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Indiana football responds to mistakes in 35-22 win over Idaho

Let us not speak of this again.

NCAA Football: Idaho at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Punt. Missed field goal. Turnover. Fumble. Punt. Interception.

Whenever Indiana football’s offense took the field Saturday night, the Hoosiers only had themselves to blame when the ball ended up in the eager hands of the Idaho Vandals.

It began with the first snap of the night, a false start penalty on Tim Weaver that turned first and 10 into first and 15. Two rushes from Shaun Shivers and an incomplete pass from Connor Bazelak led to a punt.

The Hoosiers didn’t punt again until the second quarter.

Between those two punts were a missed field goal from Charles Campbell, a turnover on downs in the shadow of Idaho’s goal line as the Hoosiers’ offensive line was overpowered by the Vandals’ defense and a fumble from Josh Henderson.

In the meantime, Idaho had scored 10 points to take a two score lead. Indiana needed two possessions to take their first lead of the night and it’d have to happen in the second half.

Head coach Tom Allen knew that better than anyone. During halftime, Allen went to assistant coaches and team leaders to get them to rally the Hoosiers’ spirits and hold one another accountable, he said in a postgame press conference.

The result? A 23-point third quarter from the offense as the defense kept the Vandals at bay. In a stark contrast to its first half miscues, all of Indiana’s second half drives ended in Idaho’s endzone save for the last, a victory kneel from Bazelak to seal the 35-22 win.

But those 12 extra points irked Allen, he said. Some of Indiana’s best players on defense had allowed a red zone touchdown pass and a 71 yard catch and run all the way to the endzone.

Those defensive issues, compounded with the offense’s lack of production in the first half, led this to ultimately be a frustrating night for Allen. The Hoosiers sang the fight song in the locker room postgame as they always do after a win, Allen said, but he was also tough on the team.

That third quarter should’ve been how they’d played in the first, he said. A win is a win, but Indiana has plenty of issues to work out before they welcome Western Kentucky to Bloomington this coming Saturday.

The Good

  • Indiana was able to score at will in the second half and was fully in control of the game.
  • Shaun Shivers showed what he can do when a defense isn’t absolutely zeroed in on eliminated the run game.
  • D.J. Matthews can do wonders for the offensive side of the ball.

The Bad

  • That was because the first half was full of mistakes that kept points off the board and allowed Idaho to take a lead in the first place.