Everything but a turnover for the Hoosiers

It’s hard to quibble with any defense that pitches a shutout and allows just 116 total yards.

But the one thing missing from the Indiana resume on Saturday was something the Hoosiers have had for 19 straight games — a turnover.

Despite holding Eastern Illinois to just a handful of plays on the plus side of midfield, IU could never jar the ball loose for a fumble or an interception — also snapping a streak 11 straight games with a pick — in a 52-0 victory.

“I just thought we played with a lot more confidence today,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “I just wanted our guys to feel that and to get off the field on those three and outs. I don’t know how many we had, but our third downs, whatever they were, they didn’t convert many on third downs and that’s huge. To me it’s all about third downs. The one negative, we didn’t get a takeaway, so we broke that streak that we had going.”

The best chance to keep the streak alive came in the fourth quarter, when a pass by EIU backup quarterback Harry Woodbery ricocheted off of three different Hoosiers before falling harmlessly to the ground.

It left Allen hardly able to contain himself.

“If we could catch, we would have probably had that one that bounced off, I think, three different guys,” he said. “I was going to jump out there myself and catch it, but that was our one for sure chance to get one. But, hey, those come in bunches. But the kids are playing hard, our defense is being disruptive, getting sacks and tackles for loss and that’s what we want to be doing. We want to be able to play outside the line of scrimmage of our opponents.”

IU has certainly been doing that, racking up eight tackles for loss and two sacks against the Panthers, spearheaded by James Head with a sack and 1 1/2 tackles for loss.

“Coach (Kane) Wommack was telling us from the jump that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to come out swinging and keep our foot on their neck the whole game,” Head said.

The result was the first shutout by Indiana since a 41-0 win over Rutgers on Nov. 18, 2017, the largest margin of victory in Memorial Stadium history and largest margin of victory (by shutout or not) since Oct. 14, 1944, in a 54-0 win over Nebraska. That was without linebacker Cam Jones, who sat out with a foot injury sustained in the opener against Ball State, while sophomore Reese Taylor made his debut at cornerback.

Regardless of opponent, that’s nothing Allen is willing to sneeze at.

“Well, bottom line is this: They averaged over 30 points a game last year. Went down to Arkansas in the SEC and scored over 20 points against them at their place,” Allen said.

Three QBs

Peyton Ramsey may be the backup quarterback, but he was able to put up some big numbers versus EIU.

Ramsey finished 13-of-14 (92.9 percent) on the day, which is a new single-game record for completion percentage at IU. He finished with 226 yards and a pair of TDs.

His 64-yard touchdown pass to Ronnie Walker was the second touchdown pass of 60-plus in Ramsey’s career.

“Just felt like it was real important to get Peyton some snaps this year because as we get into Big Ten play I don’t want his first live go to be in that kind of environment,” Allen said. “It’s a new system for him, too, even though he’s been here. So I just think that Michael (Penix) did his job and we felt comfortable where he was at and he got a whole game under his belt and half of this game.

“And so I just want to keep everybody fresh and the less hits, the better.”

Donavan Hale, who caught Ramsey’s last pass of the day, a 43-yard touchdown, still holds the redshirt junior in high regard.

“Peyton is still our quarterback, Jack (Tuttle) is too. All of them need reps,” Hale said. “We’re going to need all of them probably at some time. Like that one year, Ohio State, they had three quarterbacks and won a national championship, so you’re going to need everybody.”

Indiana’s 35 points in the first half Saturday was the program’s first 30-plus-point half since 31-point outburst on Georgia Southern in 2017.

Fresh faces

On top of the five freshmen that played versus Ball State, the Hoosiers got four more first-year players onto the field versus EIU.

Defensive linemen Sio Nofoagatoto’a and Beau Robbins and defensive backs Josh Sanguinetti and Larry Tracy III made their season debuts.

Another new face, sophomore defensive tackle Demarcus Elliot, a junior college transfer, got his first collegiate start.

12 comments

  1. Defense played well against an over matched opponent. Will be interesting to see how they hold up against Ohio State. IU did what they needed to do against EI and it didn’t appear anyone got hurt.

    Did anyone else notice Ball did not play? Was he benched because of his two dumb penalties last week? No mention of Ball’s absence in the press as far as I am aware. We need him on the field against Ohio State.

    1. Pre-game the announcers said Ball would not be starting and had to run stairs at the stadium during practices as a message to Marcelino about his penalties in the first game.

  2. Ball played some but didn’t start and as the game went on he didn’t play for very long. It seems coach Allen was really trying to get his attention. It was good to see the defense get a shut out but even better to see them continue to control EIU with the back ups in the game.

    1. V13, yes. I believe that reflects on the effectiveness of the scheme. It is hard to shut out any DI team whether FCS or FBS.

      Even Nevada scored six points yesterday…keeping the margin to 71.

    2. He’s been struggling because he’s playing out of position, and his play has reflected that. Coaches are trying to figure out how to get him into better spots, but he’s a ‘tweener who hasn’t adapted well. They’re considering whether a move to the second level may make sense.

  3. If Ball wasn’t playing because he was being disciplined for committing those stupid penalties during the BSU game, then I applaud TA for taking strong action. I’m guessing that is what happened because of the way TA addressed that issue in front of the media after last week’s game. I hate to think what will happen to Ball if he makes those selfish penalties again.

  4. Wonder how many geniuses still think Mayfield and the Browns will win the next Super Bowl…?
    Watch out Dick Fosbury, Baker may have just stolen your gig of a high bar and then a ______ .

  5. V13 – I was going by the participation chart which didn’t list Ball, and I didn’t see him while I was watching on TV, although I could have missed him. Agree that a shutout, even against someone like Eastern Illinois, is good.

    Bear Down – Interesting comment about the staff trying to figure out how to put Ball in better position to make plays and utilize his talent. Ball seems like he peaked his freshman year. He was all over the field making plays that year, but against Ball State, he was hardly noticeable. It’s a shame since he is such a freaky athlete, but thats’s probably the reason the bigger programs didn’t recruit him.

  6. This week one of the big boys comes to Memorial Stadium and we will see how much IU has improved. I think OSU is better under Day, his question will be recruiting but OSU pretty much does the recruiting anyway, and I want to see IU come out intense and getting after the Buckeyes having them wonder what they just stepped into. Whop showed he is getting ready with that run after the pass he had, we need more efforts like he had on that run. Our RBs, TEs, and WRs need to be shown that over and over telling them that if they can’t make that effort they don’t get on the field.

Leave a Reply