Honors start to roll in for IU’s Allen, players

Indiana’s players and coaches are starting to reap the rewards of a successful 2020 season.

On Tuesday, IU’s Tom Allen was named an AFCA coach of the year. Later that day, senior Ty Fryfogle was pegged as the Big Ten’s receiver of the year, along with five other Hoosiers on the all-conference offensive team.

Additionally, IU defensive coordinator Kane Wommack, who just accepted the head-coaching job at South Alabama, was picked as one of 15 semifinalists for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach.

“Two years in a row one of our coordinators has been in that position,” Allen said, referencing now-Fresno State head coach Kalen DeBoer, who led IU’s offense in 2019. “Also two years in a row where one of those coordinators has been named a head coach at the Division I level, which is a tremendous honor for them and this program, to be able to produce those opportunities for these guys.

“The play of our team, both sides of the football, has resulted in that.”

No. 7 IU (6-1) attained program-best marks in 2020, which put Allen in a position to win the American Football Coaches Association’s Region 3 honor. The AFCA’s other coach of the year winners, by region, were Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell (1), Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell (2), Marshall’s Doc Holliday (4), and San Jose State’s Brent Brennan (5).

The success of Allen, who is also on watch lists for the Paul “Bear” Bryant and Bobby Dodd national coach of the year awards, has made him the subject of speculation regarding other coaching vacancies. IU has won 11 of its last 14 Big Ten games, which is a program-best streak.

“Those are just mentioning, I’ve never talked to anybody about any jobs here, that’s the truth,” Allen said of the rumor mill. “To me, it’s kind of probably a natural outgrowth of the success we’re having, at a place that hasn’t had it in a long time. Everyone wants to know why.

“It’s an awesome thing to be at a place where other people want what you’ve created.”

One of the players other programs would certainly want is Fryfogle. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound senior is the first player from IU to win the Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year Award, which comes on the heels of a breakout season. The native of Lucedale, Miss., had more yards in seven games this season, 687, than he had in 13 games last year (604). Fryfogle also had seven touchdowns in 2020, more than doubling his three-score totals in ’18 and ’19.

Fryfogle’s yardage total is just eight yards behind Penn State’s Jahan Dotson for the Big Ten lead, but Fryfogle’s yards came in one less game. His 20.2-yards-per-catch average sits behind only Minnesota’s Chris Autman-Bell (20.9) in the conference.

Fryfogle exploded in the middle of this season. He set a new career-high with seven catches for 142 yards in a win over Michigan. All of those yards came in the first half. Fryfogle then posted the first back-to-back 200-yard receiving games in conference history, first with exactly 200 at Michigan State, and then 218 at Ohio State.

“That was always the goal, to get to a point like this, where I feel like I’m playing the best of my game,” Fryfogle said in November. “It took time, you know? Just getting better every year. I feel like I’m playing at the top of my game right now, but I just need to keep getting better every day.”

Fryfogle was also named first-team All-Big Ten by media members, one of several Hoosier offensive players to earn recognition Tuesday. On the second team, IU placed quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and running back Stevie Scott. Tight end Peyton Hendershot made the All-Big Ten third team. Receiver Whop Philyor and center Harry Crider received honorable mention.

Penix was honored despite a season-ending ACL tear in the second half versus Maryland. He finished with 1,645 passing yards in six games, which still tops the Big Ten.

Scott has 462 rushing yards but he is second in the Big Ten in rushing touchdowns with eight. Philyor ranks 10th in the conference in receiving yards with 414 on 36 grabs.

The conference will release all-conference winners on defense and special teams in the coming days.

“I’m really blessed,” Allen said, “to have an awesome group of men as coaches to work with and just an unbelievable group of players and support staff and everybody that’s part of this thing.”

6 comments

  1. Well deserved. Assuming he stays healthy though the bowl game, Fryfogle will be playing in the NFL next year. This should motivate a lot of HS wide receivers to give IU a second look. Fryfogle is proof that you don’t have to be the fastest player on the field in order to be an effective, even dominant wide receiver.

  2. It is good to see Hoosiers winning B1G awards to get recognized and this should also help recruiting top players to IU. If Penix gets back to start the season for 2021 he should be the 1st team QB but younger receiver will need to step up like Swinton did this year. I am glad Scott got recognized as he had a tough year but showed his ability as the season went along and scoring TDs at a rapid rate.

    Between this season and the awards our players are winning if top players IU wants don’t see coming to IU will accomplish what they want makes them too short sighted. Our coaches continue to find the diamonds in the rough but we need a more stable source of excellent talent.

  3. He wins B1G Receiver of the Year, but is only 2nd team all conference. Totally makes sense.

    You can see how slanted things are towards getting more OSU players in the 1st round of the draft, vs the merits on the field.

    Keep it up B1G. Keep giving IU bulletin board material. Love it.

  4. Since ‘the bowl committee’ thinks Iowa State is so great with 2 losses, one to a Sun Belt team by 17 points and 6th in the standings,….maybe they can match them with the Hoosiers in the ‘we’re over rated and you’re totally disrespected’ Bowl. IU 49 Cyclones 6.

    1. The bowl committee is just showing the country their incompetence while the rankings in both polls show IU ranked #7. I think the committee is about tv ratings and not the best teams that earned it on the field. Rating Iowa State so high looks like it is all about pleasing the B12. The committee didn’t learn about putting OK in was a blow out.

      Brad, like you say it just gives motivation to our team and players to keep striving to gain more respect. I hope this leads to re-evaluating the committee and who is on it.

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