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Indiana 38, Akron 21: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Here's the official box score.  Despite the relatively high scoring game, this win had more to do with the defense than the offense. 

The good:

  • The rush defense was good again.  While Akron's overall numbers border on respectable (30/106), Akron gained 36 yards on the ground on 5 carries in the final garbage-time drive, meaning the Zips had gained only 70 yards on 25 carries before then. 
  • Four interceptions, of course.  Austin Thomas had two (and a combined 77 return yards) and Tyler Replogle and Andre LeGrone added one each.
  • Pressuring the quarterback.  Matt Rodgers, forced to start the game after Akron coach JD Brookhart suspended starter Chris Jacquemain, was sacked 3 times for a loss of 17 yards.  Rodgers gained 44 yards on the ground, but lost 26 for a net of 18. 
  • The backup running backs, if there are such things on this year's team, played well.  Demetrius McCray was the star of the WMU game, but freshman Darius Willis, in his first meaningful action, gained 69 yards on 15 carries and scored his first career touchdown.  Trea Burgess ran for 59 yards on 13 carries and also scored.
  • Ray Fisher returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.  
  • Only four penalties.  Two were personal fouls, one was a kickoff out of bounds, and the other was a delay of game against Ray Fisher, when the officials determined that Fisher disregarded his own fair catch signal.  I never saw a good replay of it, but Fisher and the IU bench believed he was waving his hands below his waist to keep his teammates away from the ball.  Still, no procedure penalties, no holding penalties, no illegal motion.  That's progress. 

The bad:
  • IU continued to give up big plays.  Deryn Bowser broke a 49 yard touchdown reception, mostly on yards after the catch, and the Zips scored a touchdown on a block of a Chris Hagerup punt.
  • About that punt: I know next to nothing about scheme and such, and while I'm sure the rugby style kick has its merits, running it on every play seems likely to lead to exactly what it led to.  At least we got it out of the way during a win. 
  • While Chappell's overall numbers were good, his long drought, and interception make me wonder if his decision-making will cut it when we play Big Ten competition. 
The ugly:

  • Did I mention the blocked punt? 
I don't know what the Big Ten season holds, but IU is 3-0 and has improved in every game.  As I said last week, that's better than any alternative.