Nothing special about special teams in loss to Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Addressing poor special teams play was one of Tom Allen’s first objectives as Indiana’s coach.

Eight games into the season, the Hoosiers are still a work in progress.

IU’s special teams played a significant role in Saturday’s 42-39 loss at Maryland, allowing a punt block that was returned for a touchdown and yielding a big second-half kick return that led to points late in regulation.

“Special teams didn’t play good at all tonight, in all phases,” IU senior Chase Dutra said. “Huge kickoff that we let go. The punt that got blocked. That was the difference in the game right there — special teams. That’s why you have to emphasize it so much.”

It appeared that senior Greg Gooch missed on his protection assignment that led to the punt block by Darnell Savage, who scooped the ball and returned it 16 yards for the score.

Allen called it inexcusable.

“He has a job to do and he missed his guy,” Allen said. “That’s extremely costly.”

Indiana was trying to kick away from Maryland’s top return men Ty Johnson and Taivon Jacobs, but got burned by Javon Leake — the Terps’ No. 3 return option.

Leake’s 82-yard late in the third quarter set up Maryland’s go-ahead touchdown drive moments later.

“Guys gotta cover,” Allen said. “You kick the ball off, you gotta go cover and you gotta go tackle. But I know that you get exposed sometimes in those areas because of the lack of speed. It makes it hard.”

IU also had a point-after attempt blocked and kicker Griffin Oakes booted a pair of kickoffs out of bounds.

Ellison, Majette don’t travel

Indiana’s backfield proceeded without two of its top options on Saturday.

Neither lead carrier Morgan Ellison nor Mike Majette made the trip to Maryland after recently suffering unspecified injuries.

“They’re out,” Allen said. “We’ll hope to get them back. It’s not a season-ending situation, but they weren’t even healthy enough to even make the trip. We got a lot of guys banged up.”

Cole Gest started for IU and scored his first career touchdown on a 23-yard reception in the first quarter. He carried the ball 12 times for 38 yards, while also making two catches for 28 yards.

Tyler Natee, who has missed most of the season with an injury, dressed and traveled with the team for the first time this season. Natee did not receive a carry.

No update on Ramsey

Whether Peyton Ramsey will be healthy enough to play next week against Wisconsin may not be clear until sometime in the coming days.

Allen had no update on the redshirt freshman quarterback, who twice left Saturday’s game due to what appeared to be lower body injuries.

The first hit Ramsey took came on a straight shot to his knees by Maryland defensive back Qwuantrezz Knight. Ramsey was fitted for a brace on his right knee and returned to action.

But his stay didn’t last long.

The quarterback required medical attention again late in the second half and did not return. Ramsey finished 31-for-41 for 279 yards and a career-high three passing touchdowns.

Backup Richard Lagow threw for 131 yards, completing 12 of his 21 passes.

“I know he’s injured and that’s why we made the switch,” Allen said of Ramsey, “but he’s tougher than nails and I got so much respect for him. But Richard, I told him, ‘Hey, you gotta be ready to go,’ and he stepped in there and did a great job. We got two quarterbacks and we’ll play the one that’s healthy.”

Philyor steps forward

Indiana seemed to find an offensive weapon for the future on Saturday.

Freshman receiver Whop Philyor had an outstanding performance for the Hoosiers, finishing with 13 receptions for 127 yards — both career highs. He took a shovel pass from Lagow 11 yards for a score in the third quarter.

“Gotta have the heart of a lion,” Philyor said of his approach. “That’s what my dad says, ‘You have the heart of a lion.’ Be tough. That’s it.”

End zone

Simmie Cobbs authored his third career game with 10 or more receptions, finishing with 10 catches for a team-best 138 yards and two touchdowns. … Luke Timian caught 13 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. … Cobbs, Timian and Philyor became the first IU trio to record 10 or more receptions each in a single game in program history. … Linebacker Tegray Scales led IU with eight tackles, including a half sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. … Defensive lineman Jacob Robinson recorded his first career blocked kick.


  1. T.A. immaturity of head coaching in IU challenge is demonstrated. To much preaching with slogans and power phrases vs. common sense, patience, and implementation. Example: emphasis on Virginia win which was excellent win making Ramsey (not a great talented qb) permanent starter and clearly forgetting about Lagow in games until yesterday. Though Lagow performance in games is trying patience this is a year for IU to use Ramsey and Lagow due to lack of completeness in talent at qb position. (I am not sure about Tronti…He may not be that good either, but if he is any good play him if needed. Saving him for what? Go recruit qb position during next 3 years though apparently Qb’s just have very little want or respect regarding IU football.

    1. I wonder if hopping, spinning, running/pacing up and down a sideline, emotional oversell, and the inner turmoil of a ‘Tasmanian Devil’ is a characteristic of all Tom’s…?

      Tom Allen and Tom Crean …Tightly wound is aTommy world.

  2. I don’t quite get why they don’t have more plays for Ramsey to throw downfield. He shouldn’t have heave the ball 60 yds., 30 to 35 yds. to a wide receiver seems quite possible and would help with running the football. He done this in the spring game. Surely he hasn’t regressed .

  3. T.A. jumping in the arms are on back of someone on sidelines after pass interception. Defense to embarrassed to do that again. Maybe, that was T. C.’s problem. Team just to embarrassed.

  4. He is a Mo Valley or MAC conference good talent level qb trying to play big ten fb…like several other IU qb’s.

  5. A lot of qb’s would look MAC level when not surrounded by top talent…top running backs to balance an attack…to receivers…top protection, top play-calling, etc.

    Having no supporting cast leaves him labeled as a loser. Indiana Football is so much more than a quarterback problem. Very thin team very thin on players anywhere near the athleticism and talent found on the Murderer’s Row of teams he’s gone up against.
    Outside of a team with the fortunes of going on the road to play at Memorial, the road is generally pretty hostile in any conference. Ramsey has played against some of the best teams in the country…When not against those teams(home and away), he’s been in a road battle .
    Awfully brutal to be knocking the kid with that sort of small sample set against some very deep, national stage contending, competition.

    And we will give Archie Miller time to cleanse out the Crean…Allen should be given the same leeway. If you don’t like the choices, all the weight should be on Fred rather than asking for a qb’s head. Fred is responsible for the instability in the program; an already struggling program attempting to get out of a permanent cellar that has enough challenges beyond making a revolving door for unproven coaches.

  6. Not making excuses(well, sort of), but the teams IU Football faced in the front part of the schedule is akin to our basketball team having their first ten games of the season against UNC, Duke, Michigan State, Arizona, and UK a pair each.
    It’s brutal and easily disheartening..If you can’t grab/steal one victory, each subsequent week looks more daunting than the last.
    And football is such a short season…There really is no room to stumble while fighting against some of the best teams in the country.

    1. No, your opinions aren’t biased and misguided at all.

      Wilson is gone. We can’t bring him back. It’s Allen’s first year. Whether or not his offensive team is inept doesn’t change the fact that it takes time to optimize your players and your staff. I have a hard time believing we have the depth and talent to comfortably compete with the Murderer’s Row of teams that have, for the most part, popped the balloon of hopes. Purdue exciting? In my world, that’s called an oxymoron. Purdon’t was playing an unranked Nebraska team(pummeled by OSU and Wisconsin) struggling to find it’s old lore and traditions in football(much like IU hoops).
      How many times did Wilson change assistants and coordinators….? I do believe Allen was his 3rd DC.. Now, because Fred has initiated a top change to the program, it is on reset once again.
      As a very funny contributor added to this site recently, the only realistic hopes appearing lost is another exciting trip reserved for .500 football teams to a ‘Urinal Cake’ Bowl. Our bowls under fresh and exciting Wilson had “pin” and “farms” in their prestigious titles. Let’s keep it real. Getting to that level of bowl is one win above showing up for work.

  7. Well said H4H, none of us are satisfied with the losses but the sky isn’t falling. Rating for class 2018 is the best we have seen since the 1980s unfortunately many in the B1G are recruiting better too. I do wish the offensive coaches would look at the rapid pace and realize it isn’t giving the advantage it could. Be more concerned with strategy and give the defense a break. It took Wilson several years to learn this lesson so I hope the current offensive staff can figure it out before it is too late for this season.

    No one knows what kind of HC Tom Allen will be but he deserves some time to show what he can do.

  8. Wilson didn’t have to figure anything out he just had to get a running game to compliment the aerial attack. Not hard to figure out. DeBord can’t even figure out who his playmakers are. Highly inept.

  9. I have said before Ramsey is a gamer and he is playing his best to his ability. So does Lagow. I agree that IU fb lacks overall talent as a team overall to win 7+ in big 10 or 14 or whatever it is on a consistent basis. Plus I have been and am a supporter of T.A. However, as I stated before given the situation at QB whether you start Ramsey or Lagow does not matter. A strategy should have been laid out with several series of plays for each QB during practice for game time. Both qb’s should have been utilized instead of forgetting about Lagow until last Saturday due to Ramsey getting beat up. There was to much emphasis on Virginia win which was a good win to make complete switch to Ramsey and not include Lagow. T.A. showed immature analysis of what qb situation is. Lagow played against tough competition also.

    1. A strategy should have been laid out with several series of plays for each QB

      In the past, we have seen many comment on just how much such a strategy upsets synergy on a team. I can remember countless arguments dating back to Tre Roberson of how a head coach needs to decide and stick with one guy under center.

      I’m not advocating one way or the other…or if it should be week-to-week decision process, but there has been harsh criticism(and I’m sure much of that criticism can go beyond isolated comments by someone here) when our head coach treats the position like a revolving door(extrapolating such decisions into harms at the recruiting level as well).

      I’m sure many would argue that Lagow should have been given a bit more patience. IU is a tough enough place to receive ESPN/media attention. Big bowls tend to be a rare spotlight …and a qb is always at the center of such spotlight. When you come to IU, it’s a given that the odds you’ll get to demonstrate your talents on the biggest stages is very slim…? And now you’re even going to limit even more attention/spotlight for the very key position on a notorious bottom-feeding team by revolving the position in a small sample of selectively marketed contests?

      So when you recruit the next “star” qb, what is the sales pitch?

  10. You design several series for 2 qb’s because lack of talent at qb. In IU ‘ s case it would give them best chance to win this year. (this season maybe a game or 2 currently up to now…of course this is easy to say since they have lost all their big ten games). Lagow will be gone next year. Star qb’s are not staying or coming to IU however, the sales pitch would be the opportunity to play at school in big ten. This sales pitch has not worked very well. Though, next year IU will have athletic qb coming in because IU will be the only major school to give him a chance to play qb. (He is small but athletic…that is the?). Other major schools want him for different positions.

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