Allen looking for better results on 1st down

Throughout spring practice and fall camp, Tom Allen presided over a competition between his defense and Indiana’s offense.

The challenge was to see which unit performed best on first down. For the defense, the objective was to allow no more than three yards on that first snap, while the offense was tasked with gaining four yards or more.

So when Allen reviewed film from last week’s loss to Ohio State, he was disappointed to see that neither unit did much winning on first down.

With a game at Virginia looming on Saturday at 3:30 p.m., Allen is demanding more auspicious results on first down from IU’s offense and defense.

“If we don’t win first down, it limits us in our ability to get our momentum going and our tempo going on offense,” Allen said. “And it also, defensively, gets us behind the chains defensively and … (gives) them too many third-and-shorts.”

By Allen’s standard, IU’s defense won 44 percent (8-for-18) of first-down opportunities during the first half. In third quarter, that figure plummeted to 25 percent (3-for-12).

At the same time, IU’s offense won 26 percent (6-for-23) of the first downs during the first half and 25 percent (2-for-8) during the third quarter.

For Allen, one third-quarter sequence was particularly frustrating.

Sandwiched between a pair of three-and-outs by the IU offense, the Hoosier defense made a key fourth-down stop at the IU 41-yard line on Ohio State’s first possession of the second half.

But on the Buckeyes’ next possession, they gained traction four of six first downs. Ohio State began that series with a 12-yard run by running back J.K. Dobbins, followed by a seven-yard scamper by quarterback J.T. Barrett. It was the beginning of a 13-play, 85-yard drive that culminated with a two-yard score by Barrett.

“(It) adds to too many drives by the (opposing) offense and not enough rest because we are not getting off the field,” Allen said. “Then, offensively, we are not staying on the field, so it just compounds the issue.”

One comment

  1. 1st downs are important and IU needs to do a better job on 1st downs. The point about rest is true, but adjusting the speed of running the offense also impact how rested the defense gets. I hope to see IUFB perform better in both aspects against UVA.

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