Throwback Tuesday: Week 2: UMass

Written By Sammy Jacobs (@SammyJ108)

 Tre Roberson leading the first half Hoosier charge in Gillette Stadium.

Tre Roberson leading the first half Hoosier charge in Gillette Stadium.

Happy Throwback Tuesday everyone...Ok, so its Wednesday but Way Back Wednesday just doesn't have the same flow.  Well anywhere, today, in our second edition of our look back at 2012, we are setting our sights on Week Two.  That was when the Hoosiers traveled to Foxboro, Massachusetts to hand out a 45-6 beat down to the Minutemen of Massachusetts.

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Happy Throwback Tuesday everyone!  Today, in our second edition of our look back at 2012, we are setting our sights on Week Two when the Hoosiers traveled to Foxboro, Massachusetts to hand out a 45-6 beat down to the Minutemen of Massachusetts.

Opponent:  

University of Massachusetts Minutemen.  This was the first ever meeting between the Hoosiers and the Minutemen.   2012 was the inaugural FBS season for UMass after finishing 2011 5-6 (3-5) while competing in the Colonial Athletic Association of the FCS.

Date, Time & Location:

September 8th, 2012 | 3:30 PM | Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Massachusetts)

Why They Played:

The Hoosiers made there annual “why are they playing this game on the road?” trip to play a Minutemen squad that was over its head.  There is reasoning behind Indiana’s athletic department scheduling this matchup.  Sadly the most likely reason is that playing a team like the Minutemen on the road probably saves the Hoosiers more money as opposed to having them come to Bloomington, while still essentially guaranteeing a victory.  As a football program however, the game made little to no sense.  The game was only available to viewers via ESPN 3, ESPN’s online network, making it less than convenient for fans.  Even more so with a trip to the northeast, which should help spread the “Indiana Brand”, the lack of availability on TV surely does the exact opposite.  This game is purely economics for the Hoosier Athletic Department. 

What The Game Meant:

While the Hoosiers were victorious in their season opener the week before, Kevin Wilson’s squad was still looking for their first FBS win of his tenure.  This game would also provide the team with their first experience of success on the road, albeit against lower level competition, since beating Purdue at Ross-Ade back in 2010.

Top Offensive Performers:

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Tre Roberson, QB, Indiana- Despite being knocked out for the season with a broken leg in the second quarter, Roberson still led the Hoosiers in rushing on the day with 114 yards on just 5 carries.  Of those five runs two of them concluded in the end zone for touchdowns.  Roberson was having a solid day throwing the ball as well, going 6 of 13 for 76 yards and another touchdown before being knocked out for the year.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana- The true freshman had his best performance of the season in Week Two as he rushed for 86 yards on 14 carries, good for 6.1 yards per carry.  After Roberson went down in the second quarter the running backs picked up the slack on the ground combined ending the day with 219 yards.

Mike Wegzyn, QB, UMass- For an offense coming off a game in which they were only able to muster three first downs and 59 total yards against Connecticut, you could say this was a major improvement.  Wegzyn showed a lot of improvement against the Hoosiers, in what would be considered a poor team performance by UMass. The freshman signal caller completed 69% of his passes for 151 yards while picking up another 32 yards on the ground.  He was also responsible for the Minutemen’s only touchdown on the day when he scampered for a 16 yard score on the ground.  While he did not add any points through the air, he also didn’t throw any interceptions.  The fact that this was the top offensive performance for UMass pretty much tells you all you need to know about this one.

Top Defensive Performers:

Kenny Mullen, CB, Indiana- The Hoosier corner terrorized the UMass wideouts all day.  He recorded 8 total tackles including two for loss.  Mullen made himself known all over the field in defending both the running and passing games.

Larry Black, Jr. DT, Indiana- The senior leader had another very solid day clogging the middle of the trenches.  While Black had just 3 tackles, two of them went for a loss, and was a big reason why the Minutemen rushed for just 78 yards. 

Darren Thellen, S, UMass- Thellen was stout performer for the Minutemen all day on the defensive side of the ball.  The junior safety made ten stops for UMass and forced the lone turnover of the game when he intercepted a Roberson pass in the first half.

Special Teams Performance:

After the horrendous special teams performance against Indiana State the Hoosiers bounced back nicely in Week Two.  Kicker Mitch Ewald was a perfect 6 for 6 on PATs and converted his lone field goal attempt.  The improvement wasn’t just limited to the kicker either.  Punter Mitchell Voss showed progress in the punting game, averaging 38.5 yards on his 4 attempts, with half of them being downed inside of the 20-yard line. 

In the return game speedster Nick Stoner made an impact averaging 15.5 yards per return on his two opportunities.  The biggest area of concern in regards to special teams exiting the second week of the season was the kickoff return game.  To this point the Hoosiers returned just one kick-off attempt for 16 yards.  While at this point it had yet to affect their win-loss record, it was something to keep an eye on as the season moved along.

Key Stat:

333-78. 

That is the differential in rushing yards between the Hoosiers and Minutemen.  Indiana set the tone early with the two long Roberson touchdown runs, however the most impressive part aspect of the disparity was not just those few big plays.  The Indiana ended up running the ball an un-Hoosier-like 54 times for an average of 6.2 yards per carry.  The success of the running attack allowed the Hoosiers to put points up on the board while also controlling momentum of the game as well as the clock.

Turning Point:

Massachusetts had just scored a touchdown on a well-executed drive pulling them within a single point at 7-6.  Looking to tie the game at 7, Minutemen kicker, Blake Lucas, missed the extra point.  UMass never looked the same and the Hoosiers never looked back scoring the final 39 points of the contest.  All of the positive feelings from UMass’s first scoring drive of 2012 were dashed when the PAT sailed wide.

The Game was Over When:

Tre Roberson made it a 14-6 game, on a 39-yard touchdown run just a little over a minute after the Minutemen made it 7-6.  UMass looked out classed the entire game and really had no chance of pulling off the upset.

Players of the Game

Indiana- Tre Roberson Quarterback

Despite playing less than half the game due to a season ending knee injury, quarterback Tre Roberson left his mark on this one.  The dual-threat signal caller accounted for 190 total yard, with 114 of them coming on the ground, and 3 touchdowns.  Hopefully these stats were a sneak peak at what this talented sophomore can bring to the offense in the future and not a case of what could have been.

Massachusetts- Mike Wegzyn Quarterback

There were not many bright spots for the Minutemen in this one, but they found their starting quarterback for the 2013 season.  Wegzyn had a solid performance completing nearly seventy percent of his passes on the day in addition to running for a touchdown.  While it might not seem like much, his performance truly was the brightest spot for the Minutemen all day.

Although the victory came against a lesser opponent in Massachusetts, it was never the less an important one.  This was the first FBS level wins during Kevin Wilson’s tenure at Indiana and can be seen as a step in the right direction.  While it was nice to win on the road by 39 points the Hoosiers lost something bigger than a game in Foxborough, their starting quarterback, Tre Roberson.  In hindsight, this opened the door for Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld to have a chance to show off their abilities leading the Hoosier offense.  This season Roberson is back and will battle both Coffman and Sudfeld in what should be an exciting quarterback competition.

Make sure to check back on Thursday for when we break down the 2012 Hoosiers’ Week Three game against the Ball State Cardinals.