4 things we learned from IU’s loss to Ohio State

1. Richard Lagow laid a nice foundation for his senior season.
Indiana had the better quarterback on Thursday. Under duress all night, Lagow played well considering the circumstances. Sure, there were some poor decisions mixed in — for example, his last-ditch attempts to throw the ball away to avoid sacks were nearly disastrous — but the senior looked like the improved, confident quarterback his teammates and coaches propped up during fall camp. If his offensive line gives him more time to throw during upcoming games, Lagow seems capable of authoring a more consistent season than his last. Lagow was far from perfect against the Buckeyes, but given the caliber of Ohio State’s defense and IU’s non-existent running attack, it was a very encouraging performance.

2. The weapons at Lagow’s disposal are impressive.
Simmie Cobbs originally committed to Purdue, which wanted him to play safety. Cobbs, however, wanted to play receiver and Indiana was more than willing to oblige. Cobbs showcased his natural playmaking qualities on Thursday, abusing Ohio State’s secondary. Get used to that. With his size and leaping ability, Cobbs should be a problem for opposing defensive backs all season. Other Hoosiers will also pose problems. Tight end Ian Thomas was a revelation in the red zone Thursday, Luke Timian looked capable of filling Mitchell Paige’s role in the slot and Donavan Hale had moments that illustrated why IU coaches love his potential. Nick Westbrook would’ve been a factor against the Buckeyes, too, had he not injured his knee on the opening kickoff. An update on his status may not come until Monday.

3. We’ll understand much more about Indiana’s run game and offensive line after next week.
The Hoosiers averaged 0.6 yards per carry against the Buckeyes and, for much of the night, backup quarterback Peyton Ramsey was the team’s leading rusher. He finished with 10 yards. Indiana’s ground attack was non-existent. But don’t sound the alarm just yet. That was an incredibly impressive Ohio State defensive front that gave IU’s offensive line fits all night. Both the IU O-line and running back corps entered Thursday’s game as works in progress and it’s possible they’ll remain so for much of the fall. But other than pointing out that those two units were utterly dominated against the Buckeyes’ NFL-caliber defensive front, it’s difficult to gauge exactly where the Hoosiers stand. Next week’s game against a beatable Virginia team should provide a better opportunity to assess.

4. Top-25 defenses don’t look like that.
Indiana coach Tom Allen raised the standard this off-season, challenging his defense to finish in the top 25 by the end of the year. IU’s performance Thursday was not the best avenue to get there. The Hoosiers played well early, especially in holding the Buckeyes to merely three third-down conversions in their first 10 attempts. But Indiana wore down during the final quarter and a half, losing better Buckeye athletes in space and struggling to contain freshman running back J.K. Dobbins. IU’s defensive line also failed to put any semblance of pressure on quarterback J.T. Barrett. Don’t misunderstand. This defense once again has the potential to be pretty darn good. But can it be top-25 worthy? It didn’t look the part against Ohio State.

What’s next: at Virginia, Sept. 9, 3:30 p.m., ACC Network Extra.
Next week could be one of the more important games of IU’s season. The Cavaliers, predicted to finish last in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s seven-team Coastal Division, are a beatable opponent. Seven wins are within reach for this Indiana team this season. But to get there, the Hoosiers have to take care of business in Charlottesville. Virginia opens its season Saturday against William & Mary.

25 comments

  1. Something to think about…I realize that Simmie Cobb had a great game, but if Simmie Cobb had of been suspended for one game or half a game would Nick Westbrook be injury? Also everyone must agree that Richard Lagow looked a lot better, but Richard still has no command/feel for the “GAME” or the ability to escape ( pocket presence) from the pocket. When Lagow panics in the pocket, his decision making ability in the pocket is questionable at best (which usually results in something bad). An the defense was exposed in this game, not just the lineman, but the entire defense looked “SLOW”. An more important, the defense did not look physical. But, as a true IU fan this is only one game, we still have 11 games to go and improvement is possible. “GO HOOSIER”

  2. I don’t think Lagow panicked, I think he felt pressure to make every play. Going up against a superior team puts mental pressure on the QB, especially when his team has fallen behind. I think it stems from an intense desire to win and Lagow’s feeling that every passing play had to be successful. I’m sure Lagow has already received a lot of “feedback” during the film session from his QB coach on his decision-making during the second half. But let’s be honest, had Lagow been perfect, IU still would not have defeated OSU on Thursday night. IU went up against a vastly superior team; probably one of the two best teams in America.

  3. IU was never going to win OSU game. Even if they were leading into 4th quarter. At all positions for IU you have 3 star players some of which have improved to 4 star players. OSU has all four and 5 star players some of which have improved to 6 and 7 stars if the ratings went that high. With a couple of adjustments and effort OSU can turn their skills on anytime they want once they feel a little threatened against a team like IU. IU does not have those extra skills to turn on. They already were playing at the high end of their potential. Really, the only thing IU learned from OSU game is there is much room for improvement and they already knew that. It was not about finishing because in reality they never had a chance to win for reasons I stated. They can learn more about themselves against lesser teams over the next few weeks.

    1. Maybe IU was never going to win the OSU game, but it would have been nice if we could have held the score a bit closer and keep fans in the seats until the end. We would probably have been better off catching OSU resting on their laurels and keeping the game competitive later in the season. Sure, Fred got us a lot of good publicity prior to the game and for 2+ quarters, but whatever benefits we accrued with fans and recruits during that time period were quickly flushed down the toilet with the beat down the team took in the second half. If it wasn’t for the OSU fans, the stadium would have been almost empty in the 4th quarter.

      I’m not sold on Lagow’s improvement. He was extremely lucky not to have 2 additional interceptions on ill advised throws, at least one of which would have been a pick six, and he was also fortunate that fumble for a touchdown was reversed and called an incompletion (which I believe was the correct call). He is so slow to react. Remember red headed Ben from a few years ago. Even though he was slow afoot, he made better decisions and threw the ball away before getting sacked or fumbling.

      With Maryland’s upset of Texas and Purdue playing Louisville close until the end, our schedule just got tougher, especially if we hope to “break through” to a 7 or 8 win season. Saturday’s game with Virginia is a must win, especially since they are picked to finish at the bottom of the ACC. Win, and there is still hope for a decent season. If we lose, chances of going even 6 and 6 will not be good.

      I haven’t given up hope yet, but after following the Hoosiers for over 50 years, my optimism is barely on life support. At least my wife and I still have memories of our Rose Bowl trip!

  4. Yes there was improvement for Lagow but the pressure mounted for him in the second half stemming from a non-existant running game . Ohio State being aware of this made it even that much more difficult. Its really hard to pinpoint just how good IU could be , but take the fact this was the second ranked team in America and actually led at half is something to build on. The development of the O line will need to be accelerated as the threat of a running game will be a must.

  5. Going 40 of 65 with three passing TDs against OSU is an outstanding performance, especially when it became obvious that IU had no running game. And let’s not forget, Lagow had six passes dropped by his receivers. One of Lagow’s INTs was a tipped pass. An inch or two the other way and it could have easily resulted in his fourth T.D. pass. Lagow has improved, but the question now is, does he have the offensive line necessary to establish balance between run and pass? If he does not, his improvement is irrelevant. One thing is for certain, he’s not a threat to run the ball or escape the pocket and scamper for a first down.

    As for Purdue and Maryland playing well, I doubt either of those teams could have done any better against OSU. Texas should never have been ranked in the top 25, and Louisville, with the exception of their QB, is rebuilding this year. But did anyone doubt that Purdue would be better under their new coach? He’s a proven winner, and it would have been impossible for Purdue to have gotten any worse!

    The exposure realized by IU from Thursday night’s game was a huge net positive. Since everything is relative to expectations, and no one expected IU to beat OSU, IU’s crowd, the atmosphere inside the stadium, the obvious visual evidence of their investment to improve facilities, their performance in the first two and half quarters, the many positive comments made by the ESPN’s broadcasters; all that overcame the fact that the game got away from them in the fourth quarter. But what IU needs now is strong fan support, not the same old pessimism, paranoia and wait-and-see attitude that has plagued the program for most of the last 50 years. Fan support and enthusiasm will improve recruiting, increase revenue, and allow broadcasters to increase IU’s exposure. If the Hoosier Nation wants a better football program, we have to do our part.

  6. One last comment: I love Tom Allen! I’m rooting for him like I’ve never rooted for any other IU head coach. If I ever meet him, I’ll have to resist the urge to give him a hug. I believe he is genuinely humble and good to his core. I don’t think Wilson was a bad person, but I’m glad Allen appears to be his polar opposite. I really appreciate that Allen is doing his “dream job” and is thrilled to be doing it in his home state. It is an inspiring story. From all accounts, his players love and respect him. But Tom needs to lose some of that humility when in front of the TV cameras. He needs to be careful that he does not inadvertently convey that he’s “just happy to be here.” He needs to reveal a little more ego, more self confidence, and include just a touch of bravado. Successful football coaches have big egos and display great confidence. Top football players do too, even when they’re still in High School. Men with healthy egos and self confidence attract each other. And does anyone doubt that “confidence sells?” Tom Allen needs to let his ego breath a little. I’m not suggesting Allen begin displaying arrogance or that he tries to become someone he’s not, but that he simply retires the “aw shucks” persona that he seems to have been demonstrating since being hired as IU’s head coach. He’s “the man” now, and I think he deserves to be where he’s at. It’s O.K. if his public persona reflects that.

  7. IU played very inspired football for 2.5 quarters. Then the OH St defense shut us down. With zero run game and not composed QB play the game was over. Do not attack the defense for their play against a truly outstanding freshman RB and a good, experienced 5th year QB. IU came up short, no question. But this team, barring injuries, can win 7+ and turn the corner. Just “do it baby”!

  8. Correct to a “T”, it does remind you of the Bill Lynch era….I am also rooting for Tom Allen, but more important I am rooting for IU….we had that coach with the arrogance, self confidence, ego and a touch of bravado, his name was Kevin Wilson, an most fans disagreed or disliked everything he did…including Fred Glass. Personally i was not impressed with Mike Debord offensive or offensive game plan. as I said on previous message it just looked fast (short quick passes – part of the game plan) but nothing else in the plan in case you became one dimensional as IU did. The Virginia game will tell the a whole lot about this team, because the BIG 10 schedule just got tougher/harder. Those easily victories you counted on at Maryland, Purdue and Rutgers (they all looked improved from last year) just got a little harder. Was Texas overrated? YES!!! But Maryland has improved those last two recruiting class has raised their level of play. Purdue – it’s all about coaching (Jeff Brohm will make a difference). Playing on Thursday night gave IU great exposure, was it good or bad exposure?? IU lost by 28 points, fans left at the end of the 3rd period and from our own coaches mouth some of the players body language suggested a bad feeling. Lets talk about this game!! the punts where line drives, there where no takeaways (turnovers) from Ohio State (freshman running back) and no pressure on the quarterback.

  9. They were the better performer in the trenches on both sides of the LOS. Yes the game in Charlottesville will give a clearer picture of the season ahead. I like this team and will like them more if Debord and Hiller can improve the OL and develop a potent rushing attack to balance the offense. Now we’ll find out whether Debord can be successful with less talent than he has enjoyed in the past.

  10. The OSU game may have been the perfect game to start the season with. Expectation were high for IU and the players may have listened too hard if we played a lesser opponent. Now the team will listen to the coaches telling them they need to improve. Going to UVA will be a great second game for this team. I hope to see them improved in rushing offense and pressure on the opposing QB.

    My biggest take away from this past game was IU needs to vary how fast they run plays. Going super quick worked for the 1st half but in the 2nd half too many 3 and outs put the defense on the field too long. There were 181 plays with the defense on the field for 86. IU needs to balance out the time the defense has to be on the field if IU is to win games this year against the best teams.

  11. Good thing we’re deep at WR. Westbrook is out for the year. He has a torn ACL.
    Vegas has IU giving 2.5 points to the Cavaliers.

  12. V13 – If a fan can see that we where running plays to fast, shouldn’t a veteran offensive cord like Mike Debord see that we are running plays to fast. Not very impressed with or by anything the offensive did in this game. Yes, we involved the TE in the offensive plays, but at the expensive of not giving the offensive line any help when they needed against this OSU defensive line. A big criticism of Kevin Wilson was that he was running plays to fast and not give the defensive a chance to rest. It definitely looked like the defense got tired near the end of the third quarter.

  13. For 2.5 quarters the fast paced attack worked like a charm. That is who IU is! Not every opponent has the incredible defensive talent of OH St! Let’s see how it works against a more “normal” team. PN St, MI and WI are good, but not in the same category of OH St.

    1. I agree. I like pace. The faster the better. It is not IU’s fault the Bucks are so deep and so talented they were able to adjust and overcome the only advantage IU owned. With a successful quick hitting run game IU could have caused even more havoc. BP is on target thinking other opponents won’t be able to combat it as easy as OSU. I think Virginia will fall way short in their attempt to derail the pace.

  14. 5th thing we learned:

    The talent and depth disparities are still huge when comparing Indiana against teams like OSU, MIchigan, Penn State….(and probably MSU, Minn, and NW as well).

    6th thing we learned:

    Kevin Wilson had the program going in the right direction. The way OSU manhandled our team in the latter stages of the game could very well mean a stall..or a complete halt to most of that positive momentum.

    Hurry-up Style: This was not Wilson’s hurry-up product. Versus OSU was simply tactical in an attempt to catch a far superior team a bit lackadaisical(maybe even flippant) regarding the level of competition they knew they were facing. The fast pace offense was really all IU could do to keep a crowd into a game and a team hopeful until the dam broke. Unfortunately, IU fans have seen this sort of movie many times before(especially pre-Wilson era). Wilson was the coach very close to “breaking through.”
    None of that was Allen’s program momentum….or Allen’s history to be tearfully over-the-top in selling such inroads.

  15. this blog seems straight out of a Dell Web retirement home. Some clown was even going on about throwing footballs through tires to say that Lagow was an athletic quarterback. Look, IU was able to pass because Cobbs was beating his guy 1 on 1. In the second half, OSU shaded or double teamed Cobbs with a safety. That meant IU always had a running lane in the area vacated by the safety. IU couldn’t run because Lagow has no ability to run. Period. IU’s back up qb got 2 series and was IU’s leading rusher going into junk time in the 4th. Do you want to guess why? HE CAN RUN. IU took no shots down field. Why? Lagow cannot elude a rush long enough for a deep route. OSU crowded the line, sent pressure and Lagow was not athletic enough to make them pay. OSU also knew Lagow would throw quickly to his check downs because again, he cannot run. Lagow completed 15 of 19 for a whopping 35 yards before the 4th. OSU had the blueprint for stopping IU- add a 3rd safety, double team Cobbs and dare Lagow to run. IU’s best weapons are the receivers so Lagow still gives them the best chance of winning. But his weaknesses are glaring. It ain’t confidence or poor throws, it’s a real lack of athletic ability that B1G defenses will continue to exploit.

    1. Amazing. Chock full of everything we know. But no mention of the Bucks high caliber, talent laden defensive prowess or a successful rushing attack(yes a more mobile QB would have helped for a while till OSU made another adjustment)would have made the S’s play more honest. Nobody in the B1G has a D like IU just challenged.

  16. 123, your insistence that Lagow lacks the athleticism necessary to be an effective quarterback is ridiculous. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I think it’s pretty obvious that very few people share it. Imagine if you were to have written that Peyton Manning did not have the athleticism to be an effective quarterback! Manning was not a good runner either or particularly quick-footed either, but he’s on his way to the hall of fame. Same with some old guy who plays for New England. While Lagow is not as “athletic” as OSU’s QB, and he does not have great quickness, the athletic ability required to field a snap, follow several receivers running different routes, position his feet and fire an accurate pass off in less than three seconds requires enormous athleticism, as well as other attributes. To do that successfully 40 out of 65 attempts against arguably one of the best defenses in the country, especially when six of those passes were dropped, is a significant athletic achievement. Of course Lagow has to have quality receivers. Show me an effective QB who does not have quality receivers? Lagow is not the reason IU lost the game against OSU. And from what I witnesses, his upside far outweighs his athletic limitations. And obviously, IU’s coaching staff agrees. Please, quit before you get categorizing as a troll.

  17. Haven’t looked at the Scoop in forever and what’s the first piece of BS I see?

    123 claimed, “Lagow completed 15 of 19 for a whopping 35 yards before the 4th.”

    What game were you watching?

    So, officially Lagow went 40 for 65 for 420 yards and, of those, according to you, he went 25 for 46 for 285 yards in the 4th quarter. I didn’t realize we ran nearly 200 plays on Thursday but that’s the only way that could be possible. Had he been consistent throughout the game that works out to over 1,100 yards passing on the day.

    What an spectacular 4th quarter IU must have had!

    Oddly enough, according to ESPN, IU had 70 yards TOTAL offense in the 4th.

    How is it possible to be THAT wrong?

    I’ll be going now.

    1. Had he matched his 4th quarter performance, according to 123, that works out to over 1,500 yards passing for the game.

      Imagine if he were athletic.

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