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Indiana football: PFF report card vs. Illinois

Here’s what the numbers say about Indiana’s win over Illinois.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, we’ll be taking a look at Pro Football Focus’ advanced stats to see what went well and what didn’t for the Hoosiers.

Because numbers are numbers and don’t tell the entire story, we’ll do our best to add necessary context when something doesn’t seem to be adding up.

Without further ado, here’s the first edition of our PFF report card, with all stats being sourced from the PFF College website.

Connor Bazelak & The Receivers

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Bazelak logged an overall passing grade of 71.6, which ranked 75th overall among FBS quarterbacks.

That grade jumps to 87.1 during attempts when Bazelak didn’t face pressure, which accounted for 68.5% of his total attempts. When pressured, Bazelak’s grade fell to 40.6. Bazelak’s only interception of the game was thrown under pressure.

Despite Indiana’s lack of a run game, Bazelak excelled when the Hoosiers ran play action, completing 7 of his 12 attempts for 125 yards and a touchdown. Bazelak scored especially high when pushing the ball downfield, completing 4 of his 9 attempts 20+ yards beyond the line of scrimmage with a touchdown for a grade of 92.8.

D.J. Matthews led all receivers with a receiving grade of 71.4, followed by Emery Simmons with 66.2 and Cam Camper with 65.8.

The Offensive Line & The Run Game

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Luke Haggard led the offensive line with an offensive grade of 76.9, earning a grade of 67.4 in run blocking and 87.8 in pass blocking, good for 6th in the country among FBS offensive tackles. Haggard allowed two pressures in 56 pass blocking snaps.

Other notable pass blocking performances are those of Kahlil Benson and Tim Weaver, who logged grades of 87.1 and 82.2, respectively, in limited snaps.

The offensive line allowed a total of 15 pressures, 7 hurries and 8 quarterback hits against Illinois. The loss of Matthew Bedford to a torn ACL will loom over the line for the remainder of the season, with Parker Hanna likely stepping up to take his place.

While the line struggled with run blocking, which is reflected in individual grades, it’s worth noting that offensive coordinator Walt Bell anticipated that Illinois would stack the box and adjusted accordingly for multiple chunk plays in the passing game.

Issues exist, yes, but Indiana seems to be zeroed in on calling plays that its line can block for and finding ways to maximize what it is capable of, as shown with Bazelak’s performance against a limited Illinois secondary. Not for nothing!

Also factor that in when considering Indiana’s 1.9 yards per carry on the ground. The run game needs improvement, but the Hoosiers found a way to win without it, and ultimately scored the game winning touchdown thanks to Shaun Shivers. With as many goal line stands as we’ve seen this weekend, that’s at least worth *something*.

The Defense

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Multiple stars shined in the defense, which ultimately won the game for Indiana by keeping the Illini from reaching field goal range in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter.

Unsurprisingly, Cam Jones led all defenders with a defensive grade of 75.9, particularly standing out with a tackling grade of 84.8. Behind Jones, Josh Sanguinetti earned a grade of 72.8 and Alfred “Lance” Bryant earned a grade of 71.7 from the bull position.

In his Monday press conference, head coach Tom Allen noted issues with missed tackles, but said that the performance against Illinois was ultimately a good starting point as Indiana’s defense looks to return to form.