Despite early lead, Illinois darts past Indiana, 41-20

For the first time this season against an FBS opponent, the Hoosiers looked as if they held all the cards after 10 minutes of play against Illinois.

A 99-yard kick return to open the game, a subsequent Illini three-and-out, and a field goal gave Indiana a 10-point lead in the first quarter. But that was the last time Indiana would feel the game’s momentum swing in their direction.

Illinois responded by outscoring Indiana 41-10 from there, as top-flight wide receiver A.J. Jenkins — who might be the best wide receiver in the Big Ten, just ask him — tallied 184 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came on 75+ yard plays.

Hoosier quarterback Dusty Kiel was rendered almost completely ineffective, tossing 6-0f-19 for 74 yards. The sad part of that stat is that 48 of those yards came on one play — and a broken one at that — as Kiel threw a short pass while he was being sacked to running back Stephen Houston.

Indiana fans may be clamoring for more of true freshman Tre Roberson after today’s game, as the young dual threat signal caller tallied 11-of-17 for 148 yards through the air and 46 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He looked young at times, throwing balls at his players’ feet and throwing one regrettable interception, but Roberson made the easy throws — something that Kiel couldn’t claim after today’s effort.

And the going won’t get any easier from here on out — actually, it’ll likely get excruciatingly more difficult — as Indiana heads to Camp Randall next week to take on Wisconsin. And yes, time to cue those reoccurring 83-20 nightmares.

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson

AUDIO: Jeff Thomas

AUDIO: Will Matte

AUDIO: Duwyce Wilson

AUDIO: Dusty Kiel

30 comments

  1. Man I have not looked at schedule but I hope we play Minnesota. Otherwise I am not sure we can win any more games including the Purdue game. I know Kiel was trying but seriously? It is hard to miss on that many passes in one game. He was not the only one to blame when you give up over 40 points the defense did not play well either. I can’t believe the cupboard was THAT bare when Wilson took over that we could not win more games. Ball State got beat by Temple by 42 at home. Good thing we don’t play Temple huh?

    What a poor football season. I can’t wait till bb starts.

  2. not our best day today. too bad too, I was hoping for Dusty and his receivers to have a big day. Started well, but went away quickly. Hope the kids(and coaches) can gain something from this experience(season)…it can’t be fun.

  3. Not an IU fan, but the new coach needs to remember a little humble pie is not a bad thing. Just remember back to Big Ten Media Day, and his big talk about winning championships and knew nothing about Oaken Bucket, NOW, players are leaving and few wins. Wish IU the best, but maybe he know realizes re-building is harder than he thought!

  4. Hmm…another frustrating loss, but was anyone really expecting an upset?

    They play hard, they’re just not good.

    Obsevations: Actually think the D has improved. I think it’s obscured by the fact that they are on the field so much they wear down against the run by 4th qtr.

    I might question some of the D play calling in spots (I.E. Jenkins ever being left one on one) to blitz and/or the execution on those plays (busted coverages/schemes).

    Offense: I like Houston and I like our WRs (although I find someone as good as we often claim Belcher is should be targeted more and GET OPEN more.)

    We have no legit QB options and our O line can’t protect anyway. That’s a recipe for disaster. My assessment is that Kiel should be the #3 QB. Would rather see either of other two.

    Experience, experience, experience. That’s about all we can hope for on the positive.

  5. So many people wanted Dusty to get his shot and EWB’s tweaked ankle gave him just that. It’s hard to pin blame on his performance but I sure haven’t seen anything that tells me he should be starting. At least EWB and Tre can make things happen when the play breaks down and, lets face it, our plays break down with some regularity. If you look at the one on one matchups on each play our freshmen just can’t man up yet. They’ll benefit from playing early. Not that I don’t think Coach is trying to win each game, I’m sure each loss just kills him, but in looking at who he’s playing I think he getting players prepared for the future. As for myself, I think I’d rather see a couple dismal seasons followed by bowl teams than to go 5-6 forever.

  6. I agree with your QB assesment Chet. I think Roberson made some things happen. He ran as well as EWB, and hit his receivers. He showed why the coaches wanted to get him some PT. At this point, IMO, we are no worse with Roberson as our QB. Not sure if 2nd and third stringers were in for Illanoy, but, he kept them guessing and it opened up some receivers.
    I would like to see our offense sustain some drives as well. 3 and out was all the announcers said. By the way, Shane Wynn is fast for a guy with short legs. lol

  7. I know many, if not all, of Illinoids starters were in the whole game. I’m not familiar enough with their roster but just going by the commentary you could tell the guys had played since the first quarter. We, on the other hand, went deep into the roster.

  8. Chet’s absolutely right about the QB situation. It is totally beyond my understanding how any fans who really wanted to see ‘the best between the lines’ could raise such a fuzz and attempt to influence through their clamor for Rusty. There was absolutely no evidence that I saw that made me think that RK was a better QB at this point than EWB, and there is little that he shows any more merits than Tre Roberson. None. The argument based on the 15 or so minutes at ETSU were largely based on a game already beyond winning and an ETSU let down symbolized by defenders literally sitting on the ground to tie their shoes.
    I totally accept the decision to bring RK in to replace EWB when he was hurt. But the movement by the “Big Red Combine’ scouts to replace the coaches’ judgment lacked in judgment and football evidence. Ther was a clear difference. Where coach Wilson goes now, I leave it to him and I hope all the “homeboy” votes for RK go back to their coffee break and this week’s issue of ‘ELLE’.
    Indiana played well against Illinois. AS well as we can hope at this point; yet, clearly well short of Coach Wilson’ criteria. They actually hit people, and in many cases did so with abandon and gusto. It was good to see several shirts going to the ball to tackle. And, at moments our offensive line competed. Our RBs are solid.
    Defensively, Barnett plays cover with less enthusiasm and focus than my 1-year old grandson has for potty training.

    Having said that…I am still very impressed with the fact that IU is discovering BigTen football. Stay with us coach. We’ll learn.

  9. Sorry, I meant to include in my previous post, after saying that overall Indiana ‘played (Illinois) well”: “…but made key mistakes at critical times that cost us crucial points and momentum. That’s on the lack of focus by those responsible for the mistakes and breakdowns”

  10. Somebody has been trying to teach them how to tackle. That’s a nice change from the past. The last few years it seemed as though, if a player din’t go to the turf on contact, he’d just keep going.

  11. Tsao TsuG,

    I’ve noticed you bashing Barnett several times on here, which I don’t really understand, considering all the problems IU currently has. Seems to me he does some good things out there, as he and Heban play tighter coverage than any IU corners in many years (I’m guessing b/c they’ve been taught to do so). Hope you put aside your dislike of him on his fumble recovery TD against Virginia, which was easily the most exciting play of the first half of the season.

    But anyway, agree to disagree…my real question: What did you think of Richard Council??? If Lawrence Barnett can’t measure up to your 1-year old grandson, I shudder to think of how you described #6’s play the 3 seasons prior to this. Not only could he not cover, or tackle, but the one decent play he would make every fifth game would be celebrated like he saved the world. I know he’s not pertinent to this season, but humor me, we’re 1-5 and have Wiscy in less than a week.

  12. Council was not very good, was he? I can’t help but wonder why BL seemed so devoted to him.
    I also don’t think Barnett has been that bad but, to be honest, I haven’t really isolated on his play. He seems to be part of some good plays. Maybe I’m missing something.
    Or…maybe TTG just has a real monster of a grandson and it was a backhanded compliment.

  13. Andrew, I really am frustrated with Barnett. It has seemed to me that Barnett gives way too much space between himself and the receiver, always late, hits with all of the energy of my grandaughter in her Halloween fairy outfit (pink dust and all) and, has been the source of several key, point giving, momentum changing really depressing plays.

    You are right Andrew, I remember feeling that after the first game,…but deciding to ‘give the kid a break’ after the touchdown play he scored (though the truth, the play was made by the man who forced the fumble). Then, almost immediately he goes right back (in my view) to being the opposing coaches’ dream and the obvious target for our opponents the next game. Now, Heban…sure he gets beat once in a while, even makes mistakes in judgment…but #9 is a man and plays with heart and hardness. What more can one ask for. That is not the case with Barnett. I know it may take us a while to ‘make’ another Heban .

    How do I compare Barnett’s ‘talent’ to Council. Crawl on my knees to the Polish church on Division Street to offer a candle in gratitude…but that makes it even worse, (By the way, there’s a great picture of Barnett in today’s-Sunday- Chicago Tribune. He’s 4 yards from Jenkins who is in the air and Barnett looks like he’s nailed to the ground by one those chain anchors you put to keep the doggie in the backyard.

    What really irritates me is what seems a very blase attitude, a number of ‘missed’ mosquito-bite tackles, very light hitting almost like he is avoiding contact. Almost a poster child for Coach Wilson’a ‘they don’t seem to want to play hard’ statement.

    Now Andrew I hope you have a way of watching #23 plays again. Just thinking about his body language as I write is like when someone is scratching chalk up the blackboard. I will accept the possibility that I don’t understand his ‘assignment’ but I don’t think so. I think I said in that first comment (against BSU) that it seemed he was just ‘posing’ to get his number in the picture.

    Having said that, the decision of who and why and how to deal with whatever is in good hands. I just get paid to use the remote and may just have to live with the screeching sound on the blackboard. Thanks.

    BTW, KevinK…were you saying something or were you just burping?

  14. Andrew, sorry…one last thing. I was not comparing him in the negative to my 1-year old grandson’s potty training. I was saying he appeared to have the same distaste for hitting as my grandson does when we try to rush him to his potty. Just not interested. It’s not dislike for him (Barnett) and I could end up feeling real c**ppy…for all I know he’s a great, great kid. I think I just don’t like what I’ve seen of his play this far. And I can be wrong, it’s happened before. I remember once…about…1963.

  15. The Illinois game has generated a few observations.

    Bobby Richardson has the sky as his only ceiling.

    I’ve watched DK throw dozens of better passes in HS. Seems to be questioning his gun. He does make fast decisions about the D coverage. He’ll need to coach that to Gunner.

    The D has taken up on the “more effort demanded”, demand.

    Belcher is beginning to remind me of Hardy, disappears against good DB’s. Or is it a culture issue on the O?

    Houston wants every carry. He and DR running behind an average line would both be All B10.

    The coaching staff has gotten every players attention.

    I do not care how much it costs to keep Ekler(Red Bull) on the sidelines, pay him. He is the 12th and maybe 13th man.

    After watching Tre for the 1st time he is the QB for what this line can block and what this team can execute. He can handle the action, run or pass. He is the spark plug the Hoosier O needs. The remainder of this season he should start to develop his talent.

    We are not seeing many injuries becoming longer term. I believe it to be so because this staff has developed a philosophy to not play a guy if he is hurt and patiently wait until he is healed. Good philosophy for protecting the psych of a team who is going through a culture change.

    The Hardin boys are learning lessons quickly and improving from this OJT.

    I really like Murphy, an athlete playing FB with his head on right. Watch for his accolades to grow through increased responsibilities over the next 3 1/2 seasons. He is destined.

    The team shows enthusiastic energy.

    Enough Clarionism for now but pray for food poisoning or the flu in Madison prior to the Hoosiers arrival. Hell they even had an extra week to prepare for our assault.

    TTG,

    Your tirade on LB makes me damn sure I do not want to hear what you have to say about the depth behind him. Barnett is not shy about contact by any stretch of the imagination but he is a tackler not a hitter only. Jenkins can make every DB in the B10 look like they are chained to the ground.

  16. I like Murphy too HC. I was going to mention him earlier. The guy flies around the field. He should be able to put on some more muscle, and become a good LB/SS. Alot of potential, talent wise on this team.

  17. The outcome was expected, but the score was better than expected. To have actually been winning at any point in this game was a pleasant surprise.

    Let’s hope the team comes out of the Wisconsin game physically and mentally in tact and that the difference is something less than 60 points.

  18. As for the QB situation, I think KW is doing exactly what he said he would do, giving all three of the QB’s a chance to play. We don’t really know how bad EWB’s ankle is. Next up is Dusty. Dusty’s having a tough day or the game is lost, play the freshman and see what he can do? Absolutely no downside there.

    Each of these three QB’s are raw. They each have talent, but are very inexperienced and they’re now learning a totally new, faster paced offense. KW knows, down deep, that this year’s team is not going to win many games. So why not allow each of those three QB’s some experience and see what they can do? See how they perform under pressure. No substitute for game experience.

    I’m not saying KW is not trying to win the games, but honestly, you don’t start/play that many freshman unless you’re building for the future. This season is not about IU’s wins and losses, this is about changing the culture of IU football and establishing a higher performance standard for each member of the team. To be blunt, from a wins and losses standpoint, this is a “throw-away” season for KW and staff. That became clear after the loss at North Texas. So objectively, if you’re the head coach, you use the remaining games to improve performance, give essential experience to your young players and evaluate talent under game-pressure situations. You make the best out of bad situation.

    Given Gunner’s pending arrival, and since there is no one QB that is heads and shoulders above the others, why not spread the playing time around? Saturday was probably a great learning experience for both TR and DK.

  19. My notes:

    A false sense of optimism to start the game. Bummer.

    Too many three and outs.

    Belcher should get two or three times the amount of targets he receives.

    Kiel was slow to make decisions. Looks lost.

    Roberson was fast to run and to hit his targets. Arm strength? Not sure. Can’t be worse than Kiel’s long ducks.

    We tackle better, but never seem to really put a LICK on someone.

    Our defensive backs are either flat out terrible or we have the worst defensive scheme of all time. Evidence? See Penn State and Illinois getting HUGE plays for TDs on long 3rd downs.

    Win SOMEday?

  20. Question 1: Why are posters unwilling to give EWB a chance to show what he can do with some development by the staff. He is a good athlete, has an strong arm and has developed into an accurate passer, I agree he was skittish and played nervous. Even so the difference between EWB and RK is clear, at least to me. If healthy, I hope he gets a chance to show his learning curve this week. I also hope he does not get dismembered.

    Question 2: A new culture to me means a degree of reality, with hope, but a reality nevertheless. Gunner may be the best NFL-style QB in high school this year. But he is in high school. The only thing we know for sure is he’ll need to get measured for a Senior Prom tuxedo at Columbus East High School. It’s not fair to EWB, TR and Rusty Kiel to think ahead of a process that demands the best leader lead, on the field.

    Hoosier Clarion: That was not a tirade. (I’ve made 3-4 completely consistent comments on that subject since the beginning of the season.It is what I saw. As far as the depth behind #23, I have no idea whatsoever. Obviously, it must be very shallow since I think the coaches have markedly improved the D as a whole. I’m more than content leaving the handling in Eckelar’s and Mallory’s hands (as you say [they] seem to have gotten their attention), but it does not change my view of how two maybe three winnable games became losses. I am surprised at your comment, I’ve always gone to your posts as a source of good commentary and thoughts (today’s analysis of the game were mostly right on). I do think you are a bit forgiving on RK.

  21. Clarion and Podunker, great, great posts. Couldn’t agree more. I never saw Dusty in HS, Clarion, so I’m glad for your second observation. Glad he got a chance to play, but it’s clear it should be EWB and Tre from here on out. With our offensive line, it only makes sense.

    TTG, I hear ya. Like so often happens, two ppl can watch the same exact thing and come away with totally different opinions. No problem there. My only real disagreement with what you said is your questioning of his attitude. This I have not noticed at all and find hard to believe, considering CKW’s emphasis on this sort of thing. Like you suggested, I will be watching #23.

  22. Too too goofy,

    When you’re done demeaning players by misrepresenting their names we’ll have a discussion until then…a burp is more than your rant is worth.

    I’m sure the kid is giving It all he has. The coach whose opinion you seem to value thought him worthy to be in the game.

    Nevermind

  23. The evaluation of any player is difficult, especially for football. The obvious culprits are QB, RB, WR and DBs. When you add in personal opinion and then stir in emotion you arrive at disagreement.

    IU graduated a pretty good QB. Did anyone really believe that positon was in good experienced hands for this season?

    DB is a lonely position. “No man is an island” does not apply to DBs. I saw Heban look pretty bad Saturday, was it his fault? I do not know.

    I know we were on the bad end of the score Saturday but I really feel we played pretty good football. When you sell out to put pressure of the QB you will eventually get burned, either by the pass of the option.

    Recruit, recruit and recruit some more!

  24. Kevin K; who demeaned players by misrepresenting their names? I must have missed that post.

    Jay Gregg; I hope Wilson and his assistants do not have difficulty evaluating players, or IU FB is in big trouble for years to come. I agree that DB is a lonely position. All DB’s get beat for big plays, sooner or later (ask Atlanta’s safety after last night). Some times the player screws up and some times the coach calls the wrong scheme and makes the DB vulnerable. I don’t believe any knowledgeable FB fan watching Saturday’s game can blame any IU DB for Saturday’s loss, but the defensive backs have been a problem for IU for years and years. IU simply needs more bigger and faster athletes that want to play defense. Given the verbal commitments for the class of 2012, I’d say help in on the way.

    Tsao; your comment about Gunner supports my point. Gunner is not on IU’s campus yet. Nothing about his availability or performance is guaranteed. Therefor, why not give each of the top three QB’s a chance to develop against Big Ten competition. Why not use the remaining games to determine who will be the starter going into next spring? No matter how good Gunner is in High School, he’s got a long way to go before becoming an All-Big Ten QB, and game experience makes all of the QB’s better. My guess is that when Wilson has time to think about it, he may consider red-shirting Gunner next year, saving him for when the other elements of the team can compliment his talent. I don’t care how good Gunner is, if he does not have an adequate supporting cast, he’ll struggle. If you have three talented QB’s with experience, why rush Gunner into service with a very young, under-sized and inexperienced offensive line? It may be best for IU football and Gunner if Wilson holds him out until IU has the offensive players capable of protecting him and complimenting his talent.

  25. Based on what I’ve seen I’d go with a healthy EWB if we have one. I actually thought he was playing pretty well, all things considered.
    If a ball carrier gets tackled and doesn’t gain any additional yardage in the process I don’t care if it looks impressive or not.
    As far as Belcher getting more throws, 9 times out of ten, if a receiver isn’t getting thrown to he’s not getting separation.

  26. Podunker, totally agree and, that may be why Coach Wilson seems to be ‘pacing’ his pressure. Not sure about ‘redshirting’ the youngest Kiel (in the sense that I am not sure that’s what KW has in mind), but the scenario you spell out is a sensible one. I also think that we all knew the scenario was likely. I’m actually pretty darned proud of the (most) players and especially the young ones…you can feel a different attitude and there does seems to be some take on Wilson’s ‘will to win’ (and disgust with losing) aura about them.

    Good for you Hoosiers! Wilson may have himself a bunch of warriors. That’s a good place to start a tradition that leads to a culture.

  27. Who is RK? The roster lists players having initials with JK, KK, 2-DK”S and an LK. What position does the General play? We correctly identify skittish and nervous during the OOC season. When matching up with Wisky and the rest of the B10, skittish and nervous may be a compliment. Chappell was adequate+. 1 more item from the game, Illinois has DB’s to be envious of. Sizable, fast, hard hitting safeties and corners who are quick reacting in pass defense with solid tackling. I wonder if Shelby and Mallory made molds after the game.

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