Hoosiers hold on for 48-47 win over SIU #iufb

The ball was delivered square to his gut, a pass Connor Iwema has no doubt cradled into his arms on countless occasions before Saturday.

This time was different, and maybe an Indiana freshman was the reason. Maybe Iwema felt Andre Brown stomping toward him, or maybe this reception was simply not meant to be.

On a potential game-winning two-point conversion attempt in the final 18 seconds, Brown lunged toward Iwema as the Southern Illinois receiver bobbled a perfect throw from Mark Iannotti. The ball fell to the turf with Iwema’s body, as Brown hopped to his feet and skipped to the Indiana sideline to celebrate the 48-47 victory he helped save.

It was another troubling defensive effort from an IU defense that was missing two starters and two contributors to suspensions, and lost its starting free safety to an undisclosed injury. This is supposedly coach Kevin Wilson’s best team since arriving for the 2011 season, though Saturday’s first look was hardly encouraging.

The Salukis outgained the Hoosiers, 659-595, using a monster afternoon from quarterback Mark Iannotti, who threw for 411 yards and four scores, and ran for another 106 yards and an additional touchdown. But it was the Indiana backfield duo of Jordan Howard and Devine Redding that ultimately made the victory possible.

“Fortunate to win, but at the same time I think I told the team afterwards, I was kind of concerned,” Wilson said. “(I told them), ‘Don’t take victory for granted. For what you did and the circumstances you were in, and to make some plays at the end, to get the victory is encouraging.’ It’s something we are going to build on.”

Howard and Redding combined for 202 yards, including 145 yards and touchdown runs of 23, 4 and 1 yards from Howard, the former UAB transfer. Redding also added two scores, opening the game with a 13-yard scoring run to the left side at the 9:47 mark of the first quarter.

“I felt like we got off to a fast start,” Howard said.

But the rest of the day unfolded with a series of crests and troughs for Indiana (1-0), which is back home on Saturday against Florida International at 8 p.m.

SIU (0-1) scored on special teams and through the slick run-pass combo of Iannotti, holding a pair of 11-point leads in the first half.

The second of which came after Howard’s second touchdown of the day just prior to halftime. The Salukis used the remaining 3:38 before the break for their most methodical drive of the afternoon, marching 75 yards in 12 plays and finishing with a one-yard keeper from Iannotti to go ahead 32-21 at halftime.

“It was kind of frantic,” Wilson said of the halftime locker room. “Before we went out, I just stopped everybody. As a matter of fact I had a strength coach give them a ‘win one for the gipper’ speech, and I just said, let me say something real quick: Would you just slow down, play one play, take a deep breath … (You) can’t change what happened. What are you doing next?”

Indiana came out of halftime with a quick strike, using a 57-yard touchdown pass from Nate Sudfeld to Ricky Jones to cut its deficit back to four. The Sudfeld-Jones duo was especially potent in the opener, with Sudfeld completing 19 of his 32 passes for 349 yards — the second-highest total of his career. Jones, whose touchdown was the first of his career, added a personal best 186 yards on six catches.

The Hoosiers followed with a 45-yard field goal by Griffin Oakes that cut the deficit to one before going ahead on Redding’s second score of the day — a three-yard run to cap a 10-play, 90-yard drive.

With a 38-32 lead entering the final quarter, Indiana had a chance to go for the knockout punch early in the fourth when Marcus Oliver forced his second fumble of the day and linebacker Dawson Fletcher recovered. The ensuing drive was aided by a Saluki pass interference call that took the Hoosiers to the SIU 47 with a fresh set of downs. But IU failed to take advantage of the next three plays before Erich Toth punted the ball into the end zone with less than 13 minutes to play.

That’s when the Salukis responded on the first play of the next possession with a well-blocked screen pass from Iannotti to Daquan Isom, who ran 80 yards for the score. Johnson missed the extra point, leaving the game tied at 38-38 with 12:24 to play.

The teams traded fourth quarter field goals — a 22-yarder from Oakes with nine minutes to go and a 46-yard shot from Johnson with 2:37 on the clock — before one final Hoosier drive saved the day.

It was made possible by a 71-yard pass from Sudfeld to Jones with a minute left in regulation. Sudfeld looked his boundary receiver deep down the field, Jones beat two defenders, caught the pass and reversed his course to the SIU 1. It came on the same play Wilson had called only moments earlier.

“(Sudfeld) had a little more time to throw the ball,” Jones said. “I saw him peeking the first time, so that’s why we ran it a second time. It worked like a charm.”

Indiana let Howard run into the endzone without a challenge to preserve the remaining 58 seconds in regulation. The Salukis took the ball and reached across midfield with the help of a pass interference call against freshman safety Jameel Cook. Then Iannotti and receiver Jimmy Jones connected for a pair of 20-yard gains — the latter a 25-yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds left to play.

After a timeout and further deliberation, the Salukis went for the win on the two-point conversion, but Indiana was ready.

“We ran the play (in practice),” Wilson said. “They ran for two points six, seven times in a row one day in practice because that’s the universal two-point play of football. We ran it when I was in college, it’s called 574 halfback, same play, hasn’t changed.”

34 comments

  1. ugly win defense seemed to have regressed . bogus pi call late in 4th on iu, I believe he does not need to turn back for the ball like in the pros, how about covering the tight end?

  2. Ugh. And nothing was “broken up” on the SIU try- it was a drop. And if the SIU placekicker hadn’t shanked the earlier try, this would be a loss.

  3. Whew. At least it was a win. A lot of starters out. Offense has a lot of potential with Howard. I’m just relieved.

  4. I HOPE they make a bowl game but man this basically looks like the same team its been the last 4 years great offense bad defense especially the secondary

  5. Even for a UNIVERSITY level education; I don’t believe ANYONE on IU’s team can spell ……defense. They sure as hell cant play any.

  6. Actually, never a great offense. Good at times. Never great. Plus lack of defense except for 5 or 6 years. Not for 4 years but for the last 50 years.

  7. Even if it was a win, it was terrible, ugly, horrific and embarrassing. No more excuses for Wilson and staff this year. What have the coaches been doing for the last month?

  8. Even though few can remember when IU could play defense, the only reason IU tied for the Big Ten Championship with Purdue and Minnesota in 1967 was due to defense. Though the story was the “Cardiac Kids” of Gonzo, Isenbarger and Butcher, most of those games were very low scoring due to the defense and thus gave IU the opportunity to win at the end. That defense held an OJ Simpson undefeated USC team to 14 points in the 1968 Rose Bowl while the Cardiac Kids and the offense scored 3 points (though it should have been 10 due to a dropped pass in the end zone). Most of those defensive players were also recruited by a coach (I can’t remember his name) who did so illegally. IU was put on probation and the coach was fired. This opened the door to hiring John Pont who then coached those guys as seniors and the Cardiac Kids as sophomores to the Rose Bowl. This is very ancient history but it’s much more pleasant to remember that than to think about today’s game or recent history.

  9. Ugly win. Can’t understand why defensive coaches can’t communicate properly with players to have them read properly and execute. Appalling, really. You are wrong about IU playing defense. Bill Mallory coached teams played defensive. But while I’m a die hard iu football fan it is perplexing why IU can’t play defense. Something better change, and in a big hurry. I like a win, but not like this. What the heck happened to tackling technique?
    I don’t get it. Wish to heck we had answers to stop this embarrassing play. Color me disappointed big time.

  10. it’s a WIN people!! maybe not the pretties win in history, maybe not against the strong competition, but it is still a WIN….lets just hope improvements are made on both (offensive and defense) sides of the football…after all it is the first game of the seasons…..there where some positive results from the game…lets just give the coaches time to make adjustments and do their jobs, no need to panic….everyone had to know and the media experts advise that the defense (esp. the secondary) would be a key point for this team….you cannot expect everything to go well when you start four inexperience (freshman and sophomore) players in the secondary and missing a couple of starters on the defense line and at linebacker….we the fans might be disappointed in the overall play of IU football team in the game, but it was an exciting and entertaining game with a little bit of everything in it, just be happy that IU WON and did not lose….as a coach Wilson fan and a IU fan i will take as much positive news/information as i can from this victory.

  11. For IU fb you are right the panic button turned off many years ago…like a half century. If you are not already you should be immune to panic attacks regarding IU fb because it is what it is and has been…. the walking zombie until it comes to life again for a full season in the wins column and then does it go back to zombie land for another quarter century or does it stay awake with at least some enthusiasm of life.

  12. As a former head coach I know a win like this was easier to make improvements from because the players knew they could have lost the game. Coaches will have the attention of the players this week.

    Several points for this game that I saw were the need to develop an offensive philosophy based on the talent of this offense. They could develop a tough running game with play action passes, a dynamic passing game with runs coming from lanes opening up, or they could efficiently execute all plays attacking the field to maximize yardage and points. I din’t get the feeling yesterday that Coach Johns has a real handle yet what type of offense this team will have. I was disappointed Hawkins didn’t contribute as coaches indicated he would be a hybrid back/receiver which I hoped was going to mean some misdirection with rocket sweeps and other plays.

    Defense was bad but it played hard. Missing players, especially Dutra, keep us from knowing what this defense will be. They often were in position but didn’t fit the seams which gave the back, often the QB, a seam to turn into. This should improve with playing time because it is more an experience issue. I was disappointed with tackling but once again this tends to improve with game experience. If this defense is going to help this team the missing players have to be the difference makers. When they get back on the field they have to be play makers or IU will struggle on defense this year.

    To wrap things up, we don’t really know how good SIU is. They have a number of D1 tranfers for they have skilled talent. The defense played much better the second half until the final five minutes. There are issues of concern but I also saw things to build on [in all areas of the team] and turn into solid team that wins more than people think.

  13. In a way, I was almost rooting for SIU to convert that 2-point try. Because IU didn’t deserve to win. I’m so dadgum sick and tired of watching this team put a ridiculously bad defense on the field year after year after year after year — only to then say it’s “improving” or “it’s a work in progress.” How on Earth can you score 48 points against an FCS team and win by one point. Good grief.

  14. I was optimistic coming into the season. I listened to the empty rhetoric and improved recruits on defense. That was horrific. There are better defenses on Friday’s in the hoosier state. Our players are so slow it is comical. Utterly pathetic. This is on Wikson and Glass. They should both be on notice. No more excuses.

  15. Now these are the sort of stimulating posts that make this site vivacious..Or does it make it rich and valvicious? vivacious…vesuvius…valvicious…

    Anyway….Look at all the blogging names! Look at the voluminous flow of new contributors that are busting out the dusty comment boxes so recently covered in cobwebs..They’re coming out faster than Sudfeld can bring back the Hoosiers with one 50-yard bomb fired out his one-arm bazooki against a full team of Egyptian Persian Dawgs of a breed Saluki…!.

    And to think all of this glorious posting and spew…. and classy crowd taking sniper aim at Wilson and the Hoosier “zombies” he embarrasses us with resurrected IU Football shame,, somehow, miraculously occurred within 12 hours of our little (and rapidly shrinking) rosy….cute…Sesame Street gathering place for all quintessential All-American fans of the cream and crimson…that make this place the sweetest-smelling blogging community.sweeter than the breezes coming off a wild flower patch growing just outback the balcony of Jeremy’s opened french doors at the HT offices…being stolen by a one man blog killer. .

    Blessed are these miracles.

  16. But back to football..I think SIU had a classy and well-coached football team….that played like all underdogs do(even the tall Egyptian variety)..They played to win..They played with reckless abandon. Their quarterbacks had spunk…Though not excessively plump, they had athleticism and some nice speed. They were fun to watch. They made a game very entertaining. We were fortunate to play against a team that didn’t just lay down and roll over. Tip your hats to them. Feed them a steak bone tonight. it’s a first game. There were a lot of shocking scores in college football yesterday. Nobody is shocked by the Hoosiers nearly losing against an inspired mid-major. It’s actually more shocking that we escaped.

  17. Look on the bright side. With the the suspended guys on the sideline and everybody else on the field, nobody got arrested.

  18. I can’t understand why tens of thousands of people did not want to enter Memorial Stadium to see the really tall flag pole and the largest American Flag in college sports? If there were really only 15,000 people in the stadium, Glass has a crisis on his hands.

  19. Podunker _ For whatever it is worth I assure you the attendance was in excess of 30,000 at the start of the game.

  20. And here’s hoping that Glass gets an angry earful from the fan base. His predecessor commented after the SIU loss eight (or whatever) years ago that when IUbb lost a game it shouldn’t have, his email inbox and phone lines would explode with ticked off messages, but after the SIU loss, nothing— you could hear the crickets chirping (or whatever it is that they do).

  21. Po, Just so you have the straight scoop there were easily 30k+(but certainly not 40k)(the heat was a bitch, like sweating while seated doing nothing kind of hot)in the stands Saturday, I was there. It also at times was loud for that size of crowd. By the way coachv is the crisis. I’ll say 1 more thing being which there was a sullen, stunned mood to the team prior to the game and the whole 1st half. I would suggest the 9 suspensions really put them in a funk and understandably so. Actually 1 and a 1/2 more things. SIU had terrific blocking schemes designed for their counters and zone reads against our 3-4. Well coached team and agreed with their call to go for 2. We should take a good look at their OL coach if we ever lose Frey. The whole game day experience developed over the last 3 years is pretty neat.

  22. Culture!! IU football has been the laughing stock of the NCAA for years, somehow the culture of of IU football has to change….the thing i find so funny here is SIU really had the feeling or belief that they could come into IU football stadium and leave with a win……how many other programs think the same thing…..i am sure that FIU, Western Kentucky and Wake Forest all fell and counted the game against IU as a WIN….WHY? because of the nature and culture of IU football..we (and the fans believe) are expected to lose…why else would SIU go for a two point…everyone give coach Wilson a chance (he has had five years – some say enough others not enough but somehow we must change the iU culture), we all saw the display of athletic ability from the freshman (j. Crawfard,A. Brown and J Cook)….the IU talent has improved…we just have to be patient and change our culture…as long as we believe we can lose and other teams believe they can come into our facility and beat us we will lose!!! we won this passed Saturday without all our starters….lets enjoy the victory and prepare for a large, noisy crowd for FIU…believe me when i say they are counting this game with IU as a victory…….GO IU

  23. Glad to hear there were more that 15K fans in Memorial Stadium, but even 30K fans is still very low attendance, even for IU Football. Did anyone see the crowd inside Marshall’s stadium? That place was rocking!

    As for changing the culture of IU Football, how do you do that, IU79? You change leadership, that’s how. And in this case, I’m not talking about just changing the head football coach. At IU, head football coaches are scapegoats. It starts at the very top of the organization, with the President, The Board of Trustees, the Athletic Director. The truth is that at IU, Football has never been important. That’s the legacy today’s Hoosier fans have inherited. The Hoosier Nation has been conditioned over generations to accept that football is not a priority. If you want to change the culture of an organization, change its leadership. Then support the new leader’s efforts to implement bold changes. The trouble with IU football’s culture is that the University’s leaders don’t believe they can transform IU Football into a winning program, and therefore pay it lip service at best. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they’d like IU to have a winning football program, but they’re not really committed to making that a reality.

  24. Uhhh. So a guy, the President, with 110,000+ students, 8 campuses providing 550+ academic programs; does he spend more than 1 minute a day thinking about IU football? Or basketball? Or any of the sports? Well. probably if a police report is involved. Probably the same with the Board of Trustees. Now the Athletic Director, he should be very worried.

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