It wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t nearly as ugly as the scoreboard makes it look. Indiana’s 33-27 victory over Rutgers on Saturday afternoon will look to those who didn’t watch the game like Indiana almost went #CHAOSTEAM, which they did. But it won’t tell the story that a pair of eyes watching the contest saw. That story was that Indiana was better than Rutgers at every position and found itself in a squeaker only by gifting the Scarlet Knights points and life. It’ll sound stupid and our angry friends from Rutgers will disagree, but you’d be hard-pressed to ever find a more dominant six-point win.
In the win, the a few things jumped out about the Hoosiers:
The offense still can’t get anything going near the endzone.
Early this season we talked about the Hoosiers’ inability to score from the redzone, noting that a lack of imagination and a lack of execution were a deadly mixture that kept Indiana’s offense from the painted grass. Today was more of the same, but the problem area expanded to the 30.
— Kyle Robbins (@kylerrobbins) November 5, 2016
INDIANA SCORED POINTS INSIDE THE RUTGERS 32 YARD LINE
THAT'S 1/11 NOW
And what it led to was a score that didn’t accurately reflect the ease with which the offense moved the ball.
indiana's 40 yards away from meeting michigan's yardage total on rutgers— Kyle Robbins (@kylerrobbins) November 5, 2016
it's a 9 point game
On the day, Indiana hung 569 yards of offense on Rutgers, but 4 turnovers and the problems in Rutgers territory wouldn’t allow them to pull away. We may sound like a broken record, but there is no doubt that Kevin Wilson and his staff have to find a way to fix this if Indiana wants to win more than one more game this season.
The defense was outstanding again.
The box score won’t do the defense justice, as it rarely does. Marcelino Ball got lost in coverage and Rutgers scored on a bomb. Zander Diamont fumbled in the flats and the Scarlet Knights defense scooped and scored. The kickoff return team fumbled the opening kick of the 2nd half and Rutgers scored on a short field.
Other than these three outliers? The Indiana defense allowed two sustained drives, both resulting in field goals, including one on the final drive of the game.
Take away the 68-yard touchdown pass and the Hoosiers allowed just 283 yards on Saturday, marking yet another day where they gave the team a shot to win. Finally, the offense did just enough to cash in and pick up the W.
So many problems still remain.
It’s good anytime you win, even if it’s by six over Rutgers.
But that should not excuse several things we saw on Saturday, and it certainly shouldn’t be cause to move on without worrying about them. For instance, the special teams units are complete disasters. Other than a Joseph Gedeon punt that was downed at the 1 and a partial punt block by Camion Patrick, the units left 11 points on the field and gifted Rutgers 7.
In addition to the special teams problems, Kevin Wilson’s playcalling continues to baffle the mind. After the kicking unit had already missed a PAT and had one blocked, Wilson trotted the unit out for two more field goals and more PATs, resulting in a botched PAT, another blocked field goal, and one that Oakes yanked. Say what you will, or what I did, about the special teams disaster, but some if it is on Wilson for not putting his team in better positions to succeed with better decision-making. There’s also the matter of this wildcat formation, which aside from an opening drive score, produced absolutely nothing but a Rutgers touchdown today. Wilson’s commitment to the gimmicks are head-scratching on days like today.
I’m sure I’m missing something, because there was a lot to feel bad about today, despite the win. But suffice it to say that there are few excuses left to be made for this team. What they did against Wake Forest, Northwestern, and now Rutgers seems to be who they truly are — a mistake-prone football team that just doesn’t have four full quarters in them.
BONUS: Oh my goodness, Camion Patrick
What we saw in Piscataway was really the first deployment of Camion Patrick. Kevin Wilson has said, and others around the program have agreed, that Camion Patrick is a freak athlete and the best player on this team. It’s finally believable after seeing the flashes of brilliance he displayed today.
As mentioned above, Patrick blocked a punt to give the Hoosiers great field position and then made the most insane touchdown reception we’ve seen in a long, long time from an Indiana player. Patrick may not be 100% yet, either, which makes this even more encouraging. If he stays on track and on the field, he could be a monster for this team down the stretch and next season.