Notebook: Allen laments calls not going IU’s way

Indiana couldn’t catch a break on Saturday.

And until his Hoosiers can become consistent winners, IU coach Tom Allen said he isn’t expecting the breaks to come.

“I understand how this all works,” Allen said. “We have to earn the right to get those breaks, period. End of discussion.”

There were several calls during the 27-20 overtime loss to Michigan that could have gone either way, including some that appeared to be clearly tilted in Indiana’s direction.

But those calls never came to be.

Like the fourth-quarter onside kick that Indiana’s Simmie Cobbs appeared to recover. Or the second-quarter catch by Cobbs that would have gone for a big gain.

Or even the Rashard Fant interception that appeared to give IU the first-half jolt it needed.
Of course, none of those plays turned in IU’s favor.

The frustration began midway through the second quarter, when Cobbs made a dazzling sideline catch that turned into a 62-yard gain. But the play was wiped out when officials ruled that when Cobbs was forced out prior to the catch, he failed to re-establish himself in bounds.

On Michigan’s ensuing possession, Fant seemed to have IU’s first takeaway of the game, intercepting Wolverines quarterback John O’Korn down the Hoosier sideline. But officials ruled that Fant had been too handsy prior to the pick, calling pass interference on the Indiana senior corner.

Allen appeared apoplectic on the sideline, ripping off his headset as he snarled at the officiating crew.
It wouldn’t be the last time he did.

“I saw a great defensive play with a great pick,” Allen said. “We had the ball going (toward the Michigan end zone). That’s what I saw.”

Allen — and the rest of IU’s sideline — later took issue with the ruling on the onside kick attempt with 3:27 to play in regulation.

The play seemed to work perfectly, with the ball bouncing into Cobbs’ hands along the Michigan sideline.
“We prepared all week for that situation,” Cobbs said. “You never know when it’s going to come. I should have made that play.”

It took a review to determine that he had not, with officials declaring that Cobbs was out of bounds by the time he established possession.

“He had a foot inbounds with the ball and he had it controlled,” Allen said. “So they didn’t see it that way.”

So what will it take for the breaks to come?

“We have to be a football team that’s competing week-in, week-out for the Big Ten Championship,” Allen said. “That’s what I believe.”

Not a great start

Field position was a problem Indiana had to solve almost all day.

Three of IU’s first four drives started at the 16-, 13- and 16- yard lines. The Hoosiers also struggled to build off of Morgan Ellison’s eight-yard touchdown on Indiana’s first series of the second half.

Following the scoring drive, IU saw three consecutive possessions start inside its own 20.

“We struggled,” Allen said. “Their punter did a good job, and I thought we just didn’t get enough first downs in key times in there to get the field flipped … That’s a big deal. We talked about it all week long, how big that was going to be. It proved to be true.”

Nothing to take away

The Hoosiers had opportunities for a few takeaways Saturday.

The finished, however, without a single one.

Of course, there was Rashard Fant’s interception that was negated by a questionable pass interference call. Safety Jonathan Crawford and linebacker Chris Covington also had opportunities for picks.

“We just got to catch the ball,” Allen said. “I tell you, you don’t play defense because you can’t catch, OK? You play defense because you’re a great athlete. So no excuses there. Just got to catch the ball.”

Calling the shots

With nearly four minutes remaining in Saturday’s fourth quarter, Tom Allen put punt returner J-Shun Harris on a mission.

Allen wanted a special teams score, and he nearly got one.

Harris returned the punt 53 yards to the Michigan 20-yard line, setting up an eventual touchdown drive that ended with an eight-yard scoring reception by true freshman Whop Philyor.

“I said, ‘Go score,” Allen recounted after the game. “‘I said, ‘Hey, let’s get one. Let’s house one,’ and he almost did. He’s the reason why we got the chance to keep on playing. So great job by J-Shun. Great to have him back.”

Harris now has 256 yards in punt return yards this season, including 74 on Saturday.

End zone

Indiana allowed less than 100 yards passing in back-to-back games for the first time since 1989. Michigan was held to 58 passing yards and only 329 yards overall. … Former IU quarterback Nate Sudfeld was among the former players who returned to Bloomington for Saturday’s game. Sudfeld, a member of the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad, was on the field with the team during pregame stretches. … Safety Chase Dutra posted a career-high 12 solo tackles, while matching his personal high of 13 total tackles. … Luke Timian’s 95 receiving yards were a career high. … True freshman receiver Philyor’s eight-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter was the first of his career.


  1. Coach Allen is correct to say,if your team isn’t one of the Big Ten Elite, your team is going to get hosed by the game officials. The game officials favor the teams that has the best chance of being in the bowl playoffs picture. As the old saying goes, “you have to knock the champ out, because you aren’t going to win on points”.

  2. IU had several plays they could have made to balance out the ones that went against them. Simmie Cobbs is a good receiver but needs to not get manhandled by college DBs. There was no real reason to get driven out of bounds on the 62 yd catch. I hope he realizes he needs another year of college if he is do be prepared for the NFL. Ramsey needs to throw sideline passes in bounds to give his receivers a shot at getting the ball in bounds. He missed two chances to score in OT when he gave the ball to Ellison but Ramsey could have walked into the endzone. He also didn’t get the ball to his open receiver until too late. Yes IU got the short end of calls but also left many plays on the field and coaches will focus on those plays. For those short comings IU scored points against the UM defense in the 4th quarter which hadn’t given up any points in the 4th all year.

  3. The only reason this ending came as late as it did was the Meatchicken penalties kept IU in the game and kept offering IU better field position. Otherwise their 271 rushing yards and 9 more minutes of possession was devastating to DeBord and his no clue staff.

  4. “And until his Hoosiers can become consistent winners, IU coach Tom Allen said he isn’t expecting the breaks to come. I understand how this all works,” Allen said. “We have to earn the right to get those breaks, period. End of discussion.”

    My point exactly. The refs have a built-in bias that favors the higher ranked, more reputable team. It
    s total BS.

  5. At least Cobbs had the class to say “I should have made the play” instead of griping about the call. If Allen keeps it up he’ll be at the top of the list for the Hayden Fry Biggest Whiner in the Big Ten” trophy.

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