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Indiana escapes upset-minded Salukis, 48-47

3 thoughts on Indiana's near embarrassment to an FCS team that went 6-6 last season. But who's counting

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

1. Holy horrible defense, Batman!

Somehow, IU's defense appeared to get worse from last year. Obviously, there's a lot of uncertainty right now as nine Hoosier suspensions were revealed moments before the game, including key defenders Darius Latham and Tegray Scales.

Still, Indiana's defense resembled that of a high school team who was more focused on the Homecoming dance after the game. Broken tackles, missed assignments, and blown coverages galore. The Hoosiers made the Salukis look like the greatest show on turf, giving up 659 yards of offense and 517 yards to quarterback Mark Iannotti alone.

In the second half, at least early on, the defense stepped up and allowed IU to get back in the game, but then shot themselves in the foot repeatedly at the end of the game, nearly costing them the game.

But if Southern Illinois can hang 47 points on IU, Ohio State might score 470.

2. The offense, specifically the receivers, looked nice

IU knew what it had coming into the season on the offensive line, at quarterback and at running back (more on that to come). The big question mark was the very, very young and inexperienced receiving core.

Led by Ricky Jones' 6 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown, the receivers stepped up to the plate, helping Indiana amass 349 yards through the air.

The offensive line struggled early, but bounced back nicely. Nate Sudfeld reminded everyone why he's so highly rated among pro scouts, standing in the pocket and delivering bullets while also putting the perfect amount of touch on deep balls, namely the big pass late in the game to Jones.

It's the same old song and dance for IU, though. The offense will keep the team in nearly every game, so long as the defense doesn't fall completely flat on it's face.

3 Tevin Col....Jordan Howard is a monster

Much like his offensive line, Jordan Howard started slow, but exploded onto the scene quickly, finishing with 145 yards on 20 carries for 3 touchdowns while catching 2 passes for 25 yards. IU had a huge hole at running back with Coleman leaving for the NFL, but Jordan Howard looks all the ready and able to step into those shoes.

To a slightly lesser extent, Devine Redding also looked impressive, rushing for a pair of touchdowns on 16 carries for 57 yards. The balance Indiana will have on offense this year will make them really, really hard to stop.

Overall, it's a win for IU, no matter how ugly it is, and that's more than Penn State and Nebraska can say through one week.