Woof. Anyone who watched the game yesterday knows that there’s not too much more to say about that game or the season as a whole at this point. Tom Allen made it clear in the postgame interviews that the coaching staff will remain intact for the rest of the season, and Tuttle’s most recent injury likely means that Donaven McCulley and Grant Gremel will be the only quarterbacks for the final two games. Penix, in theory, could return, but it’s unclear what he would have to gain from playing another game behind an offensive line who cannot seem to protect anyone right now.
Before yesterday, Indiana hadn’t lost to Rutgers since 2015, when they gave up 22 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to lose 55-52. With two games left against opponents who are much better than Rutgers, Indiana is in danger of recording its lowest win total since the dreadful 2011 season, during which they only won a single game. Even if they win out, four wins will be the lowest total for an Indiana team since 2014. A historically bad season, no matter how you want to look at it.
On the first play from scrimmage, McCulley fumbled the handoff, which Rutgers recovered to start their first drive on Indiana’s 21 yard line. This was the first of SIX Indiana turnovers on the day and one of four fumbles. Four plays after that initial turnover, Isaih Pacheco punched it in from 8 yards to give Rutgers the lead, which they never gave up.
Besides being unable to execute even the simplest of plays, Indiana was hampered by some questionable coaching from the very beginning of the game. McCulley started the game, which means he is no longer eligible for a redshirt season this year, but was pulled after just two drives. Jack Tuttle came in for the following four drives and led the offense to two three and outs and two interceptions before leaving the game again with an injury. Even if McCulley is unlikely to be a five-year college player, burning his redshirt only to turn to a less-than-healthy Jack Tuttle two drives later is completely inexplicable and reflects a lack of planning on the coaching staff’s part.
Given the level of disorganization coming from this coaching staff, it doesn’t feel fair to hold any individual performances against the players. No amount of effort or hustle can overcome that kind of coaching incompetence, and it’s probably as obvious to the players as it is to us at home. At this point, all we can do is hope Tom Allen makes the right decisions in the offseason and that nobody else gets hurt in the final two games of the season. Of course, beating Purdue would be great, but I just don’t see how that happens with this roster and coaching staff. Generally, we will all be better off just waiting for the offseason.