Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
Write Welcome to the 2015 edition of our Throw Back Thursdays. During the next 12 weeks we will take a look back at every Hoosier game in 2014 with a short hindsight synopsis and our original game wrap up and reaction. So without further ado here is the first installment of our 2015 TBT series.
The Hoosiers started the 2014 with a 28-10 win over Indiana State, which raised more questions than answers. Yes, Tevin Coleman got his stellar year off to a quick start with 247 yards on the ground, but the passing game and especially quarterback Nate Sudfeld struggled mightily. These were early warning signs that would manifest themselves over the course of the season. Even before the Hoosiers lost Sudfeld for the year he was inconsistent.
Opponent: Indiana State Sycamores
Location: Saturday August 30th /12:01pm/ Memorial Stadium/ (Bloomington, IN)
Why They Played: The Hoosiers and the Sycamores kickoff the season for the third straight year. The matchup is a nice opportunity for IU to start the season quickly and draw a crowd for an in-state opponent.
What The Game Meant:
This game is a chance for Indiana to open the season on a high note and play some young guys who need experience.
Top Offensive Performers:
Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana- If Hoosier Nation thought he was overrated and the nation needed to respect the talents of the junior running back, well the college football world notices now. Coleman set a new career high in yards, collecting 247 yards on 23 carries. That’s a majestic 10.7 yards per carry! Coleman scored twice in the game versus the Sycamores one from 13 yards out and the other from 73. He set the tone early and often as the Hoosiers leaned on their strong running game, as Nate Sudfeld looked ordinary.
D’Angelo Roberts, RB, Indiana- Roberts started his senior campaign with a bang rushing for 129 yards on 24 carries. He also scored on the ground. It was Roberts’ third career 100-yard rushing performance. Roberts and Coleman combine to make the Hoosiers deadly on the ground.
Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana- While the passing game was not what it was in 2013, Simmie Cobbs gave Hoosier fans a glimpse of the future. Cobbs caught three balls for 57 yards. His most memorable play was a leaping 34-yard grab on the sideline. He brings the size the Hoosiers lack in the receiving corps.
Top Defensive Performers:
David Cooper, LB, Indiana- The senior backer did what he does best, tackle the ball carrier. Cooper led the Hoosiers in tackles with eight, including one for a loss. He was a major reason the Hoosiers held the Sycamores to just 170 yards.
Bobby Richardson, DT, Indiana- Another big performance by one of the senior members of the IU defense. Richardson led the Hoosiers with three sacks that totaled a loss of 23 yards, two of which came on Indiana State’s final drive.
Conner Underwood, LB, Indiana State- Underwood was a thorn is the Hoosiers’ side once again. He totaled nine tackles with three for a loss. He did all he could to slow the Hoosier running game.
Travis Starks, CB, Indiana State- Starks set up the only Sycamore touchdown with a 60-yard interception return.
Special Team Performance:
Indiana struggled in some aspects of their special teams game. J-Shun Harris II brings big play ability in the return game, but had a case of the drops when he muffed his first punt return to set up an Indiana State field goal. He recovered admirably returning a punt later in the game 14 yards. Aaron Del Grosso has some big shoes to fill now that Mitch Ewald has graduated. He was great on kickoffs as he recorded touchbacks on all five of his boots. He was perfect on four extra points. However, he did miss a short field goal when his attempt hit the upright. The book on Del Grosso is that he has a big leg, but his accuracy needs work. He certainly lived up to that today. Punter Erich Toth had a solid day as both of his punts pinned Indiana State inside their own 15-yard line.
The Hoosiers hung 455 rushing yards on Indiana State Saturday as it became clear that coach Kevin Wilson wants to show the world that his team is not just a juggernaut in the air. Two Hoosier backs went over 100 yards and starter Tevin Coleman set a new career high with 247 yards.
Indiana State closed to within 7-3 and the Hoosier faithful was getting a bit anxious after a muffed punt led to the score. Then Tevin Coleman showed why he is one of the best backs in the country as he took the ball 73 yards to pay dirt to increase the Hoosier lead to 14-3. Whatever momentum the Sycamores had was squashed.
I Knew it Was Over When…
Oddly enough the game was in doubt in the fourth quarter. The Hoosiers finally put the Sycamores away when Myles Graham plunged in from one yard out to give the Hoosiers a 28-10 lead.
Players of the Game:
Indiana– Tevin Coleman, RB- Coleman is well on his way to becoming the first Hoosier back to break 1,000 yards since 2001. He played at a different level today. He was elite. Yes, it was against Indiana State, but he averaged over 10 yards a carry. TEN YARDS A CARRY!
Indiana State- Osborn Umeh, Punter- That’s right the punter is getting player of the game honors for Indiana State. His leg kept the Hoosiers from having better field position all day as he averaged 44 yards per kick on eight punts, pinning three of them inside the 20. His long was 58 yards.
What I took away from the game:
This was not the kind of games that Hoosier fans have been used to in the last couple of decades, but they sure can get used to it. Indiana rushed the ball outstandingly, however one must wonder if the game plan was simplified in order to not tip their hand. As good as Tevin Coleman looked, Nate Sudfeld was the opposite. The junior quarterback was just 11 of 18 for 111 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. We know the Hoosiers lost a ton in the passing game, but 111 yards? Against Indiana State? Really? It wasn’t as if Sudfeld was rushed into poor throws or had receivers drop passes, he just looked gun shy. The play that summed up Sudfeld’s day was when he bounced a short pass to a wide-open Nick Stoner in the end zone. The Hoosier offensive line, which is finally healthy, lived up to all the talk in the preseason as they paved the way for Coleman and company and gave Sudfeld more than enough time to find open receivers. I would not worry about this offense just yet though. The Hoosiers have a bye week to work out the kinks in the passing game and let Tevin Coleman and D’Angelo Roberts catch their breath.
As for as the defense is concerned, Hoosier fans should be very encouraged. After coming out a little too amped the defense settled down nicely. The defensive line got great push as the Hoosiers held the Sycamores to just 10 points and 170 total yards (last year that’d be considered a good quarter). Both Indiana State scores came on short fields from the result of turnovers. The telling stat is that most of the Hoosier leading tacklers were either defensive linemen or linebackers (Thanks Ken Bikoff for the insight).
Overall, this was an encouraging performance. The Hoosiers got the win, the defense dominated and plenty of freshman got their feet wet.