Well, that was definitely football.
A season that began with a stunning last second victory against the eventual Big Ten West runner-up at Memorial Stadium ended in the same venue against the actual division champion.
We’ll have a lot more to say in the coming days. For now...
Here’s three things:
Indiana’s going mobile at quarterback
Gone are the days of pocket passers like Nate Sudfeld, Richard Lagow and Connor Bazelak. We’re entering the Zander Diamont zone at quarterback moving forward. Tom Allen said as much in his postgame press conference and, well, it’s the only move that can breathe any life into this offense in the near future.
Bazelak performed admirably during the first few weeks of the season, but Indiana’s passing game fell apart when teams realized they could still generate pressure with a minimal pass rush and that Indiana’s offensive line wasn’t bullying anyone in the run game.
The insertion of Dexter Williams II revitalized Indiana’s offense. Suddenly, teams had another threat to worry about on the ground. Williams II could sneak away from the pass rush and pick up yards in ways that Bazelak was just physically incapable of doing.
That opened opportunities in the run game for Shaun Shivers, Josh Henderson and Jaylin Lucas and allowed Indiana to get creative with playcalling as we saw with a wide receiver reverse on fourth down.
With Williams II’s injury in mind, we don’t know who that quarterback is gonna be just yet, but we know they’re gonna have to run.
Speaking of which.
Dexter Williams II
Indiana’s quarterback, who breathed life into a season that seemed to once again be falling apart the same way it did last season, went down with an unknown knee injury in the second quarter.
I’m no doctor and I’ll spare you the details. It was non-contact and was bad.
Immediately, Williams II was surrounded by his coaches and teammates on all sides, who came from the Hoosiers’ sideline with well-wishes and concern. That says a lot about who Williams II means to this team.
Williams II has been here from the beginning with Indiana’s historic 2020 campaign all the way to the lowest of the low in 2021. He wasn’t able to help turn things around last season after an ACL tear in training camp, but rose to the occasion when called upon against Michigan State this year.
Every player is going to say great things when you ask about their teammates, it’s standard protocol, but it was just different whenever they were describing Williams II and his contagious smile and joy for the game.
What happened is absolutely awful and our thoughts are with him. This was just a game, there’s bigger things involved in this.
Where does Indiana go from here?
Just like last year, the offseason is full of questions and uncertainty for the Hoosiers.
Young players with potential will have the opportunity to explore other options in the transfer portal if they so choose. Obviously there’s a lot that goes into college decisions like this, but a losing season will leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. Tom Allen’s immediate focus will be keeping his roster together.
There will, of course, be those who join the program through the portal. They could be depth pieces or gems like Cam Camper. Indiana’s coaching staff has already identified its positions of need and is planning out a strategy to fill them.
And, with Williams II’s status in mind, they’re gonna need to find a quarterback. Given what Allen said about mobility, that probably won’t be Connor Bazelak.
But these are all questions and concerns for another day. We’ll set up an offseason news tracker and keep you posted with news, analysis and opinion here at the Crimson Quarry.
Until then, enjoy what‘s left of college football season.