As you've likely heard by now, Nate Sudfeld separated his shoulder during yesterday's 45-29 loss to Iowa. Yes, it was his non-throwing shoulder, but the injury was severe enough that he was unable to return to the game, and with his left arm in a sling, he could only watch from the sideline, as backup QB Chris Covington and star running back Tevin Coleman could not bring IU back from a huge early deficit. The Hoosiers now stand at 3-3 overall, and fall to 0-2 in Big Ten play. After yester'day game, coach Kevin Wilson explained that Sudfeld could miss anywhere from a week or two to the rest of the season, but a cursory WebMD search says that a separated shoulder means that his arm could be in a sling for "about six weeks."
Sudfeld had been criticized somewhat this year, since his passing numbers had been down from the previous year. However, he had also turned into a fairly effective game manager, and for the most part, the offense didn't make a ton of mental mistakes with him under center. When he threw a pick-6 early in the first quarter against the Hawkeyes, it seemed out of character for him. Still, IU lost a triumvirate of receivers from last season (Latimer, Hughes, Bolser), and Sudfeld hadn't quite gotten into rhythm with his young corps of wideouts. Nonetheless, we also knew that Sudfeld was the guy, especially after Tre Roberson transferred to Illinois State, and that any other options besides him were very limited.
I don't think Sudfeld's injury should make us call for the heads of Kevin Wilson, or even Fred Glass, as some troll on Twitter have suggested. The question now should be where IU football goes from here at QB. There's a chance Sudfeld may come back before the end of the season, since the injury happened to his non-throwing shoulder. Covington, who was recruited as a linebacker but switched over to quarterback during the summer, looked like a deer caught in the headlights for the Hoosiers, and his most effective plays were when he handed it off to Coleman. At times, it was painful to watch, and I'm sure it wasn't easy for the freshman, who has only played at the end of blowout games so far. As KickSewly mentioned yesterday, another option could be Zander Diamont, who is currently redshirting. If we burn Diamont's redshirt, he could start next Saturday. Redshirt sophomore walk-on Nate Boudreau is another option. I put a poll below to see what your thoughts on the QB situation were. However, one note of optimism is that a strong offense has been Coach Wilson's bread and butter since his days as an assistant at both Northwestern and Oklahoma, so if there's someone that can turn an offense around, it's him.
Suffice to say, this seems like we have entered Indiana's darkest timeline, as the Remedial Chaos Theory episode from the TV show Community would tell us. A bowl game seems unlikely if Sudfeld can't return, and even Purdue - who showed signs of life in their neon helmets against Sparty yesterday - will be a tough out. Plus, Mizzou getting blanked at home against a UGA team without Todd Gurley - whose suspension is absolutely ridiculous, by the way - makes our victory over the Tigers seem a lot less impressive. I hardly know what the answers are for this team, but here's a photoshop of Wilson if he were head coach at Greendale Community College to help try and cheer us up.
The Pivotal Play
Sudfeld's injury, of course, would be the pivotal play from this game. However, in terms of the final result, Iowa punched it in from the one-yard line with no time left on the clock in the first half. Instead of having a two-score halftime deficit, the touchdown made the game 38-21 going into the locker room, making this a tough deficit for any quarterback to come back from, especially an inexperienced one like Covington.
The Game Ball Goes To...
Tevin Coleman. Of course. In all the darkness that was yesterday, Coleman's performance was a beacon of optimism, and if he keeps running at the pace in which he ran yesterday, the Hoosiers will never be fully out of a game. Yesterday, Coleman had 15 carries for 219 yards and three touchdowns, for a ridiculous pace of 14.6 yards per carry. These touchdown runs came from 45, 69, and 83 yards out. This game was also Coleman's eighth straight with over 100 yards rushing, and a whopping 15th straight game with at least one touchdown. He also broke 1,000 yards rushing on the season, after just six games. Unfortunately, Coleman seems destined to join Antwaan Randle El, James Hardy, and Cody Latimer as Hoosiers who all put up big numbers on mediocre teams, and as a junior, he is eligible for the NFL Draft next season. So let's enjoy his play while it lasts.
Important Statistic of the Week
35:20 - this was the time of possession for the Hawkeyes yesterday. We actually outgained the Hawkeyes 432-426 in total yards during this game, despite our offensive woes. However, Iowa kept us off the field for the most part (forcing nine punts in addition to three total interceptions), and had more long, sustained drives, including a 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on their second drive of the game that ate up 7:13 of clock time, or almost half of the first quarter.
Offense: C. Sudfeld was 4-for-9 for 85 yards and a touchdown and a pick-6 before he got hurt. Coleman's running was again off the charts, but Covington couldn't get anything going when he was thrown into duty.
Defense: D+. The defense settled down in the second half, but 38 points before halftime is unacceptable, especially against a Hawkeyes team that had struggled to put up points beforehand, and rarely has scored more than 30 points under offensive coordinator Greg Davis. Now granted, 14 of these points did come off interceptions, but still, the maligned Hawkeye offense, especially quarterback Jake Rudock, picked our defense apart most of the day.
Special Teams: B-. We did recover one onside kick, but we also drew an offsides penalty on another, and gave the Hawkeyes decent field position a few times. We did make a successful two-point conversion as well.
Overall: D-. Indiana loses its starting quarterback, and what seemed like a winnable game beforehand had already spiraled out of control by the end of the first quarter, as the Hoosiers trailed 28-7. Had it not been for Coleman's big runs, this game could have been a lot more of a blowout.
Song That Best Describes This Game
Run like hell, Tevin. We need you more than ever right now.
The Hoosiers head back to Memorial Stadium for Homecoming to take on a Michigan State team that is ranked in the top-10 but also almost blew huge fourth-quarter leads against both Nebraska and Purdue in their last two games. For the Spartans, this will be their second straight game in the Hoosier State after a 45-31 win over Purdue yesterday. Sparty may be vulnerable, but it would take a monumental effort from the Hoosiers to pull off this upset. Also, it's the Battle for the Old Brass Spittoon, which means we will get to see this Twitter account back in action.
More Game Thoughts, Links, and Other Miscellany
- Helmet Update: IU wore the white state flag helmets. They worked in the Mizzou road game, but not so much yesterday.
- Indiana vs. Florida Win Total Update: The Hoosiers and Gators both lost yesterday, keeping their season win totals at three. Florida dropped a game-winning TD and lost to LSU on a last-second field goal, because Les Miles is a crazy magician.
- Here's a good profile from earlier this week from David Woods of the Star of Tevin Coleman and his Liberian heritage.
- The H-T weights IU's quarterback options.
- Box Score
- Kevin Wilson Postgame Presser