Hoosiers outlast Florida International, 36-22

He yelled and he hollered during the practice week, demanding something more than the defensive breakdowns and tentative play that sullied a season-opening win.

At some point in the last seven days, Kevin Wilson’s message landed.

Although a supposed breakthrough season for Indiana has so far produced a series of uneven and unconvincing results, the IU coach can find solace in the one-week progression of his defense and an undefeated start. The Hoosiers survived a second consecutive nailbiter on Saturday, outlasting Florida International 36-22 after a spirited second-half rally sparked by none other than their oft-maligned defense.

Defensive end Nick Mangieri made two plays that led to scores, recovering one fumble and forcing another, while Jameel Cook took a fourth-quarter interception 96 yards to the end zone to cap Indiana’s second win in as many tries.

“All I talked to our team (about) is the way I try to live, the way I try to coach and want our team to play is, it doesn’t matter what happens, it’s what’s next,” Wilson said. “You need to move on.”

A week after allowing over 600 yards, Indiana outgained the Panthers 439-406, with 154 of FIU’s total yardage coming over the final seven minutes of the game. It was, at times, a bend-not break effort, but it worked. Meanwhile, Indiana followed its 48-point output in the opener with an offense that struggled to cash in on methodical drives deep into FIU territory.

Nate Sudfeld ran for two scores and threw for one more, and Griffin Oakes booted three field goals, but it was Mangieri who supplied two of the most important plays of the evening.

Although the come-from-behind narrative is becoming a familiar one for the Hoosiers, Indiana made marked defensive improvements a week after an empty performance in the opener. IU forced four three-and-outs and scored off all three Panther turnovers, beginning in the second half.

That’s when Mangieri recovered an unforced third-quarter fumble that led to a score before stripping the ball from FIU quarterback Alex McGough in the fourth quarter to set up the game-winning touchdown. Marcus Oliver recovered the strip at the Panther 16-yard line, and Sudfeld hit Mitchell Paige on the first play of the ensuing drive to put Indiana ahead 29-22 five minutes into the final period.

Indiana returns to Memorial Stadium next Saturday to face Western Kentucky at 4 p.m.

For all the deserved cumulative praise for the IU offense, this victory belonged to the defense, a unit that occasionally paid the price for a youthful secondary, but overcame those mistakes with the help of Mangieri’s big night and the contributions of a few others. Rashard Fant didn’t start, for example, but finished with four big pass breakups.

But Indiana found itself behind early after a missed tackle by sophomore safety Kiante Walton turned a McGough pass on third-and-short into a 21-yard touchdown reception by Thomas Owens late in the first quarter. After IU inched within one point on Oakes field goals of 35 and 27 yards, Owens struck again.

Poor coverage by freshman corner Andre Brown, followed by a missed tackle downfield by safety Tony Fields, led to a 75-yard touchdown pass from McGough to Owens six minutes into the second quarter.

Indiana found the end zone only once in the first half on a five-yard scramble by Nate Sudfeld that cut its deficit to 14-13 with six minutes left before halftime. IU posted six drives of nine plays or more, but scored on just one of those possessions. Afterward, Wilson took the blame.

“I felt I was very poor on some third downs and some red-zone thought processes,” Wilson said. “It could have put us in some better positions and I’ll take total responsibility for some of those.”

It took an unforced error from FIU to give Indiana a second-half boost. McGough fumbled a read-option and Mangieri recovered to put the Hoosiers in control at the Panther 20 at the 7:06 mark of the third. Four plays later, Sudfeld ran untouched into the end zone for a one-yard score.

But FIU responded with a 10-play, 90-yard possession early in the fourth quarter, capping the drive with a 28-yard touchdown catch by Dennis Turner, who scored with help of a coverage miscommunication between freshmen Cook and corner Devonte Williams. A two-point conversion run by Alex Gardner put the Panthers ahead 22-19 only 54 seconds into the final period.

IU tied the game on a 40-yard field goal by Oakes before Mangieri helped IU produce the winning score.

On a third-and-eight play at the FIU 19, Mangieri stripped the ball from McGough and Marcus Oliver pounced on it, setting up a one-play scoring drive at the Panther 16 with 10 minutes remaining. On the first snap of the possession, Sudfeld connected with Paige for the easy touchdown, the first of Paige’s career.

“I’ve been waiting for it for a couple years,” Paige said.

FIU drove downfield looking for the equalizer, manufacturing a 10-play, 62-yard drive that took the Panthers as far the IU 2-yard line. On fourth down, McGough scrambled to his left and tossed a floater that was picked off by Cook, giving IU a 14-point cushion and the breathing room it struggled to secure through the season’s first seven-plus quarters.

“Defensively, we got a little bit better,” Wilson said. “But we have a lot of work to do.”


  1. Wow, fan interest on the Scoop is almost as overwhelming as the fan interest inside Memorial Stadium. Was it too hot again this evening? The sparse crowd not withstanding, IU took a big step forward today with the win over FIU. Notably, the defense stepped up when they had to. But lord almighty do they make some terrible mistakes on defense. Two back-to-back 15-yard penalties while trying to hold on to a 7 point lead? And thankfully, the FIU QB overthrew wide open receivers on several occasions. And what’s with the play calling when IU drives the ball over mid field? This vaunted offense stalled in the fourth quarter when it should have been able to ice the game away. But all that notwithstanding, it was a good and essential win for IU. Hope for six wins remains, and progress over the first game’s performance was obvious. And watching Bowling Green beat Maryland today takes some of the sting out of IU’s loss to them last year. Given BGSU’s ability to beat Big Ten teams on their home fields, their head coach won’t there much longer.

  2. ABC gave a shout-out to Harbaugh’s brother-in-law, Tom Crean, during the broadcast of the Michigan vs Oregon State game…..We are officially related to huge stadiums, great sellouts, marquee major network games, and a real athletic program. .Of course, that sort of advertising for Indiana doesn’t come for free.

  3. Po it was pretty cold inside the stadium and it was like sitting in a wind tunnel. I know around our tailgate area many decided not to go in and stay around their fires and continue drinking to stay warm. We lasted into the 3rd quarter and headed back to our RV and warm up. IU decided not to sell hot chocolate or coffee at the concession stands. If they did maybe more people would have stuck around.

  4. Podunker, I noticed that on TV. No, I wasn’t there…..I live in Iowa but I sure saw it TV. Embarrasing. Iowa State was 2-10 overall and 0-9 in conference last year and they still averaged over 50,000 for their home games.

  5. It had nothing to do w the weather. The fan support isn’t there for whatever reason. Maybe because of the non conf schedule. At this point, last years team was better, more and better weapons on offense. Jeremy, who dropped the f bomb into the refs mic?

  6. J Pat, You probably have a point with the OOC schedule but I am curious as to your thought process about more and better weapons on offense. TC was electric but I don’t remember early in the season being tons more so than Howard. Harris and Wynn were reliable but to small to be stars. Educate me. I’ll tell you what I believe caused last nights light turnout, last weeks game.

  7. HC, I believe your reason for the poor turn out is right. The defensive effort last week discouraged a lot of people. J Pat maybe on paper last year’s team was better but we had WRs that couldn’t catch a pass. Yes, Trev was a major player but I think Howard is just as good but with a different skill set. Coach Johns and Wilson need to figure out the best way to take advantage of this talent. I would like to see them try one of the other RBs with Howard as Redding is the same kind of back as Howard so defenses don’t need to adjust when he comes in. Add in that Redding isn’t as effective as Howard which leads many of the series Redding is in turning into a punting situation.

    This team is showing signs of being a solid team down the road if they continue to improve each week. The defensive front showed how much better IU is against the run and how they can pressure the passer. There are talented players through out this defense they just need to gain experience to be able to use their talent. Offensively it appears to me that coaches need to figure out how to make the best use of the talent we have [a big armed QB and grinding RB]. It is different than we had the past couple of years as Howard is a grinder while Trev was a TD waiting to happen. I don’t think our receivers have the ability, right now, to carry the team but do have the ability to punish defenses that focus too much on the run game. There are alot of new pieces to this team on offense and defense so it will take time to really get things meshing well but they can get there to be a special IU football team. If the coaches can’t adjust then this team will just be another mediocre football team we have seen before. I am believing we will see the team turn into a run team that grinds and makes big plays off of play-action passes controlling the clock yet still putting big points up on the board.

  8. It’s going to require a tidal shift for fan support to shift during the course of a single season. A 6 win season with alternating wins and losses won’t do it. To put butts in those seats this season we are going to need a win streak with a couple upsets. If it happens the games will become an event that people want to be a part of.

    If the Hoosier simply limp along the stands will remain devoid of fans.

  9. Clarion, I just think Coleman was special, on a different level. I do think Howard is solid too. You said it, Wynn. I miss Stoner a lot as well…the wideouts don’t seem to be on the same page with Sudfeld right now. Just my opinion. I think you make a good point about last nights light turn out.

  10. J Pat, I don’t think this team will be as explosive due to the talent of the RBs and WR. I see this team being a grinder with big play possibilities but not the homerun capabilites every play that Coleman gave us. We have been spoiled the last couple of years, 2013 we had receivers that could put points on the board in a hurry and 2014 Trev was a TD waiting to happen. This team to be successful needs to drive the ball and finish with TDs taking our shots when defense make a mistake. It won’t be as explosive but can be much more successful if the coaches can make the adjustment.

  11. JP, I get your meaning and concur. I do like the grind it out run game Howard provides with that OL. Simmie Cobbs is building confidence through early small successes. He’ll have to get used to being clutch. I view Jones as good but probably a possession receiver in the direction of a slower, smaller Kofi Hughes. I do not recall as much talent on an IU D as there is today. And as always the problem with talented youth, it has to be honed into skills. For me though in 6 of the 8 quarters of play their energy and enthusiasm puts them on a fast track learning schedule. I am very optimistic for them.

    v13, Not only the D but the O is going to have to develop through change each week outside of game planning. That is where I think this staff can really excel.

    Chet, Probably the best description of IU’s attendance conundrum past, present and future developed for the Scoop. I totally agree.

  12. HC, I agree with you about the ability of this coaching staff to develop players. Last year we saw in dramatic factor how much Zander improved from his first start to his play in IU’s victory against PU. People just are too impatient and don’t understand turning around programs that have had success in the past compared to IU. If they truly want IU to become a football power then they need to support letting Coach Wilson to stay for seven years. It will take that long for his best recruits to become Juniors. At IU we were getting recruits that were going to D1A, D2,and D3. Now we are getting D1 3 Star and 4 Star recruits along with transfers from D1 schools. To benefit from these players as they become experienced it takes seven years to get those results. I want to see IU football become relevant so I hope fans will be patient and not act like most “I want it now” people.

  13. Aside from the low turnout at the first two games, the most disturbing part was how low the enthusiasm was from the fans that were there. Non-conference games breeds lethargy, and maybe it’s simply that, but I felt it was worse these last two games than in previous seasons. Here’s hoping the conference schedule and better play wakes these people up.

    And iuhoosier1992, I’m not sure who told you they weren’t selling hot chocolate, but it was what I saw the most in people’s hands. I was one of them.

  14. HC, yes IU Offense will have to grow as the season goes along. I agree about Cobb showing signs of developing into a great receiver in the future and becoming a go to guy along the way. Ricky can be a big play receiver especially if IU develops a solid running game cranking our four to twelve yards a carry if they leave Howard in the game. I would love to see IU develop a two back shotgun attack using motion to get to one back at times and using two backs to develop misdirection plays.

    It will be fun to watch the freshman receivers develop as the season goes along since they have good size and speed. I worry that Booth and Hawkins aren’t developing the way coaches had hoped. I haven’t heard anything about either on just that they aren’t on the field much at all.

  15. Attendance is a problem at several big 10 school (Illinois, Purdue, Maryland, etc.)…everybody blames it on schedule, winning programs and poor non conference schedule games…..the way i look at it the Indiana football team has played two very exciting games, the kind of games that make you sit on the edge of your seat, games that make you want to get up and yell/cheer for your team…..i notice that the players where begging for fan support (cheers)…how sad!!! any day of the year i rather watch a competitive game, than a complete blowout…somehow, somewhere the IU fans have been SPOILED (with losing), they are a bunch of aging baby boomer (and others), that do not know how to show support for a football program….i saw highlights of several SEC games and a couple of Big 10 games where fan support was off the chart….If we want this football program to match others, we as fan must get behind the program, by attending the games.

  16. Well, I’m the last one to make excuses for the lack of alumni support for the Hoosiers. It’s pathetic. But, that being said, if there wasn’t a single alumnus in the stands the student body should put more butts in the seats than we usually see.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around.

    I don’t think you can blame baby boomers for the fact that IU hasn’t filled the stands for forty years.

  17. Getting a new coach doesn’t turn a football program in the southern hills of Indiana into OSU, Michigan, or ND……It doesn’t open the door for ESPN or any of the major networks to throw TV contracts at a notoriously bottom-feeding Indiana to place them with ‘pinnacle’ of college football excellence as their top lineup of games for the big viewership stage….. (as is still, somewhat, our fortunate relevance in basketball, but it’s fading). Big time stages bring big time attendance. It brings things like ‘College Game Day’ and fuels excitement on campus …It brings the students likely not even huge fans of the game out in masses because it’s just fun to be “part of the experience” ..

    Fred Glass is beyond challenged to fill Memorial…IU has never had any tradition in football…You choose a tough opponent even willing to give up the TV stage and you likely get a butt-whoopin’ and narrow the chances of getting to enough wins to go to a bowl game(the start of the most basic pulse in terms of some notoriety)…You choose cupcakes(which appears to be the strategy) and you dull the senses of interest to an even lower level….If Indiana is going to expect any sort of bigger numbers in the stands without the hoopla that comes with big stage games against notable football opponents, they are going to have to get very inventive with ticket prices and incentives that will lure the non-student population from Indy. Bloomington, and other outlying communities…

    But after seeing the next 6 years of non-conference home games being presented by Glass…? Good luck with that. Simply winning against less-than-sexy opponents will not fill the stands in September……

    And at the moment, under such scenario of blase opponents and zero major television coverage, ticket prices are grossly too high($45.00 for single adult admission)…Take a couple family members and the cost is pushing over $200.00 without even dining out. If the game were against a bit more “household” name opponent rather than cupcakes, maybe more would be willing to drop a good sum of cash..

    In all honesty, how do these teams prepare Indiana for the level of talent they’ll see once the Big 10 schedule gets rolling? How does finding “safe” or “equal” in a low tier opponent add excitement at the critical start-up time a new season? It doesn’t…It doesn’t prepare the team for the shock to their system that will soon come with teams like OSU, MSU,, Michigan…. And it does nothing to take a fan base out of a comatose state of indifference….You can’t expect to shock a hungover dorm rat out of his/her bunk bed or when their historically, notoriously, bad football program is avoiding playing the underdog. Playing it safe in the non-conference is fine for dominant football programs long in tradition. ..They’ll still get turnout…They’ll still get the major TV coverage.

    Playing it safe will not lift IU football out of its zombie state with the fans….And Fred shooting fireworks out his butt won’t do it either. Better opponents, taking risk, and lower prices for the non-students(the few alumni and others sill clinging to a silk thread of interest in IU Football).. IU played it safe with hiring Crean and Glass plays it safe with the IU Football schedule….But safe ain’t fun…Safe ain’t sexy…Safe ain’t fueling the rah-rah in the student body to get behind IU when playing the underdog(e.g. the magnificent win against UK on the Watford buzzer-beater)….and playing it safe will not solve the thinning numbers in the stands.

  18. Finding early non-conference opponents somewhat near “equal’ and “safe” may better the chances a bowl…but it does nothing to the chances of shocking a dead football fan base out of its complete indifference…These uninspiring opponents scheduled more for the opportunity a Florida away game vacation every other fall,season is L-A-Z-Y. It is I-N-S-U-L-T-I-N-G to a family strapped in the grips of stagnant national wages long behind paces of inflation, to drop over $200.00 for one game against Suntan U.

    With that sort of insulting, lazy, safe, and self-serving strategy, I think fans should boycott all games until such crappy future non-conference schedules are revived. Glass is lucky he gets 50% attendance based on his methods of low risk opponents and low excitement level to kickoff a season….When did IU earn the luxury to be anything but a severe underdog?

    Boycott watching these games….Don’t even watch such garbage games of zero risk on the garbage Big !0 network. Don’t even tune in on the radio to listen to a fake take of it from Don “Fish” selling this sort of crap as a reason someone should drop $45.00 for a cup of cocoa and zero football.