Somehow, some way, the Indiana Hoosiers improved to 2-0 by beating rutger 37-21. There was never a doubt, really, I swear *pulls collar*. Let’s take a look at what exactly propelled the Hoosiers to victory in Piscataway, and what the win could mean going forward:
So, after taking a year to rebuild a little bit, Kane Wommack’s got a heckuva group on the defensive side of the ball this season. One could easily attribute this win to that defense for a number of reasons. The easiest is the three interceptions it had. Micah McFadden had one early, Jonathan King had another and Jaylin Williams wrapped up the hat trick a bit later. Tom Allen Takeaways™️ aside, the Hoosiers were also tremendous on both third- and fourth-downs, holding the Scarlet Knights to 3/14 and 0/3 respectively on conversions. Rutger went 21-for-34 on passes for 134 yards — 3.9 yards per pass — which is much, much better than a one-yard performance, but still isn’t good.
McFadden committed a bad penalty early, but for the most part he was flying around making plays. Tiawan Mullen gave up the final rutger touchdown, but before that he was damn good, even going 2-for-2 on corner blitzes by bringing down Noah Vedral a couple of times. Reese Taylor made some big plays as well both against the run and the pass.
Could list a bunch of other guys who had good games, but you hopefully get the point by now.
2. Better late than never, offense
Indiana’s offense got plenty of fresh air in the first quarter. They ran around, they got some exercise. It was great except for the fact that they couldn’t figure out how to score a touchdown.
Chuck Campbell buoyed the team with a pair of field goals — he had a really good day, going 3-for-3 on field goals, with a long of 42, as well as going 4-for-4 on extra points — and, luckily, that was enough to keep the Hoosiers alive through the early struggles.
A couple of short fields, courtesy of a couple of the aforementioned interceptions, helped give the offense a kickstart, as Michael Penix Jr. snuck in for a touchdown and then hit Ty Fryfogle for another.
In the second half everything seemed to go back to normal and everybody ended up with decent numbers, at worst. Penix went 17-for-26 for 238 yards and three touchdowns, Stevie Scott III had 21 carries for 81 yards, Whop Philyor had five catches for 137 yards and Peyton Hendershot had six catches for 34 yards and two touchdowns. Despite that, the slow start — the maybe three or four drives to open the game where the Hoosiers looked like they didn’t know what a football was or why they would want to catch one — is concerning after the struggles the Hoosiers had offensively at times last week.
Indiana entered the week ranked 17th in the AP poll and won. No. 13 Michigan and No. 16 Kansas State lost. Common sense — which may not be applicable here, but still — would indicate that the Hoosiers will slide up at least two slots in the rankings because of those results.
That’s right. The year of our Lord 2020 just may see the Indiana Football Hoosiers ranked as one of the 15 best teams in the nation.
It would be IU’s highest ranking since 1988, when they reached a high of No. 14 under Bill Mallory on the way to a Liberty Bowl victory.
If it were to happen, this would be just the eighth team in the 122 years of IU playing football that the Hoosiers would have cracked the top 15. If the Hoosiers can get a little bit higher and somehow enter the top 10, it’d be just the fourth time in history that’s happened and the first since 1969.
What a time to be alive.
The Hoosiers get Jim Harbaugh and Michigan at home next week! It could’ve been a potential College GameDay destination and may still be, but the matchup’s luster has certainly dulled a bit after the Wolverines’ loss to Michigan State on Saturday. Clemson-Notre Dame, Florida-Georgia, and Oklahoma State-Kansas State are all on the slate for next week as well, which certainly doesn’t help.