The Spring Game: Hoosiers 27, Indiana 24

With the fate of the IU spring game hanging in the balance, junior quarterback Adam Follett escaped pressure and found running back Leneil Himes wide open in the right flat after he released from his block. Himes waltzed into the end zone for a 12-yard score to give the Hoosiers squad a 27-24 lead over the Indiana squad with about 20 seconds remaining in the game.

But rather than give Indiana a chance at a desperation drive at a field goal, the coaching staff apparently decided it would be better to just call it a day on that note, gathering the team at midfield while the clock ran out.

It’s a spring game, these things happen.

The integrity of this being a contest between two separate squads was squandered much earlier when cornerback Lawrence Barnett intercepted a tipped pass into the end zone from quarterback Dusty Kiel. Rather than put the same squads back on the field again, they rotated as they had all game. The second team offense had been playing as the Hoosiers, but became Indiana on that drive and effectively scored against itself.

Again, it’s a spring game. These things happen.

The contest, obviously, was much more about practice and evaluation than who won and who lost, and there were things the coaches were happy with and not so happy with in that regard.

The offense could hang its hat on a few big plays. Wide receiver Kofi Hughes turned a screen pass from Dusty Kiel into a 28-yard score. Receiver Dre Muhammad hauled in a 41-yard touchdown from Edward Wright-Baker. Damarlo Belcher made an acrobatic grab over a defender on an 11-yard touchdown strike from Kiel and Duwyce Wilson made a 62-yard reception on a deep post route to start that drive.

But it also turned the ball over. Kiel threw two interceptions — Barnett’s pick-six and another interception by the extremely active Greg Heban. Belcher also fumbled the ball and turned it over to the defense.

And obviously, the defense felt the opposite way about those plays than the offense did. Happy with the turnovers, not so happy with the big plays.

“It was nice to see a turnover caused by our No. 1 defense,” Wilson said. “But for our offense, that has to be a conversion. And we had a fumble by a wide receiver. We had a couple of turnovers we like to eliminate. But all in all, you want to kind of see a 20-17, 17-14 type game. It was OK. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Spring’s been positive. It was another solid practice.”

Unsurprisingly, the coaching staff gave little to no indication of where the battle for the starting quarterback job stands. None of the four quarterbacks on the squad were made available to the media after the game.

Kiel got the most time on the field, completing 14 of 27 passes for 196 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Wright-Baker had a better percentage, completing 8-for-10 passes for 82 yards and a score. Adam Follett was 6-for-9 for 74 yards and a touchdown, and Teddy Schell was 2-for-7 for 26 yards, but had a rushing touchdown on an expertly executed fake handoff.

“They all have work to do,” Wilson said. “Made some good plays, made some bad plays. Quarterbacks look good when the guys around them help them out, protection’s good, right guy runs the right route, guy’s clean. They’re all very capable and that’s why we’re keeping them all in the mix. … We’ll keep it going through the summer. It’ll be middle plus of preseason before we really get locked down there. We’ll see how it plays out.”

Redshirt freshman running back Matt Perez had a strong outing after spending most of spring practice recovering from a ACL tear suffered last preseason. He rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown. Belcher had six receptions for 63 yards and a score. Wilson had four catches for 73 yards.

The game gave IU fans their first opportunity to see any semblance of a starting lineup. There was a lot of mixing and matching throughout the game, so nothing is set in stone, but the first team offense and defense at the start of the game follows.

Offense

WR-Damarlo Belcher

WR-Duwyce Wilson

WR-Kofi Hughes

TE-Ted Bolser

LT-Andrew McDonald

LG-Ralston Evans

C-Will Matte

RG-Cody Evers

RT-Justin Pagan

QB-Dusty Kiel

RB-Nick Turner

Defense

DE-Darius Johnson

DT-Adam Replogle

DT-Nicholas Sliger

DE-Ryan Phillis

LB-Jeff Thomas

LB-Leon Beckum

CB-Lawrence Barnett

CB-Lenyatta Kiles

S-Jarrell Drane

S-Chris Adkins

Nickel back-Greg Heban.

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson Part 1

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson Part 2

AUDIO: Rod Smith

AUDIO: Doug Mallory

AUDIO: Jeff Thomas

AUDIO: Kevin Bush

AUDIO: Damarlo Belcher

AUDIO: Justin Pagan

AUDIO: Max Dedmond

AUDIO: Will Matte

One comment

  1. Indiana’s situation is similar to what ND went through last year. New coach comes in and acts really tough to get the players attention. Next year it will be an entirely different attitude, hopefully because of improvement.

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