After Indiana got run out of the building last week in Ann Arbor, I bravely wondered whether things could get worse for the Hoosiers, acknowledging that I didn’t really want to know the answer.
Today, we learned that things can get worse. And they probably will for the indefinite future.
However sorry I feel for myself and anyone else who watched today’s game, my heart really goes out to the players. From the starters to the last guy on the bench, they deserve better. We’re now at the point where former players are openly saying so as well.
This was probably Indiana’s last shot at salvaging anything, literally anything, from this season and it went out and laid an egg. As has been the case after each of the last four games, the Hoosiers’ chances of winning another game this year have dropped precipitously.
Unless something significant happens, expect Indiana to go winless in the Big Ten for the second time in three seasons.
Here’s Three Things we learned this week:
Brendan Sorsby, QB1
I debated even writing this portion because I’m not sure that the quarterback competition is over.
From the outset today, it was clear why Sorsby won the job. Carey remains committed to the option as a staple of the offense, so his running ability gives him the edge there. He was also able to extend plays with his feet when the line blew up, like he did on Indiana’s first touchdown today.
In just 22 minutes of possession time, Sorsby completed 15 of his 31 passes for 125 yards while averaging 4.5 yards per carry on the ground. For most teams, this would probably have been enough to keep the game competitive.
Sorsby also managed not to turn the ball over today, which is a positive sign for a team that really didn’t have much else going for it. On a day when mistakes cost Indiana everything, the starting quarterback did everything he could to keep the Hoosiers in it.
The margin for error on the road to bowl eligibility this year was always going to be razor thin. Week after week, this team has made the mistakes that it could not have afforded to if it wanted to take a step forward this season.
This is not a knock on any specific player, nor should it ever turn into that. At this point, it’s clearly a culture issue that leads to costly penalties and mental lapses on both sides of the ball.
Even when the players are executing, there’s not a ton of help from the sidelines. Brendan Sorsby completed enough passes to compile more than 125 passing yards, but the routes consistently fell short of the first down line, seemingly by design.
Good plays, this week and every, are immediately mitigated by penalties or blown assignments in such a way that makes it impossible for either unit to sustain any momentum. It’s more excusable against clearly better teams like Ohio State or Michigan, where intimidation might be a factor.
When these things happen against Rutgers in Week 8, there can be no excuses. Indiana simply has to be better.
As I struggle to find the words to describe just how low Indiana football has fallen, I thought it may be worth it to compile some other people’s words to put into perspective just how broken things are.
Here you go:
Rutgers has more than double the amount of plays ran than Indiana 51-24 with 8:45 left in the 3rd quarter #iufb— Drew Rosenberg (@drew_rosenberg2) October 21, 2023
Tom Allen has to call timeout ahead of the Rutgers first and goal attempt. Hoosiers had some confusion amongst the defensive line and linebackers. #iufb— Mason Williams (@mvsonwilliams) October 21, 2023
Since that opening drive, the Hoosiers' three following offensive drives… #iufb— Mason Williams (@mvsonwilliams) October 21, 2023
- 5 plays, 7 yards, punt --> blocked, recovered for a RU touchdown.
- 3 plays, 6 yards, punt.
- 3 plays, -4 yards, punt.
Indiana hand off up the middle on 3rd and 7 after lining up four side, goes three and out, head scratcher there— Michael Niziolek (@michaelniziolek) October 21, 2023
Both Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby are throwing on the sideline. #iufb— L.C. Norton (@ByLCNorton) October 21, 2023
It’s Bad! And anyone who is watching can see it.