balls.
What I took away from the game
The Hoosiers flexed their offensive muscle today as they demolished a bad North Texas squad. It was what IU should do to a team like this. It was great to see the passing game break out with a couple big plays, but the Hoosiers need to stay aggressive for 60 minutes. Indiana could have and probably should have laid 60 points on North Texas, but it seemed as if offensive coordinator Kevin Johns and head coach Kevin Wilson throttled down in the second quarter. The Hoosiers are not good enough to just take their foot off the gas. However it was good to see Wilson punch it in the end zone with Redding late in the game.
There are plenty of issues the Hoosiers need to clean up before taking on the Hawkeyes next week in Iowa City. First on that list has to be penalties. Indiana was flagged six times for 55 yards. They came into Saturday as the most penalized team in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers also became a little sloppy once the game was out of hand, but how a team plays when they are up big shows a lot about their discipline and focus.
A win is a win and the Hoosiers needed this one to continue their quest for a postseason berth. It will be interesting to see how they come back next week. Indiana has not had a winning streak since 2012. The Hoosiers finished the non-conference schedule 3-1 and that is what where the “experts” had them heading into the season.