After a huge blowout at the hands of Ohio State in the opening game of the season, the Indiana Hoosiers were looking to rebound and get their feet under them this last weekend when Indiana State came to Bloomington. While the Hoosiers beat the Sycamores decisively, it was far from a dismantling- despite the 41-7 final score.
The Hoosiers came out of the gate strong, taking a 21-0 lead in the first quarter but their mistakes got the best of them at times and they got sloppy at the same time. A late first half fumble saw the Sycamores hit the scoreboard just before halftime while the Hoosiers failed to score or gain any ground throughout the entire 2nd Quarter- this was the case in the 3rd Quarter as well.
The Hoosiers played the middle two quarters like they were trying to just run out the clock and escape with a win until they woke back up in the 4th Quarter. Throughout the game, their penalties got the better of them with two running into the punter calls and two flags for ineligible receivers down the field, among others. The Hoosiers’ only saving grace was that the Sycamores just weren’t able to cash in and take advantage of the Hoosier mistakes.
The Hoosiers finally started playing like the Power 5 team their fans were hoping to see, with multiple rushing touchdowns in the final minutes to seal the victory.
In a Big Ten Conference loaded with powerhouses like Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State as well as perennial threats like Iowa and Purdue, the Hoosiers could have really used this game as a chance to make a statement. With the aforementioned schools making moves toward the playoffs, bowl games and Conference Championship each year, the last thing the Hoosiers can afford to do is run out the clock and play conservatively against an FCS school and, with schools like USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington joining the Conference in the next few seasons, the time is now for schools like Indiana to start showing they can hang with the bigger teams.
The Hoosiers need to fine tune their fundamentals and cut down on the needless penalties and start playing more aggressively if they plan to stand a chance in an evolving and ever-competitive Big Ten Conference this season or it could spell the end of Tom Allen’s tenure in Bloomington.