Andy Graham’ Cream and Crimson commentary: IU at Northwestern

FINAL: NORTHWESTERN 44, INDIANA 29
2:16. Fourth down fade pass goes incomplete as IU gets inside NU 10 but can’t score. This game is history.

5:07: Northwestern 44, Indiana 29. IU 3 and out and punt leads to what looks like a clinching drive for Northwestern, which went 62 yards in 8 plays, the final 22 on a Colter scamper set up by a great block from wideout Demetrius Fields. NU now has 698 total yards, a school record. More than I’d have guessed, actually. There are times IU’s defense has stood up reasonably well, but with both offenses playing no-huddle and hurry-up, there are a heck of a lot of possessions for both sides.

9:09: Big interception of a tipped Siemian pass by IU’s Alex Webb. Hoosiers have the ball, down 8, at their own 24.

14:06: Northwestern 37, Indiana 29: Well hush my mouth and pass the gravy. Indiana now within 37-29 after D’Angelo Roberts TD run (complete with a great straight-arm) and Kofi Hughes reverse pitch for 2. Roberts apparently also had a fine block on Tevin Coleman’s kickoff return TD.

END THIRD QUARTER: NORTHWESTERN  37, INDIANA 21. Teams combined for a 35-point quarter. Pretty wildly entertaining after such a lopsided first half.

1:16: Northwestern 37, Indiana 21. Budzien 29 field goal after what should have been a TD pass was dropped by Fields in the end zone.

4:20: Northwestern 34, Indiana 21. Wow. Great 96-yard kickoff return for IU by Tinley Park’s Tevin Coleman in front of the home folks, including his parents in attendance. Coleman dropped the kickoff, initially, but then pieced his way through traffic and took off, stepping out of a last ankle tackle try at midfield and showing great speed.

4:43: Northwestern 34, Indiana 14: The game now resembles more of what I thought we might see in the first half, a shootout between pretty potent offenses, but IU has to somehow overcome spotting NU that 20-0 cushion. It took the Wildcats just 2:45 to answer IU’s last score, with Kain Colter again killing the Hoosiers on option plays.

7:28: Northwestern 27, Indiana 14: Perfectly thrown post-pattern from Sudfeld to Hughes, who made a great juggling catch in the endzone, for a 35-yard scoring play. A ballgame all of a sudden? A forced fumble by John Laihinen, recovered by Larry Black at the IU 36, set up the scoring drive. It looks like IU might

9:24.: Northwestern 27, Indiana 7. Finally signs of life from IU’s offense. Stephen Houston flat ran right over a NU quarterback on a 20-yard TD romp around left end.

11:52: Northwestern 27, Indiana 0. Wildcats open the second half by cruising right down the field 75 yards in 7 plays to keep kicking Hoosier tail. Kain Colter took it in easily from 15 yards out around right end, running right through a missed tackle by Kenny Mullen. IU looks thoroughly beaten at this point. The only question really remaining, barring a pretty miraculous rally, is who plays quarterback (and how well) for Indiana here in the second half.

HALFTIME: NORTHWESTERN 20, INDIANA 0. Where for art thou, Tre Roberson? (Actually, Roberson is on campus and doing pretty well, already walking to class on his broken led without a walking cast, but obviously still missed on the football field). Terribly desultory half for the Hoosiers, especially on offense, as reflected in the score. IU came in averaing 36 points and 538 yards per game, but won’t get anywhere near either mark unless drastic changes ensue. IU has only 145 yards of offense. The Hoosiers haven’t given the band much reason to play the first down march, and no reason to play a post-score fight song. Might see more of true freshman Nate Sudfeld at quarterback in the second half, one would think. Cam Coffman has looked confused and ineffective, even when plays appeared available.

0:56. Northwestern 20, Indiana 0. Budzien 34 FG.

7:59: Northwestern 17, Indiana 0. Hoosier defense still having issues against the NU option and Kain Colter cruises in with his second 8-yard TD run on the day off an option keeper. Adam Replogle is having a heck of a day at defensive tackle for IU so far, and the defense has made some plays, but has also allowed some big plays while Indiana’s offense remains essentially moribund. Wouldn’t at all be surprised to see a change at quarterback for IU.

11:41: Northwestern 10, Indiana 0. Greg Heban playing well again, for the second straight game, but while in good position to stop a third-down pass for Colter stumbled and it turned into a key 19-yard completion to the IU 17. But the Hoosier defense holds and, after a holding call on NU, Jeff Budzien nails a 44-yard field goal.

END FIRST QUARTER: NORTHWESTERN 7, INDIANA 0

Another questionable read by Coffman on a 3rd-and-7 from the IU 33, completes to Hughes on a crossing route well shy of the first down and Hughes looked like he injured a knee on the play. Huge loss if Kofi’s injury is serious, but it appears he’s riding a bike on the sideline, so maybe not. That was the final snap of a generally discouraging opening quarter for IU. Better quarterbacking might have had the Hoosiers at least even and they should at least have 3 points. Indiana’s defense has played pretty well except against the option on the NU scoring drive. Total offense: NU 117 yards, IU 109.

IU has thrown deep on 3rd-and-short twice now, must be something they saw in the scouting report. Kofi made it pay off once, but generally it hasn’t really been there.

5:52: Northwestern 7, Indiana 0. After IU blew its golden scoring chance, the Wildcats roared 80 yards in 6 plays, all on the ground, to score with Kain Colter taking it in from 8 yards out. The Hoosiers looked pretty hapless against the option during the drive.

6:07: What a waste. Great leaping catch by Kofi Hughes over VanHoose for 39 yards sets up IU at the NU 11 to capitalize on Heban’s interception. But on 3rd-and-2 from the 3, Coffman rolled left and then seemed to panic, throwing the ball away well before there was any pressure on him at all. Then, to top it off, the normally reliable Mitch Ewald missed a 21-yard field goal attempt.

Bad start for Coffman. Questionable reads and bad throws, the last one picked by Nick VanHoose. IU’s Greg Heban, however, returns the favor with a great pick, undercutting a route, and a return to midfield.

Indiana’s 1st drive got a first down, then bogged down, then Northwestern followed suit. Both really need possessions producing points today. Figures to be a high-scoring affair.

PREGAME: Saw a sign walking up Central Ave. here in Evanston that said, “IU Party.” We’ll see if the Hoosiers can create reasons to celebrate today, but that won’t be easy against a very solid 4-0 Northwestern team. Indiana’s Marching Hundred is in the house, which should add some oomph to IU’s rooting contingent (presuming they’ve gotten over the recent edict from the football program prohibiting the band from playing its first-down march), but there is almost always a reasonably healthy contingent of Hoosier fans here in Chicagoland.

It’ll¬† purportedly be start No. 2 for Cam Coffman as IU’s quarterback, with a bye week to heal after sustaining a hip pointer in the loss to Ball State two Saturday’s ago, and he’ll have to help the Hoosiers produce a lot of points if they hope to win today. Northwestern scored 59 points and amassed 616 yards against Indiana in Bloomington last year and are probably even better at rushing the ball this season with Venric Mark in the backfield. IU’s offense has also looked potent this year, averaging 36 points and 538 yards per game during a 2-1 start, but the Hoosiers haven’t played the caliber of competition Northwestern has, and the Wildcat defense hasn’t allowed more than 13 points in its last 3 games.

Let’s see if the Hoosiers give the band reasons to, at least, play the fight song.

3 comments

  1. Great summary of the first half Andy Graham. While it may seem like a nickel on the national debt, the Ewald miss (100% on bad plant foot technique)early, early was critical to the mind set. Adding that, totally agree. Coffman looks lost and ‘skittery’, nervously hurried. Receivers seem to lack concentration (though I am not sure about the quality of the passes thrown their way). Defensively; sad to say but whatever improvement we’ve made (and there are moments where you see some) are lost in the secondary (#7 in particular).

    Northwestern is a phenomenal model for recovery of a program and a culture for the Hoosiers. They were where we were, but climbed out of that whole through strength of character in their coaching staffs and by bringing in good kids who were not necessarily sought after but had talent and will to get better.

    We are not there…but we are not the embarrassment we have been for the last 6-7 years. We, IU fans, have to give it time!

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