IU-Virginia football. Live (or is it undead?) commentary from Andy Graham

PREGAME: Indiana in white helmets for the first time since the mid-1960s. Egad. A serious aesthetic abomination to my eyes. I was already trying to reconcile my sensibilities with white shoes, too, that debuted last week. Adidas again botches the uniform color, and there really is no excuse for that, at the end of the day. Definitely more red than crimson. But it the Hoosiers pull the upset today, we’d likely have to get used to this look.

Paltry crowd, as of now, too, just  before kickoff. Even the knothole field isn’t as crowded as usual. But there were some serious crowds in the tailgate areas and doubtless some fans are stuck in traffic, so we’ll see. The fly-over was mis-timed, arriving during IU’s alma mater rather than The Star Spangled Banner. But enough grousing. Ready or not, Hoosier Nation, the Kevin Wilson era at Memorial Stadium is upon us. I’ll have some commentary during the game, as always, here on The Scoop, below the fold.

We are having some computer issues at the press box, so if there aren’t any posts for a period of time, it’s likely due to that. We’ve been getting booted off-line along press row.

FIRST QUARTER: Those in the home crowd who arrived in time an immediate lift by intercepting a Michael Rocco bomb on the game’s first play at the IU 48. But after bogging down at the Virginia 30, Mitch Ewald’s 48-yard field goal attempt was blocked, so any early momentum was squelched.

Virginia swiftly moved to IU’s 12, but a series of blunders (two procedure penalties and a delay of game) and some good Hoosier defense created a 4th-and-20, but the Cavaliers still capitalized when Robert Randolph connected on a 42-yard field goal. UVa 3, IU 0 at 7:04 of the first quarter. The game is a comedy of errors, to an extent, so far, with each team getting a scoring chance in the bargain.

IU’s rushing attack has been stuck in reverse from the get-go, including a -3 on a rush by Tre Roberson, the first true freshman to play quarterback for IU since Tim Clifford in 1977.

SECOND QUARTER: It’s taken a Bloomington kid to get the IU running game going a bit, with quick bursts up the middle from former North Cougar standout D’Angelo Roberts, who nearly broke it on a 27-yarder. Ed Wright-Baker added a 20-yard run as the Hoosiers moved to a tying 37-yard field goal by Mitch Ewald at 13:38. It capped a 60-yard drive.

The battle of field goals continued apace just 2:39 later as Robert Randolph connected again, this time from 44 yards out, to put the Wahoos back up 6-3 with 11:09 left in the half.

Indiana had a 97-71 yard edge in total offense in the first quarter, and the Hoosier offense has been effective in fits and starts, but a dead-ball personal foul helped thwart the Hoosiers after they’d gained a 1st-and-goal at the UVa 7, eventually forcing them to settle for a field goal. But the Hoosiers are clearly more fiery than last week, with a very active sideline.

In fact, it appears the reserve Hoosiers are constantly jumping up and down behind the sideline.

So much for manufacturing enthusiasm, though. It’s Virginia now taking control.

The Hoosiers are blitzing more, but getting burned at times. IU sent both inside backers only to see Rocco dump off a quick pass over the middle to tailback Perry Jones for 46 yards, setting up a Cavalier TD with just 32 seconds left in the half to made it 13-3. Then disaster truly struck. True freshman Shane Wynn fumbled the kickoff, stripped by Ray Keys, and Virginia recovered at the Hoosier 6. By the defense bowed its neck and stopped UVa, with Chase Hoobler making a fine tackle for a loss of 1 in the open field on a 3rd-down flat pass to force a field goal, Randolph’s third, making it 16-3 Cavaliers heading into halftime.

HALFTIME: VIRGINIA 16, INDIANA 3.
The Hoosiers have now scored six points in their last two halves of football, just two field goals, counting the second half against Ball State. That, obviously, isn’t going to get it done.

Sustaining drives has been a problem, with positive plays mitigated by negative ones. Ed Wright-Baker’s passing accuracy is inconsistent, which is most definitely an issue. He’s just 7-of-15 tonight for 73 yards. He’s shown some scat with his feet, though, leading all rushers with 40 yards on 6 carries. D’Angelo Roberts has carried 6 times for 38.. But Virginia now leads in total yardage at halftime, 191-145, and more importantly boasts a 13-point bulge on the scoreboard.

A big potential turning point was a muffed punt catch by Virginia’s Darius Jennings with the score still just 6-3, but the Jennings managed to scramble and get the ball back from a skidding Hoosier at the Cavalier 34. That created the possession that became Virginia’s touchdown drive.

THIRD QUARTER: Lost internet connectivity for a bit. How many games have you seen where each half starts with an interception? In the case of the second half, Ed Wright-Baker’s woefully underthrown pass intended for a wide-open Kofi Hughes was picked off by Virginia’s Rijo Walker, setting up the Cavs at the IU 38. Just 1:45 later, Kevin Parks was busting into the end zone from 6 yards out and it was 23-3, Wahoos.

Wright-Baker has certainly been better with his feet than with his arm tonight. He’s seemingly having trouble seeing the field, because their are pretty consistently open receivers, but he isn’t finding them — or, when he does find them, not always connecting with them. Might it be time for Dusty Kiel? Wright-Baker is 9 of 20 for 84 yards and an interception. On the ground, he’s got nine rushes for a net 49 yards.

The Hoosiers are now threatening, however, on a drive kept alive by a roughing the passer call. IU has a 1st-and-goal at the Virginia 8 with an injury timeout at 9:24 of the third.

IU TD: Matt Perez, who ran right over a tackler on a previous play during the drive, scoots around right end for IU’s first TD of the night at the 9:04 mark. Virginia’s lead now down to 23-10. IU went 68 yards in 10 plays, aided by the roughing penalty, in 3:55.

Fred Jones got a huge sack that looked, to these eyes, like at least potentially a safety because it appeared Rocco fumbled the ball as he was going down and recovered it in the end zone, but the replay official said no. IU still forced a Cavs punt.

Indiana then screws itself. After the defense holds, the offense roars downfield, behind some tough running from Matt Perez, to forge a 2nd-and-goal at the Virginia 1. But the Hoosiers then got in too much of a hurry, attempting a quick strike for six, and Wright-Baker ended up taking a five-yard sack. Then, lining up for a chip-shot field goal to cut the lead to 10, IU ran a fake field goal attempt that looked like it had no chance from the start, with holder Teddy Schell’s pass not close to intended receiver Demetrius Carr-Watson in the end zone.

FOURTH QUARTER: After a big break, with a punt apparently hitting a Virginia blocker and Kofi Hughes recovering at the Cavs’ 19, IU will start the final period with a 2nd-and-goal at the 4, down 23-10.

IU TD: Perez, with pads low, burst through would-be tacklers to score off left tackle to score from the 1. The Hoosiers now within 23-17 with 14:29 to play.

HUGE PLAY AND IU’S FIRST LEAD. Jarrell Drane strips Perry Jones of the ball and Lawrence Barnett races in to scoop up the fumble and zoom 54 yards in front of a bonkers Hoosier sideline to score and give IU a 24-23 lead after Ewald’s PST with 12:02 to play.

36 comments

  1. Andy, I thought I was the only fan who fixated on uniforms. Glad to hear there are two of us. I disagree about the helmets – white is good, but they need a red stripe down the middle for the proper retro look. And if we want to really go retro – numbers on the side of the helmet instead of the IU. Agreed on the color – crimson shouldn’t be so hard to do; and why not cream instead of white – on both the football unis and basketball? Look at Harvard’s uniforms sometime – they’re the ‘real’ cream and crimson.

  2. At least you can see the uniforms. I live in Chgo. and we have five channels listed as Big Ten Network and they are all showing the Nebraska-Fresno St. game. What gives?

  3. IU look’s like a high school team, physically and emotionally. I can’t believe how small we are. Will not win a game all year. Do not hire assistant ‘s for head coaches.

  4. Helmets are terrible. Fake Field Goal also terrible. Wright-Baker not a very good quarterback either running, passing or making the decision as to what to do. Still an IU Football Fan filled with hope. Perez is a player.

  5. I guess another bothersome point is that Indiana has done well in the 4th Quarter because of Defense (who would have thought that after last week?)and Special Teams. The offense moves a little and then messes up a lot. This is supposed to be Wilson’s ‘forte.’ Though I believe he’ll do a Great Job (in IU terms) I find it odd that the offense is in 3rd place behind the Defense and Special Teams (YES…I did just see the TD Pass to Wilson).

  6. I guess maybe the defense is no longer so impressive and the Kick Return wasn’t very good either. Offense just showed that maybe they still belong in 3rd. This is so “IU-Like” in regard to football.

  7. Well, at least it was entertaining. We didn’t get ‘boat raced’ like we did last year. I thought they had put together a ‘miracle finish’ but it was not to be. I need to process this. Lots of mistakes but I thought the level of play was much higher.

  8. They game was good to watch. They played like real Hoosiers in the second half. Just need to play like that the whole game and we would win.

  9. We might go 1-11 this year, but I can sense changes in the program’s attitude. This game hurts, but just like Mallory’s first season (O-11, it’s been brought up alot) I can tell things are being built for the future.

  10. Willsey; Be careful expressing your opinions about IU’s FB team being to small. Hoosier Clarion will vigorously take exception with that opinion and strenuously argue that you are wrong (“wrong may not be offensive, but it’s still wrong.”). After the BSU game, I made the mistake of expressing my opinion that IU looked too small against BSU and too small, in general, for a Big Ten team. I believe IU’s O-line is too small (or light), that in the 3-4 defensive scheme, IU’s defensive line and linebackers are too small. But Hoosier Clarion said I was wrong and that IU’s size was not a problem on the offensive line, it was not a problem on the defensive line, and it was not a problem for the linebackers.

    I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth for fear of being accused of using a “slight of hand” in justifying my opinion, but I believe Hoosier Clarion has concluded that IU’s size was not a problem! You see, against BSU the problem was that BSU’s offensive and defensive lines just played “scrappier” than IU’s players.

    Just ignore what your eyes witnessed yesterday and take Hoosier Clarion’s word for it, IU is NOT too small.

  11. PO, you are shadow boxing. My argument was toward your claim BSU’s OL and DL was definitely bigger(not slightly bigger nor significantly bigger, just bigger)than IU’s; as you well know. I posted stats on weights from both official rosters supported my rebuttal and proved you were in error(wrong). Now if you so wish to rant please use the correct facts. Also, somewhere here today I posted the Cavaliers OL players were big. Twist that post into something that puts you in a good light. Please find for me were I said IU’s linemen are big enough. Finding that will keep you busy for eternity. You were undeniably wrong about your original claim and you are now wrong in how you are trying to frame our discussion about it. I will not participate in allowing that. I reject it.

  12. Good God did anyone see Cam Newton today? I watched him all preseason and I was expecting 112 yards passing with 2 interceptions and the Panthers would lose by 28. I didn’t want them to draft him. That was a great game by anyone’s standards. He came up a yard short at the end but, my goodness, setting the rookie passing record with 60 plus percentage 2 TDs passing and one rushing? Pretty impressive.

  13. HC; You “sound” offended once again. You seem to take these matters very seriously and personally. Maybe you’re too serious or too easily offended. It’s just a blog about IU sports. Lighten up.

    As a heads up, on this matter you’re coming across as the self-appointed absolute authority about such matters. Just consider how arrogant your post reads when you write, “You were undeniably wrong about your original claim……” Undeniably wrong? Wow! As if someone appointed you the authority.

    And, when someone disagrees with you, your responses begin to include derogatory and disparaging comments (“DUH”, “Slight of Hand”). And I’ve noticed that you absolutely must have the last word. Am I right?

  14. Can almost hear Clarion’s next(final?) unambiguous claim to dismantle Podunker’s suggestion of an undersized Hoosier line.

  15. Po, You have absolutely nothing to do with what or who I am and so I thoroughly reject your insinuations. You made emotional rants that IU linemen were smaller than BSU’s and I provided official stats proving you wrong. You need to take a deep long look in the mirror because you seem to have a problem dealing with criticism when wrong. I do not care what you think of the phrasing I lay out. If you do not like it there is a clear, simple choice available for you to avoid that annoyance. Now if this is the last word so be it. If not it is again your choice. I remain available.

  16. Clarion and Po, the stats I guess are there to support Clarion in a way but I must admit…I know 2 sets of people that went to the game and they said Ball States lineman across the board looked bigger. I sat first row last weekend and I thought our size was similar to Virginia and my buddy texted me and said IU looked like a high school team in size, saying we looked small. It is a matter of perspective and opinion I think. I always think IU looks small when we play OSU and Wisky but when we play Minny and NW for example we look similar of bigger. You both believe in your heart in what you think so neither one of you is wrong in my opinion no matter what stats say. If you want to contest it through the season I say take each games starting line avg D/O and we can see who is right/wrong at the end of the season. Loser buys first 2 rounds at Nicks and NO hard feelings!!!

  17. JPat, the dispute was about BSU, so I accept enjoying the 1st 2 rounds on PO. I’ll buy the sandwich baskets for accompanying the libations.

  18. JPat, I am quite sure you are comfortable with your career but you should consider life as a high level arbiter.
    You possess very recognizable skills. And I do not mean that to be simply suggesting beer summits.

  19. Wow Clarion, thanks. My career in my current profession has not turned out like I thought it would so I will keep that in mind. I have decided I am taking classes in the future as my kids get older to be a talent scout in football. I seem to be right more than wrong(not bragging, I promise) when judging talent at any level. I do think you need the classes to spot the little things though. Anyway, thanks!!!

  20. JPat, Best of Luck, a little bit of what I do as a consultant is evaluating and determining the round pegs and the square pegs are working toward a harmonious result in a hole sometimes of a different shape and size. Formal training will be beneficial expanding natural talent into solid skill but when there is conflict of the two(and there will be)always go with what you’ve relied longest, that sense of knowing your judgment is keen. Deliberate the thought of independent consulting(after developing a network)it offers endless autonomy; no one is able to pull a dominate string on you.

  21. Podunker, Hoosier Clarion…both of you seem like absolutely great guys and great Hoosier fans. And, both of you seem like individuals who go deeply into what you read and into your analysis/views of what is going on as we undertake a major and critical effort to bring IU into an acceptable standard. I enjoy both of your comments; think each of you is right and each of you is wrong on some aspect, but reading and thinking about both of your points of view helps me to raise questions about mine…which is really the important thing in exploring new (or old) ways.

    Seems to me (a very personal opinion) that both size and speed are tremendously important elements for IU to improve. And, it is almost a Physics problem (Mass X Velocity= Momentum). So a quick and agile 6’5″, 287lb may have a big advantage over a slower 6’4, 335lb. I’ve watched the development of the Bears for the last few years and it seems that the key to the cover 2 defense Lovie Smith brought from Tampa Bay and previously successfully used by the now legendary Tony Dungy (all of them had their origins as assistants together at Tampa Bay)was to emphasize size (including length) and speed, overturning a long held belief that size alone was the criteria with which to measure football teams, especially linemen.

    Interestingly, (and the first hint that I had about KW competence) was his review of the recruiting class of 2011 and his emphasis on recruiting players who had size, length and speed (not only fast but quickness). A clue about the importance of this was his candid evaluation about and to some previously committed recruits that they were unlikely to play much. Most of these were players- some of whom chose to go elsewhere after Coach Wilson expressed the unlikeliness of their playing time- with lots of size (read weight), but no length and were questionable on the speed/quickness factor (6′, 290 lbs types).

    I believe Po is partially right when he observes we “appeared” smaller- at a glance, than BSU. Likely, it is as much a factor of their youth (we are playing a lot of freshmen, 5-year freshmen and sophomores. As they get older, under the very rigorous training regime they now have (and this takes nothing but time), they will be quite tall, big and quick/fast). So, in part, Hoosier Clarion is also right when he questions part of Po’s point. But guys…whichever, we win. I would love to see and IU team with 6’5″ or better, 290+ lbs or better, fast and agile linemen, 6’0″, 190+ defensive back and very speedy, quick receivers…etc.

    I think this is where this is headed and I think it is the part of Coach Wilson’s vision that is so attractive and makes so much sense. If he achieves this, it means we will be competitive at the highest levels of major college football, year-in and year-out. At this point, the key is the training they receive, the coaching they get, the strategy that defines their approach, the tactical execution they achieve and the heart they put into their play.

    At that point…Podunker, Hoosier Clarion, Chet and I- and all the others who regularly get abused or are abused on this blog- are all getting together for one massive celebratory feast…. all paid for by JPat. (DD you can come too…you can come, drink and take pictures).

  22. Just thought it through. JPat gets in and eats and drinks free as well. DD, Andy Graham and the Michigan kid are paying for all this. I would even include Mike P but after reading he started “tailgating” at 2:30 pm for a 7pm game, and seeing it lasts him 3 days+ (‘I don’t give a Flying **** about [BCS]), it made me wet my diaper.

  23. This debate has been a fun and interesting for me. It also reinforces that I need to be more precise when expressing my opinions and, if possible, supporting them with as many facts as possible. Also, when entering into such a subject, it seems important to take one’s time and make sure that what one writes is exactly what one means, thereby minimizing room for misinterpretation.

    While I always expect someone, if not several people, in a forum like this to disagree with my opinions (that’s what makes these blogs worthwhile), I still find it interesting when one person categorically states that another person’s opinion is wrong. Facts are facts, opinions are opinions. Facts can be accurate or inaccurate,relevant or irrelevant, right or wrong. It’s difficult for an opinion, which is by definition subjective (a belief), to be considered “wrong.” I welcome anyone that wishes to express their disagreement with my opinion. But I’m always amused when someone tells me or anyone else that their opinion is wrong, or especially when their opinion is “undeniably wrong.” What’s that old saying? “you’re entitled to your opinions, but not to your own facts” or something like that.

    I think it’s also worth mentioning that while its perfectly acceptable to disagree with another person’s opinion, it’s never a good idea to attack the person whose opinion you disagree with. That’s usually when dialogue begins to breaks down and efforts to understand cease (kind of like the political climate in Washington these days). So, if any of my posts on this subject appeared to be an attack on Hoosier Clarion, that was not my intention, and I sincerely apologize for my incivility. I will try to do better in the future. Given the fervency with which Hoosier Clarion disagreed with my opinion about IU’s apparent lack of size, I could not resist, in the spirit of fun, needling him a little bit. I’ll try harder to resist the temptation in the future.

    Sincerely!

  24. Re: HC and JPat. Conflict resolution is just one beneficial facet of good communication skills. There are very few fields in which the ability to communicate might well be the most valuable asset in your bag of tools. I’m kinda the go to guy in my field in this region but I often jokingly say that “I just give the illusion of competence.”
    Regardless of your field, if you interact with others in any way, be it a mechanic dealing with your customers or a middle manager dealing with executives, the ability to convey your message will probably be the key to your success or failure.
    Unfortunately, far too many people fail to recognize this and neglect developing these skill. We all know people who are good at their jobs and totally inept at dealing with others.
    My oldest was a college sophomore studying engineering and he recognized that he was not the greatest communicator. To address his shortcomings he took a job working 80 hours a week in door-to-door sales. He is now a gifted communicator.
    If you have these skills you are way ahead of the game.

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