IU-SC State in-game reports and commentary from Andy Graham

PREGAME: Absolutely glorious afternoon here at Memorial Stadium, and the atmosphere is automatically better than last week because IU is wearing its crimson helmets. The Hoosiers look soooooooooooo much better, so much more like a football team, so much more like Indiana, in the crimson helmets. The white helmets last week, and maybe it’s the white facemasks that add to this, looked too big, out-sized. And from an aesthetic point of view, it’s not even close.

South Carolina State should provide a good athletic test for Indiana today. The Hoosiers, theoretically, should eventually be able to control the line of scrimmage and should have better depth. But the Bulldogs are the three-time defending MEAC champs and are very used to winning under coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough, who has won 72 percent of the time during 10 seasons in Orangeburg.

Just heard that Collin Rahrig (RG), Bernard Taylor (LG) and Peyton Eckert (RT) will all start on IU’s offensive line. That means only center Will Matte and left tackle Andrew McDonald remain from what has been the regular offensive line starting unit

To augment Dustin Dopirak’s play-by-play on Cover It Live, I will provide scoring updates and analysis here, below the fold.  Thanks, as always, for joining us.

FIRST QUARTER:

Indiana 7, SC State 0. Ed Wright-Baker has a fine starting drive at quarterback, scrambling for a first down on a 3rd-and-8, finding Cody Latimer for 16 yards on a 3rd-and-7, then hooking up with Duwyce Wilson for a 30-yard scoring pass. The officials initially ruled it an incompletion as Wilson was stripped of the ball after he exited the end zone, but the official review correctly noted Wilson had control of the ball with a foot down inbounds. Replay got one right this time. IU went 60 yards in eight plays for the score.

Indiana 14, SC State 0. Another great catch by Duwyce Wilson, this time outleaping both Dominique Ellis and Mason Harris on a deep post to haul in a 46-yard completion carrying to the Bulldog 4 to set up IU’s second TD. After a penalty on SC State, Stephen Houston picked up his first TD as a Hoosier by running it in on the next snap.

Indiana 14, SC State 7. Bulldogs bite back on the very next snap from scrimmage. IU got caught on a blitz, as SC State quarterback Derrick Wiley screened away from it to wideout Tyler McDonald, who made one simple cut inside and was gone. Only rudimentary blocking was necessary. The Hoosiers appeared to have blitzed both safeties, because there were no defenders in the deep middle at all. Wiley cruised 69 yards to the score completely unmolested.

Wright-Baker remains hot. IU has been sloppy in terms of penalties, creating bad down-and-distance situations, but the sophomore quarterback keeps bailing the Hoosiers out. SC State has called time with 2:40 left in the first and IU with a 2nd-and-6 at the Bulldog 20.

Indiana 21, SC State 7. Matt Perez bulled in from the 1 to cap a 15-play, 82-yard march, keyed by big plays by Wright-Baker. He made perhaps his best throw of the day so far with a rocket shot that threaded the needle to Dre Muhammad on the sidelines for 23 yards on a 2nd-and-17. IU’s drive took 5:34 off the clock and Perez scored with 33 seconds left in the opening quarter.

SECOND QUARTER:

Still having some computer issues in the press box. Been booted off-line twice since the second quarter started.

Indiana 24, South Carolina State 7: Hoosiers got a nice break when Chris Merrill lost a fumble to kill an impressive 10-play Bulldog drive that had reached the red zone. Mick Mentzer recovered for IU as the ball bounced back to the 24. A 34-yard reverse by Kofi Hughes then set up Mitch Ewald’s 26-yard field goal with 7:55 left in the half to cap an 11-play scoring drive.

HALFTIME. INDIANA 24, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 7: A sloppy first half in terms of penalties largely redeemed by good plays from Wright-Baker. He wasn’t perfect, with a couple of open receivers over-thrown and a couple of questionable decisions, but overall he’s been the catalyst for IU’s offense. The Hoosiers aren’t blowing the Bulldogs off the line of scrimmage by any means, on either side of the ball. IU has a lot of youth playing on its offensive front today. Aside from a big gain on the reverse by Kofi Hughes, IU’s rushing attack has not impressed. Wright-Baker had a great half through the air, though, going 17-of-22 for 208 yards. IU has a total offense bulge of 327-178.

THIRD QUARTER:

Kicked off-line again for a while.

Wright-Baker just made his first major miscue of the day. On a 3rd-and-8 at the SCS 11, he faded to pass, turned down an apparent opening to tuck it and go, then held the ball too long and didn’t feel the pursuit coming from his backside as he tried to roll right. The lost fumble gave the Bulldogs the ball at their own 12 at 9:54 of the third.

Indiana 24, South Carolina State 14: The Hoosiers remain alarmingly sloppy, on pace to set a new school record for penalties, with 15 already and the record at 16. There was a brief Dusty Kiel sighting on IU’s last possession, but he was fortunate that an interception was nullified by offsetting penalties.  As it was, the Hoosiers had to punt and the Bulldogs swiftly went 38 yards on six plays to get within 10.

Indiana 31, South Carolina State 14. Pretty much all D’Angelo Roberts all the time as the Hoosiers answer, with Wright-Baker back at quarterback. Roberts ran through a tackle attempt to plunge in from 7 yards out at 0:28 of the third. IU went 58 yards on 10 plays, all but two of which were Roberts runs.

By booting the ensuing kickoff out-of-bounds, Indiana just set a school record for penalties in a game, and got it done in three quarters.

FOURTH QUARTER

Indiana 31, South Carolina State 21: The Bulldogs are moving the ball at-will now. Indiana’s defense just looks plain bad. SC State just went 60 yards on 11 plays to again get within 10.

Maybe this is how the Hoosiers practiced this week, which is maybe why we saw a lot of new faces in the starting lineup and even more new faces as the game has gone along.

Even if Indiana hangs on to win, Coach Wilson will have plenty of ammunition for some posterior kicking next week in practice.

Now we’ll see if IU’s rushing attack, which looked more robust with Roberts on the last series, can reassert itself.

Indiana 38, South Carolina State 21. Duwyce Wilson and Kofi Hughes to the rescue. He made a great one-handed leaping catch in stride to turn what looked like an over-throw on a 3rd-and-5 into a 13-yard gain to the SCS 40. On the next play, Hughes took a screen right and did a superb job of avoiding a tackle to tip-toe down the west sideline and stay inbounds to complete an electrifying scoring play with 9:46 left.

The defense responds, too. After a solid defensive stop, keyed by nice tackle-for-loss by freshman safety Mark Murphy, IU is setting up its next series on its own 28 with 6:59 left, with the game better in-hand now.

D’Angelo Roberts has a net 96 yards rushing on 16 carries. If he gets four more yards, he’ll be the first true freshman to attain 100 yards since BenJarvis Green-Ellis, who is currently shining with the New England Patriots. His old coach at IU, Gerry DiNardo, is doing color commentary today in Bloomington for the Big Ten Network.

It looks like Roberts will finish with 101 yards rushing, unofficially.

FINAL: INDIANA 38, SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 21

 

 

19 comments

  1. This game reminded me of last year’s victory over Arkansas State. It was a win, and I know a “win is a win,” but if there is such a thing, this was a bad win. I know SCS is a quality D1AA team and well-coached, but a Big Ten team should blow them off the field, especially as a home game.

    The penalties and mental mistakes were unbelievable. I know Wilson started a lot of new players, but did IU really just set a school record for most penalties in a game? Has mental fatigue set in already or were these guys not ready to play?

    Some really good individual play, Perez running hard, some good receptions, especially that one-handed catch in the end zone. EWB made progress and seemed to do some things well, but he still misses some easy throws. A lot of these men on offense need to step it up, because IU’s defense is not going to stop teams from scoring. They just don’t have the horses yet.

    Maybe getting the first one under their belt will help them. Going on the road to Texas will be a new experience for these young guys. It should be a test to see if they learned from today’s mistakes.

  2. Perez did run hard in the red zone but that was it. Really Roberts had a breakout game with 102 yards. Coach is sending a message and this was a good game to do it in because there was very little chance for the other team to win. He had almost all freshman and red shirt freshman playing on offense at nearly every position except his WR. These guys are going to make mistakes causing lots of penalties. Lynch would not have played most of these guys opting for junior and seniors. Hopefully the upper class got the message,if not
    build for the future and play the new guys and the freshmen Lynch red shirted. He wants to break old habits built into last years losing team. He may not win many games but give him 2-3 years and IU will be winning more than we lose and maybe we will build some football IU pride that has been missing for years.

  3. southport65, I think you called it. Lots of guys played. Dusty got in when EWB was pretty hot. I like EWB. For his third game he was really accurate. He hit 75% with a couple drops in there. We could easily have hit 50 if coach really tried. The penalties early were my biggest concern. That and the defense still has a long way to go.

  4. Podunker, you are one tough cookie. EWB still misses some easy throws??? 21-27 in his THIRD CAREER START is pretty decent in my book. I know, I know, we’re playing an FCS team, but what would have been good enough for you— 24, 25 out of 27 instead? He’s completing 64% of his passes this season with only one pick out of 89 attempts. Again, pretty good for a first-time starter with a suspect offensive line, no? His lack of awareness sometimes against the rush is alarming (his fumble today a prime example), but for a team with as many problems as IU has, he is waaaay down on the list of concerns. Besides, we got our first look at Dusty today. Uh, a little shaky. We should be thankful we have what we have.

  5. Glad we won. Good to see DK get in the game. Good to get rid of those first game butterflies. I’d bet there will be some times this year when EWB struggles, and we will need Dusty to play well.

    That said, Ed threw the ball well today. And iu committed to the run today. I’ve been waiting a long time to see that.

    Congrats on the win guys. Hopefully they can enjoy it a couple days before penalty correcting begins.

  6. We controlled the game, though we made mistakes. The number of penalties was a concern. The six by #72, McDonald- four of them impacted the score (about 12+ points) and stopped good drives and two (false starts) hapened back to back. Also the false starts by #59 (the center?), who had 3. When you look at 19 penalties out of some 60 offensive plays, does it show a lack of focus and concentration?.

    The other troublesome issue is the play by #23, Barnett. It reminds me of the last two years of defensive back play. He plays his man through the internet (at least bother reacting to his twitters, please!). It was obvious SCS had scouted him out and targeted him. He hits like Puff Facial Tissues and, to make it worse, concentrates only on parading to make sure he ends up on the television screen. His body language (he’s just out for a walk on the Jordan river) reminds me of my puppy after he has found and used the fire hydrant.

    Yeah, last week he had the TD score (though the other kid did all the work. I hoped he’d at least fake playing defensive back. I’m sure that film will show and I’m just as sure coaches Mallory, Eckeler and staff have noticed it. I did like #30 quite a bit.

    Totally agree that EWB is showing a lot of growth, mistakes and all. Long time since we could say we had at least two QBs, 3 strong runners, 5 excellent receivers, four good linebackers….and (approx) more than a dozen true freshmen and 10 red shirts playing and contributing while they grow into Big Ten football.

  7. Andrew: EWB played well. But on some of those stats you sighted, the credit goes to his receivers. He misses several easy passes to wide open receivers. And this was not Wisconsin or Nebraska or Ohio State we played. He should have had a great day against SCS.

    I’m not trashing him, I’m just saying he needs to hit the open receivers instead of relying on his receivers to make fantastic plays.

    Credit to IU’s receivers. They did very well.

  8. Honestly, the only bad things today were the penalties. Having so many young players out there kind of leveled the playing field for SCST. To me this shows our talent is good and promising. This also shows that our coaches are a hell of alot better. We could have thrown the deep ball even more and put this game away earlier. But to me, It seemed coach Wilson used the game to keep working on base formations and to gain some experience for the players. Yes, there was some diff. plays and some coverage /alignment switches, but still kinda vanilla. I like the agressive blitzing. And Roberts ran hard. He could have ran for 200. Would like to see more tightend plays and a little better containment.
    To summarize, I think KW and the team can take alot from this game and move forward. He is obviously using patience to teach and looking at the bigger picture. We should all do the same.

  9. I think you’re right. Coach certainly wanted to win but he was obviously trying out some new things/people on Saturday.

  10. KW obviously trying to build depth. McDonald and Eckert will each run stadium steps during this weeks practices. LB hitting like Puff Facial Tissues evidently did not get transmitted to my DVR in any of the 3 games. DR is gaining ground on #1 but Perez is a load of muscle. Muhammad is better than I thought, Mullen, Murphy and Latimer are earning their own. Hughes could play any skill position. DK reads his progressions faster than EWB.

  11. Hoosier Clarion, Mass Hoosier, Chet–you nailed it with your comment that KW is really ‘working’ at developing depth with the raw material he’s got. You are also right about Perez getting his due recognition for the effort the new culture demands…result, led by him, we have 2-3 good Big Ten running backs, a team with ready-to play substitutes and a bunch of people who are beginning to hear the messages.

    Hoosier Clarion, please do read my comment again. I too am positive about the LB play, they are aggressive, strong, do move to the ball quickly and hit hard. My “Puffs Facial Tisue” comment was made about a cornerback, Barnett (#23)(a junior with what I consider our ‘old greeter’ who shows none of the qualities mentioned above and evident in nearly everyone else’s play it drives me nuts because it has negated a lot of good effort by other players on several crucial plays). As much as I always find your comments amongst those that contribute good, thought out views, my opinion of Barnett stands. (Hit someone, by God!….preferably the guy with the ball; if nothing else turn around hit the ref and raise your hand with pride when they throw the yellow flag).

    Your comments are very good and add a lot nearly always anyhow.

  12. TTG, You need to read mine again. We simply do not agree about LB. LB in this case is not short for linebacker it is starting corner back Lawrence Barnett(RS So). He and Heban both have good ball skills for young players. Mullen is pushing.

  13. Tsao/Clarion, this is meant more as a joke than anything but Barnett does hit better than Porter ever did! Barnett while not perfect in an upgrade from our past. Neither is perfect, Heban has been out of position at times…burnt! I do think they are 2 good solid corners that will improve as the season goes on and be really good next year!

    I am curious as to what you guys and anyone else has to say about rotating backs. I have said before I like using one back for the high bulk of carries. If Roberts does not get worn down I think he should play a lot the next two games with Perez getting fewer carries. Perez and Houston at goal line for sure. Just my take for now. I do like Perez off tackle he gets to the outside well but that burst is not there like Roberts. Houston is good…maybe hits the hole the hardest but I think is figuring out JC switch to D1!

  14. JP, Perez punishes defenders more than any other RB. Just a thought. But scoring points is still the goal.

  15. JP, I like all I have seen from DR. He is a player for sure and will be the feature back in the not to distant future. For the 1st time in a long time the Hoosiers have a good compliment at the running back position. Nothing wrong with being hometown leaning.

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