Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
I think I am finally thawed out from the game yesterday. Yes, the outcome was not what the Hoosier faithful want, but that atmosphere in the snow was awesome. There was some good, plenty of bad, and definitely some ugly, so let’s dive right in to it.
The Good- The defense was actually better than I ever expected them to be against Ohio State. Yes, they gave up 42 points, but they forced three turnovers and kept the game with in reach early. Freshmen Marcus Oliver and Raphael Green stood out for the Hoosiers. Oliver led the team in tackles with seven and Green added four tackles two for a loss, a sack, and a forced fumble. The young talent is much better than the upper classman so there should be some hope for a serviceable defense in the future.
The Bad- If you look at the box score, there should be no way that Indiana lost this game by a score of 42-14. They ran 92 plays and held the ball for a season high 34 minutes and did not turn the ball over. So why is the offense filed under “The Bad”? It is because they were inefficient, missed open receivers, went 7 for 21 on third downs, 5 of 8 on fourth down, and averaged just 4.8 yards per play. Nate Sudfeld never got going early and missed several open men in the end zone over the course of the game. It could have been the weather or the wind, but the sophomore just does not look like he can handle the elements. Balls were thrown behind, low, and high of receivers that were open. Tre Roberson was the better of the two, but by the time he got into the game the Hoosiers were already in a huge hole. The Hoosiers came into the season with three quarter backs and go into the Bucket Game, without a starter.
The Ugly- For the second year in a row the Buckeyes blocked a Hoosier punt and nearly got a second block, Mitch Ewald doinked two makeable field goals off the uprights, and the kick return game doesn’t have any consistency. A team that is mediocre needs to be at least solid on special teams in order to gain some sort of an advantage against teams like Ohio State. Kevin Wilson rotates kick returners as if he is picking out of a hat each time. Stephen Houston, while he has had a couple solid returns, does not accelerate fast enough to be a good return man and Indiana’s best returner, Shane Wynn, is not on kick offs half of the time. The issue of not having your best players on the field at critical times is something that extends past the special teams units.