Lagow calm and confident during IU’s 4th-quarter rally #iufb

It didn’t always go well for Richard Lagow and the Indiana offense.

Lagow had to navigate a learning curve in his IU debut Thursday, while also trying to jumpstart an offense prone to misfires.

But by night’s end, there was a reward for everyone’s patience.

Lagow settled in over the final 20 minutes of action, leading the Hoosiers to a season-opening win at Florida International with a couple touchdown drives when IU needed a boost.

The junior college transfer was cool and calm, finishing 18-for-27 for 240 yards and a touchdown. His most meaningful chunk of production came in the final quarter, when Lagow completed four of his five passes for 95 yards.

IU tailored its playbook to Lagow, including the calls that he felt comfortable making in his first Football Bowl Subdivision game.

It turned into a fine ending to a solid debut, one that Lagow is eager to build from.

“(There’s) a lot of work to be done,” Lagow said. “I think it was a good start. It was fun. It was gritty out there with the team. The offensive line did an unbelievable job keeping me safe and having my confidence up. The receivers made some unreal plays and the running backs always (helped). … But (there’s) a lot of work to be done.”

Kevin Wilson installed Lagow has his starting quarterback during the second week of fall camp, and on Thursday, Lagow showcased the tools that made his coach comfortable with that decision.

He took off and ran four times, including on a well-executed six-yard keeper that went for a score in the fourth quarter. It was a glimpse at the kind of quarterback mobility and ability to extend plays that Indiana did not truly have under his predecessor, Nate Sudfeld.

He showed off his arm strength, and though he occasionally missed the mark, that can be harnessed in time. The heat on his bullet passes was impressive.

Perhaps most importantly, he made good decisions. There were very few forced throws, and by the time he had IU’s offense rolling late in the night, Lagow was hitting the soft spots of the FIU defense with precision.

“We missed a couple plays,” Lagow said. “But I didn’t linger on it, and my receivers came up to me and dapped me up like, ‘Hey, go get ’em next time,’ because they know I can make that throw. They believe in me and they let me know that. It makes it so much easier for me to just turn the page and go on to the next play.”

Wilson was mostly pleased, too. Entering fall camp, the IU coach was looking for two qualities from his hopefuls at the position. He wanted someone who could manage the offense and take care of the football. Anything else would be a bonus.

Lagow succeeded on both counts Thursday, especially late.

“He’s been pretty calm,” Wilson said. “We tried to work hard on what he liked. We had (52) rushes, so we didn’t have to expose him. He didn’t get hit a lot, which was good. He didn’t make a lot of judgments like, ‘Why did you go there?’ You didn’t see him throwing into a lot of crowd deals.”

And if Lagow had to make his debut in a road game, Wilson was glad it was at a place like FIU.

He pointed to the 2014 season when then-freshman Zander Diamont was pressed into action during the second half of the season. His debut came at home against Michigan State, but he then had to follow up with trips to Michigan and Ohio State.

The crowd at half-full FIU Stadium didn’t generate enough noise or stress to rattle Lagow, and that was a bonus.

“Some of those things weigh on you and you don’t throw as well,” Wilson said. “It was good to be on the road. It was probably fortunate for him that we played in a stadium that wasn’t as demanding as he’s going (to be in). Next time we go on the road we’ll be in C-bus (at Ohio State), and it’ll be rockin’ and rollin’.”

One step at a time.

Lagow recognizes the need to get his offense rolling for all four quarters. He’ll get that opportunity next Saturday at home against Ball State.

“I’m just proud of the guys on our team,” Lagow said. “We fought hard the whole night and came out with the W.”

6 comments

  1. IU win ok. However, team should have won against inferior competition that they are going to meet in big ten. Good plays were made as well as some mistakes. Also IU did not have a few players, notably Cobbs + Patrick when ready. Ball State beats Georgia State vs. IU beating Florida International. IU does have some potential for winning season. Recent history is not great against Ball State even though IU should win if they are going to have successful season even by IU standards. IN CONCLUSION THE TAKE AWAY FROM F.I. VS. IU GAME IS A DREAM IN PROGRESS BUT REALITY TO HOW GOOD IU REALLY IS; IS VERY LIMITED. GAME JUST DOES NOT SAY MUCH BECAUSE LEVEL OF COMPETITION.

  2. T, this game is just a good start and not much different than MSU handling Furman or any number of other games. The best part of the game was the way the defense played. They need to play better yet we saw a group that played hard and together. The 4th quarter showed how well the offense can play. Now they need to show they can play the entire game that way. BSU will be the next step building off of this past game.

  3. If you ask most college football coaches the biggest improvement during the season is between game 1 and game 2. Remember, unlike the NFL, there is no preseason with games that don’t count. All off season you play against yourself and not against a defense wanting to rip your head off every play and college football has the longest off season of any sport in the US. Teams will look ugly in that first game, i.e. Oklahoma, Northwestern and almost TN. As Aaron Rogers would say
    R E L A X.

  4. The difference between MSU and IU is MSU is already proven to be an excellent program. It is different. However, a positive start.

  5. t, remember every good program had to start as a poor program at some point. People doubted Allen could make a difference in the defense so fast but as the FIU game showed, he has improved the defense so far. The defense played much harder and as a team in this game and I hope they continue to improve as we go along.

    The next game against BSU will tell if the improvements occur on offense, defense, and kicking game. IU’s team is hungry to win more games this year and have worked very hard in practice to make it happen. My guess is they will work hard this week and come out playing better than against FIU.

  6. A little off topic but is any of the scoop writers going to do a follow up of Hoosiers in the pros and where they ended up after final cuts?

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