Hoosiers still hurting after 29-7 loss at Penn State #iufb

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Out from a set of double doors, down a corridor and through the innards of an emptying stadium, they walked with the same defeated looks on the same weary faces.

A 29-7 loss to Penn State produced a parade of wounded Hoosiers emerging from the Beaver Stadium visiting locker room one after another, scattering toward team buses and back toward safe haven. There was the emotional burden of a thorough, unmitigated defeat.

And then there was the physical toll.

Receiver Isaac Griffith hopped away on crutches, Zander Diamont ambled out of the building with his right arm in a sling, and Nate Sudfeld left the scene with his left foot still in a walking boot a week after aggravating an ankle injury.
By Saturday evening, a potential breakthrough road trip to Happy Valley had produced little more than another punch to the gut for Indiana.

The Hoosiers (4-2) returned home left to reconcile with their worst performance in six tries this season. Saturday’s game saw an IU offense exposed without a single dynamic playmaker left in its bunch, a defense that alternated between big plays and frustrating mistakes and an overall effort that coach Kevin Wilson called disappointing.

“I think there was just a little bit more selfishness with our actions as individuals today,” Wilson said. “(We were) not playing and functioning as a football team needs to function. Penn State was a much better football team across the board and beat us soundly.”

For the second consecutive week, Indiana was left to ponder what it could have done with a healthy team. But there’s no guarantee that injury concerns will disappear as the Hoosiers cross into the second half of the season next week with a homecoming game against Rutgers.

Sudfeld and Howard both dressed and appeared on the field during warmups, but neither saw game action. Wilson said Sudfeld was cleared to play, but the quarterback’s bad ankle didn’t allow him enough mobility to move around, or plant and throw. Howard, meanwhile, wasn’t even taped up and did not participate in any sort of pregame activity.

Then came a pair of injuries to Diamont, who was lost in the third quarter after taking a second straight cringeworthy hit. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound sophomore’s shoulder was driven into the turf and his head bounced off the ground. By the time third-string quarterback Danny Cameron took the field for his first career appearance late in that third period, Indiana’s unenven offense was already in a deep hole.

Wilson confirmed after the game that Diamont was dealing both with concussion issues and a shoulder injury.

“We’ll get back and get it looked at,” Wilson said. “I don’t know the extent of anything with his shoulder. If the head was what it was — they said he was out. We’ll get back and get him looked at and move on.”

Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg threw two touchdown passes while posting 262 yards through the air. Hackenberg also hurt Indiana on the ground, running for two scores and keeping drives alive with his feet.

Indiana’s defense had moments of intrigue after forcing four three-and-outs, recording four sacks and recovering a fumble but missed tackles and big gains were still a problem. Combine those deficiencies with an ailing offense, and the Hoosiers were buried.

“We didn’t stress Penn State, and that’s a part of the passing game, because when you cannot stretch the field or really strike the fear in them that you’re going to throw the ball, they can really function and load up, and you’re sledding uphill,” Wilson said. “Today, we did a lot of uphill sledding. Credit their defense for showing that we have a lot of work to do. We’ll keep that and get us back on track here.”

Diamont and Cameron completed 15 of their 33 combined passes for a total of 155 yards. Cameron threw one interception, but it came on a catchable ball that went through the hands of tight end Anthony Corsaro.

While its offense stumbled out of the gate, Indiana nearly caught a break midway through the first half when Tegray Scales forced a fumble while sacking Hackenberg. Zack Shaw recovered the ball and the turnover would’ve allowed IU to take over in the red zone, but a hands-to-the-face penalty on Darius Latham gave Penn State new life on IU’s side of the field.

Two plays after the flag, Penn State was in the end zone on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Hackenberg to Brandon Polk.

“That’s a game-changer right there,” linebacker Marcus Oliver said. “That changes how Penn State runs whey they come back out. It changes a lot.”

Offensive momentum eluded IU until its third drive of the day, when Diamont answered Hackenberg’s touchdown pass with a scoring run of his own. Back-to-back completions to Griffith moved the Hoosiers from the Penn State 43 to the 12, where Diamont scrambled to the right and ran easily into the end zone for the tying score with 4:11 left in the first quarter.

Credit Griffith for getting the Hoosiers downfield, but the redshirt sophomore saw his day ended in the second half when he had to be helped off the field with what appeared to be a serious leg or knee injury.

The Hoosiers’ lone scoring drive was an instance of fleeting momentum for a side that struggled the rest of the way. Hackenberg engineered a pair of touchdown drives in the final six minutes of the first half, using a 39-yard scoring pass to DaeSean Hamilton and a one-yard quarterback keeper to give the Lions a 19-7 halftime lead.

Penn State entered Saturday averaging 328 yards of total offense, and had 310 yards by the break. The Lions outgained IU 172-13 in the second quarter, and amazingly, Indiana needed the 17 yards it picked up on the final two throwaway plays of the half to boost that figure into positive digits.

Hackenberg added a five-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter and Tyler Davis kicked a 30-yard field goal with 5:33 remaining to provide the final margin.

That Indiana never responded was unsurprising given its limitations. But a response next week at home may be critical to the direction of IU’s season.

“I just think our football team was a little bit more individual oriented today,” Wilson said. “We didn’t play as well as a
group across the board. We need our leaders to tighten up, we need to tighten down the screws. We can be a lot better, we need to be. We’ll have to be if we want to reach some goals we’ve set. Disappointed we didn’t play better.”

19 comments

  1. Darn it! This was a PSU team that IU could have defeated. This was a Big Ten road game that IU could have won. PSU is not a good football team, and Hackenberg is not a good QB (in spite of the hype he enjoyed coming out of High School). But once again, injuries and lack of depth produced another loss. It’s a decades old story. A few key players go down, and IU’s lack of depth causes a loss. I’m guessing Sudfeld’s ankle is worse than the team is letting on. But let’s hope I’m wrong and that he can play and be productive next week. PSU and Rutgers were two teams a healthy IU team could have beaten. While winning eight games is no longer likely, IU can still go to a bowl. But without Sudfeld, well ………..

  2. Our defense continues to come up with huge turnovers. We just couldn’t capitalize. Devine Redding looked like he has a major lack of vision. He missed several holes and just ran into the backs of his own linemen. The play calling to start the game was mind boggling. I don’t think we handed it off until the 3rd series. The lack of speed on offense showed big time today, also. On to Rutgers!

  3. Don’t ever want to see Zander Diamont at QB again. Cameron has a stronger arm. He should be the next man in.

  4. I was impressed with Cameron. He had two passes knocked down and at least three good passes dropped (Corsaro caused that int and dropped another pass). Cameron keeps his eyes up the field through the entire play, steps up into the pocket and demonstrated that he can stand in when he knows he’s going to take a big shot. IU’s D-line made some really stupid mistakes in the second half. 4th and three and they jump offsides, giving PSU a first down in the red zone. I believe they jumped offside three times in the second half. Really stupid mistakes.

    Redding runs hard and delivers the blow to the defenders, but he does miss some obvious holes and does not have the speed to get around the corners. At least some running backs lower down on the depth chart got some experience today.

  5. IU will be lucky to win 1 game in the B1G their O line was way over rated coming into conference play. Sad.

  6. IU O line is always over rated because even though they do pretty well against lesser competition as season moves forward against better competition they often do not do so well.

  7. Demo, your comment in # 5 is ridiculous. IU’s O-line is not the problem, and they were not overrated. Without the starting quarterback, and without a top quality running back, and without receivers who reliably catch the ball (at least six good passes were dropped today), IU’s offense could not be very dynamic. Penn State dared IU to beat it with the passing game today, and with two young and inexperienced QBs, and very young receivers, we simply couldn’t do it. If Sudfeld and Howard had played this game, I think IU’s O-line would have appeared to be much better, and the outcome would have been different.

    IU’s lack of depth is the problem.

  8. This team is going nowhere for a variety of reasons, the main one being a head coach who simply can not get his recruits to execute fundamental football for 60 minutes. Five years of barely mediocre results is enough.

  9. Seems to me if you can muster up enough to take Rutgers at home, you’re probably not likely to win two more to become bowl eligible given a B1G schedule. So, next week is essentially a must win regardless of who’s healty.

  10. Podinker. Yes they are. Take a look at the rest of the big ten. IU O-line will finish in the bottom of the B1G again. Can’t win if they can’t protect the QB and open holes in the B1G.

  11. Wilson has now been flagged 4 times in 2 games for 30 yards. Just like IU’s inglorious b-ball mentor a neurotic, overmatched, control freak. I don’t know what is harder to watch; OSU qbacks slapping their hands together like seals or every IU quarterback during this idiot’s tenure, slapping the ground. Kind if reminds me Joe Montana, John Unitas, Tom Brady……..NOT!
    With Wilson and Johns calling the offense, at full strength, maybe 6 wins. Within depleted outfit they are the worst team in the league. Maybe Randy Edsel and KW can hook up with an arena team. Yes, not so ‘Devine’ has no field vision.

  12. Good to see the critics out since they have been hiding during the wins. IU was going to have a tough go against a PSU defense that is ranked near the top in national rankings. Add in the injuries to Zander and there was no threat at all from the offense. Zander and Griffith were starting to develop a nice combination in the passing game but Griffith also goes down with an injury.

    This IU team is good when its starters are healthy as they can stress a defense and score points. The defense can create turnovers despite not being strong enough to shut anyone down. IU’s success this year has been an offense than can crank out 1st downs until the D gets too tight then they can go on top for the quick score; add in a defense that creates turnovers and we have a team that wins close games. IU isn’t as strong on offense that they can absorb the injuries they had for this game. It will take getting healthy to have the combination that won the first 4 games.

    In the B1G everyone works to beat their opponent, look at MSU tonight as the hung on to beat Rutgers.

  13. Vesuvius, this critic has consistently been on KW for a long time – not because of his recruiting – but because of his coaching. Injuries aside, his won/lost record and FBS statistical rankings tell the story of a coach who needs to go.

  14. Ok, as for the loss at PSU, completely expected. Before the season began, the consensus was that if we made a bowl this year, that would be measurable progress. We said that we needed to win all 4 of non conference games and 2 b1g matches which would most likely be Rutgers and PU. Well, we won the non conference matches and had a solid outing against Osu so then critics thought we could take PSu on the road…a completely unrealistic assumption given the current level of our program. We have improved and will continue to do so. We’ve had a number of key injuries which we said that the beginning would likely impair our quest for a bowl. I believe that despite all this, we will make a bowl. It’s going to be tough and we won’t know until the last game with PU but I think we’ll do it particularly if we can get Nate and Jordan back.

    As for the CKW critics, tell you what…ill put calls into Sabin, Meyer and a few other coaches that the critics here might find acceptable. I’ll try to entice them into coming to IU to take over our storied program. I’ll let you all know what they say when they call me back

  15. Of course it hurts to lose one of the top 5 QB’s in Indiana football; one of the top 10 RB’s in the country; your #2 QB who has moments of brilliance. But IU is the worst tackling team I have seen in college football: behind SIU, W KY, Wake, even FL International. If the game were touch, Indiana would be 6-0; but it is tackle! If you can’t tackle how can you win? Then you add that we can’t catch the ball consistently. Then you add that the O Line is very over-rated, Indiana could not open even modest holes against either OSU or PSU. Then you add really terrible play calling on first down, an average of 1 yard gained or less against PSU. It is looking like a real struggle to reach 6 wins for IU! No 6 wins=no Wilson!

  16. Al look at the stats and tell me who is the better QB
    Diamont 9-17-0 52.94 % 90 0 3-15 97.41
    Cameron 6-16-1 37.50 % 65 0 1-13 59.13 I give Cameron one more completion due to the TE missing his pass.

    On top of the stats Diamont puts pressure on defenses as they have to defend his running especially if the coaches will use read option on runs. Joe Montana didn’t have a strong arm either but look at what he did in the NFL. Cameron has a long way to go before he is ready to be a starting QB in college. Diamont has proven he can play at the B1G level and creates more problems for defenses.

  17. Chaz, he doesn’t need to go as IU is a tough school to coach and with the recruits we have will continue to get better. For those of you that can’t figure out what it is like to coach football at IU then leave. The recruits keep getting better and as time goes by the team will improve and win more games. We are in the toughest division of the B1G and look at Nebraska who wanted the coach gone what has happened to their football program. If Wilson hadn’t been given bad advice about Mallory as DC our defense would be much better already but the new DC is making our defense better. It takes time to turn around a losing program. As one of the other posters said the best coaches don’t want to come here and we have one that loves being here and working hard to turn the program around.

  18. Chonnie the reason the QBs hit the ground [I don’t like it either] so the C knows when they are ready and the center can snap the ball when the signal is called. It is because in noisy stadiums centers can’t always hear what the QB is saying especially when there are several play changes. Many shotgun QBs have some signal that they use for the center whether you or I like it.

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