Missouri posts 623 yards of offense; Hoosiers O struggles in 45-28 Tigers win

WHAT HAPPENED: Missouri posted 623 yards of total offense, a Memorial Stadium-record for an Indiana opponent, to handle the Hoosiers 45-28 in front of 49,149. It was the biggest crowd at an IU home game since 2010.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Missouri quarterback James Franklin was everything Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said he was. The fifth-year senior threw for 343 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 61 yards and a score. He was accurate on deep, intermediate and short routes and difficult to contain when he got outside the pocket. His presence made the Tigers much more difficult to defend on the zone read option, and he was a big part of the reason they rushed for 280 yards on 50 carries.

Tailback Russell Hanbrough rushed for 104 yards on 13 carries, including a 45-yard touchdown run for the Tigers’ final score. Tailback Marcus Murphy rushed for 67 yards and an early touchdown and tailback Henry Josey also rushed for 47 yards. Marcus Lucas led the Tigers in receiving with 10 catches for 101 yards and Dorial Green Beckham caught eight passes for 105 yards and a score.

Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy made the biggest play, however, beating IU left tackle Jason Spriggs inside, ripping down a pass from IU sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld and taking it back 49 yards for a touchdown that made it 28-14 Missouri. 

Sudfeld threw for 229 yards and a touchdown, but it was clearly his worst performance of the season as he also threw for three picks and completed just 21 of 39 passes. Though he was never sacked, he was often hurried and hit and he didn’t handle the pressure particularly well. Sophomore wide receiver Cody Latimer was a bright spot for the Hoosiers with eight receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. Safety Greg Heban had two interceptions, defensive end Zack Shaw had 1.5 sacks and cornerback Tim Bennett had two tackles for loss, seven tackles and a fumble recovery but none of that was nearly enough.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Missouri totaled 623 yards of offense, which is more than any other Indiana opponent has ever had in Memorial Stadium, so that obviously means the Hoosiers defense has to carry some of the burden. The Tigers averaged 5.6 yards per carry on the ground and Franklin completed 32 passes for 343 yards.

But this wasn’t the defense’s worst hour. They did a decent job of bending but not breaking for much of the game, causing three turnovers, four punts and a missed field goal. Considering how much of a shootout this game was expected to be, eight stops should have probably been enough to get the Hoosiers a win. They weren’t able to get much pressure on Franklin, but they at least had some and they recorded three sacks and six tackles for loss. Much of their problem was that they spent so much time on the field. Missouri won the time-of-possession battled 36:45 to 23:15 and the Tigers ran 97 plays to Indiana’s 79. They actually gave up more yards per play (6.9) against Navy in that 41-35 loss than they did this week, when they surrendered 6.4 yards per game.

But Indiana’s powerful offense looked disjointed, starting with the offensive line. With twists and stunts, Missouri managed to get significant pressure on Sudfeld even when using a 3-3-5 defense and sending a three-man rush or delaying the rush for a fourth man. They almost always got pressure when they did throw in a blitz and simply looked quicker and more athletic than the Hoosiers up front.

IU coach Kevin Wilson admitted that the run-pass balance wasn’t nearly good enough, as the Hoosiers threw the ball 53 times while rushing it just 26. More telling was that in the first half, Sudfeld had thrown 33 passes while the Hoosiers had run the ball just 10 times. The Hoosiers occasionally had success on the ground with tailback Tevin Coleman, but didn’t seem dedicated to it early and struggled to get it going late once they’d fallen behind. Taking out Sudfeld and adding Tre Roberson to the mix for the purpose of a more dangerous zone read option didn’t help matters much either.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: This was the closest thing Indiana was going to have to a “prime-time” game to prove itself to the country or at least its own fan base. Even if the Hoosiers didn’t actually win this game, they could have at least made a statement by turning this into a score-for-score shootout that many expected it to be and proven that they would at least always be entertaining.

Instead, they proved themselves to have a defense that is bend-but-don’t-break at it’s best and porous at its worst. And the offense called into question its first three weeks of gaudy numbers by appearing overwhelmed by the defense of the first major conference team it played.

The Hoosiers lost this game in front of 49,149, which was the largest crowd at Memorial Stadium since they hosted Michigan in front of a sellout 52,929 in 2010 in a 42-35 loss that really was a score-for-score shootout. Getting this big of a crowd for a non-conference game against a team that was not Kentucky and was no a Top 25 is significant, and this loss will make it difficult to get that crowd back. More importantly, though, this loss makes Indiana’s margin for error even smaller than it already was.

Getting to six wins means at least a 4-4 Big Ten record for Indiana. The Hoosiers haven’t done that since 2001, Cam Cameron’s final season at the helm. The Hoosiers haven’t won five games in the conference since 1993 and they’ve only been 4-4 twice in that time. There appear to be three very winnable games on the Big Ten schedule with Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue all coming to Bloomington, but none of those games are guaranteed victories by any means. Even  if Indiana wins all three, they still need at least one victory over Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin or Ohio State. The Hoosiers have never beaten Penn State in 16 tries. They haven’t beaten Michigan State since 2006, Michigan since 1987, Wisconsin since 2002 or Ohio State since 1988.

WHO SAID WHAT:
IU Coach Kevin Wilson

“It’s disappointing to lose and not play better than we did, but you have to give a lot of credit to Missouri because they played well on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they had a lot of balance. We did create a few turnovers and had some stops but not nearly enough. They worked us hard at the run game, which got going much better than ours and their line of scrimmage and defensive line did a very nice job. WHen it came to us, I think we were just out of sync and out of rhythm. Nate has played awfully well but tonight he didn’t get a lot of help and that didn’t make him look as good. Tonight we went to Tre with a drive or two just to spark the offense. We will keep working both those guys in our game plan; there’s not a quarterback controversy. We will just keep playing them and see how it goes. We put trey in because we felt that we needed a little change of pace.”

On the run game

“We can look at play-calling mostly. To me, I felt like we needed to stay with the run. Last week there were 28 runs in the first half and 21 passes, where today, there were 30 passes and 10 runs To me, that signals play calling. They were doing a fair amount of movement up front with some different slants and things and we also just didn’t execute well. We will look at how we prepared and what our game plan was, but the bottom line is they just kicked our tails up front.

On quarterback protection

“When you’re not running the ball well and you end up in 2nd-and-10 and 3rd-and-10 situations, you’re going to have to throw the ball. Nate was just a little too quick in progressions a few times and that caused some problems, but when your surrounding parts are playing well and you have some balance, things work better. I think the key to this game was balance. Missouri played with balance and we didn’t.”

On the interception

“It’s a quick-type deal that you’ll go with some aggressive run-oriented type blocking. Because they were moving and we were missing some movements. We had adjusted and said, ‘Hey, lets temper it back a little bit,’ Well, in tempering ourselves back, we’re sitting there looking. The kids a solid pass-stop. … We made an adjustment that probably we shouldn’t have done. Put one of our players in a bad position. It was probably as much our fault as coaches.”

On 623 yards

“It’s too much. Way too many. To me, they were going to present some really good problems. Again, a couple of their running backs ran OK. I thought we did Ok against those guys until they popped the one at the end of the game. I was worried about the quarterback in space and I was worried about the ball up there one-on-one. I thought our corners for the most part gave up a play or two but could’ve gave up more. Mike and Timmy I think are learning and making strides. That’s way too many yards, but part of those yards our lack of offensive execution. The offense is executing, it helps the defense and vice versa.”

Nate Sudfeld

On Kony Ealy interception

“It’s a slant and there was just a miscommunication with the line. It might have been my fault, I’m not sure. I haven’t talked to coach about it. We were supposed to cut him down, but I don’t know if I called it right or something. The guy made of a heck of a play. … It’s a quick throw. You’re really not looking at the rush. You’re looking at spaces on the field. When it’s a quick throw, you just want to get guys down. I probably called the wrong protection or did something wrong.”

On dealing with pressure

“They had some tremendous athletes on their defensive line especially and were getting to me pretty well,” Sudfeld said. “I think I was maybe holding on to the ball too long and maybe a little antsy. I never really got settled, but I can’t afford to be that way. I gotta be on top of my game, and I wasn’t on top of my game tonight.”

Greg Heban

“They were balanced with the run and pass. I think they came out just like how we thought they were going to. But the defense didn’t step up as much as we needed to. I think we’ve played pretty well,  but when the offense is struggling a little bit, that’s when the defense has to step up their game. I just don’t think the defense did that as well as they needed to.”

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson

AUDIO: Tim Bennett

AUDIO: Greg Heban

AUDIO: Nate Sudfeld

12 comments

  1. Greg Heban said, “I think we’ve played pretty well, but…..” Isn’t Greg Heban a senior? If he thinks that’s playing pretty well, then we have bigger problems that I thought.

  2. Po,

    Top O the Mornin. Your post expresses exactly the real IU FB situation as I’ve been stating since Wilson came to town. Lack of Talent. A season ago we all would have agreed Heban was our best D player, a walk-on who was also a baseball walk-on. Wilson and staff have recruited better than any staff in my last half century + of fan memory. But the majority of those recruits are Freshmen and some Sophomores. Most of the talent above the Frosh level including JUCOS in the future would never get an offer from IU FB. Think about that, players like D. Roberts, D. Wilson, J. Alexander, Heban, Coffman, Dalhstrom, Tre, L. Himes, P. Bachman and Hardin( and a load of others)in the future will not be Hoosiers. That is why it is for sure a 5 year rebuild. With the BIG evolving as it is it will take even longer to reach the top 1/3 of the conference. The NFL is a different animal but Tom Landry coach of the Cowboys did not have a winning season until year #7. I do not want to think what last nights score would have been if the team from 2 years ago had been on the field.

  3. Texas won laast night to temporarily save Mack Brown’s job;but lost 2 games by 20+ point difference and fired a Defense Coord.Time for AD and Alumni to evaluate wethehow the sr Wilson and Company can recruit,coach,and MEET reasonable expectations.I dont think they can;in fact I dont think they can,in fact I have serious doubts if some should be coaching above Div 3 level.Its time to send a message!!! You cannot recruit players of DIV 1 calibre after the demonstrated efforts shown against Navy and Missouri.The recruits will ( maybe even NOW) think you have a 3-ring circus in B-Town and clowns running the show.its time for Admin to get serious IF they want a serious program;if not ,here’s the whistle and blow the next ACT into the ring

  4. HC, I have to respectfully disagree with a couple of your points. One, I never thought Heban was IU’s best defender last year. Not trying to nit pick, just saying I did not think he was the top guy.

    Secondly, your statements suggest that recruiting is just a function of time and effort, and that recent history plays no roll in the quality of players a team signs. I’m afraid that in the real world of college football recruiting, that is not the case. Last night’s loss will affect IU’s recruiting for the 2014 season. The loss to Navy will affect IU’s recruiting for the 2014 season. And the other losses IU will suffer this year, like the inevitable blow-out they’re probably going to suffer against Ohio State, is going to affect recruiting in the near future. It’s real simple. The vast majority of 4 and 5-star athletes will not sign with a program that they perceive to be floundering, or digressing. Either IU wins 5 games this year, and shows momentum, or we can assume that next’s year’s recruiting class will not include any more talent than this year’s recruiting class did.

    The point I was trying to make last week, which so offended a few of the regulars on this site, is that their is a point to which a coaching staff peaks and then begins to lose momentum. They lose the fans, who conclude that they will not get better, or that it’s the same old same old, and they lose in recruiting (and they are often connected). There is a point in a head coach’s tenure when he either maintains and builds upon the early momentum he established, or he begins to stall and sputter and then even go backward. Wilson is at risk of being perceived as having peaked if he does not improve IU’s record in the next 15 months. Oh, those of us close to the program, who analyze it regularly can see signs of the improvement, but a 17 or 18 year old High School kid who is getting offers from a lot of winning programs is going to keep it real simple. They are going to ask, “is this program on the rise, stuck in neutral, or in decline?” If there is any doubt, most will choose another school over IU.

    And compare Wilson & staff to the other coaching staffs who were charged with turning a football program around. Kill at MN is a good example. He started at the same time Wilson did, but it appears he has done more to improve MN than Wilson has at IU in the same amount of time. That perception may not be accurate or fair, but in the world of college recruiting, perception is reality. We’ll see on November 2nd, won’t we.

    And by the way, that’s the logic of those people who criticized the hiring of Wilson in the first place. They wanted a big name coach with head coaching experience and the proven track record of building a winning program. I’m still in, but IU has taken a step backward this year. Maybe they can still turn it around and win three more games this season. Let’s hope so.

  5. …Kill is the perfect example!…4-0 against UNLV, New Mexico St., W. Ill. and San Jose St….which 2 of that 4 would you compare in quality to Navy and Mizzou?…

  6. This has nothing to do with coaching. You can’t turn this thing around overnight.

    I doubt if the most high-profile coach in the land could create a floodgate of 4 and 5-star recruits in three years. Most high-profile head coaches would be viewed as washed up taking the IU job at the time Wilson came to Bloomington.

    This is Indiana’s best shot. Give him the time frame required to instill a winning attitude in the collective mindset. And though the scoreboard may not always be kind, it’s the character of coach that the top recruits will gradually buy into. It’s still very early..I wouldn’t hit the panic button just yet. It will take men of unique circumstances and character to choose Indiana football in this rebuilding phase. Can’t expect floodgates to open with one savior recruit as can be the case with basketball.

    It’s not about accepting mediocrity or being content with “floundering”…It’s called perspective and understanding that there is nothing quite comparable to making a program deep in the quicksand of irrelevance over the last 30 years pulling itself out overnight. Wilson is the long extended branch of our last gasp of hope. And that branch is only as strong as our fortitude and trust in his choices(players and coaches)to pull us out. You can be a weak old twig or an extension of solid young limb part of his arm.

  7. Sorta weird..Chet was such a regular and then he just vanished. When was his last appearance on Scoop? Was it when he got into that last spat with Clarion over Barney Frank?

    Sure hope Chet just go sick of this place..Would hate to think something serious has caused his absence. Damn guy lives on the edge…Hope he’s o.k.

  8. Agree with H4H (and others) about how long building a football program can take, but it is not “hitting the panic button” to change defensive staff that has had three years to make improvements but still has problems in basic matters such as tackling.

  9. Correction: I refereed to IU football as in a “rebuilding” phase. It’s more accurate to think of it as a “legitimacy” phase…Taking a program that would have been more suited to Division 2 and attempting to make them relevant in one of the toughest Division 1 football conferences in the land. This program was historically measured on the slim chances an Oaken Bucket victory to erase the usual ugliness year after year after year after year after year after year after year. would that satisfy our same measures of competency for Hoosier basketball? There could never be a witch-hunt or zero tolerance of anything when it pertains to Hoosier football. No reason to hunt…No reason to tolerate or not tolerate…No reason to villain chase…No reason for anniversary parties…Nothing to but flat-line expectations for decades. Basketball was always in waiting. But now we want the quick fix because a coach came from an highly respected and established Oklahoma football program? Suddenly he brings the blowtorch when Bloomington has had nothing but the occasional tiny flame of an Oaken Bucket matchstick attempting to light the passion under a 100-yard pile of soggy moss…? Our big measure of success for Hoosier football was simply to compete with Purdue.

    Our measure of failure in basketball is the creeping in of any thoughts of product comparison/equality with Purdue.

    Can one truly grasp just how far behind this program was left to grow as fungus aside the Assembly Hall parking lot during the glory days of banners and the post-banner 15 years of deciding whether to keep or no longer tolerate Bobby?

    IU football on the quick…? Try taking an below average 5th-grade student and placing him/her in a top-ranked high school senior class. That’s the mountain. Now get some dame perspective.

  10. “Legitimacy phase.” I like it. I also offer “relevance phase.” Meaning that games v. IU in are relevant to the conf. as a whole, e.g., so that when Michigan haters see that IU is the next Michigan opponent, they take heart.

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