Cupcakes and football — that’s what Lagow and Cobbs do best

The bond between Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow and receiver Simmie Cobbs was built a year ago, but it’s being strengthened this fall.

How so? Over cupcakes, of course.

And not just any cupcakes. The IU playmakers are partial to funfetti cupcakes, vanilla flavored treats with sprinkles on top.

“Top notch,” Lagow said with a smile Tuesday.

That’s how Lagow and Cobbs spent their time off during Labor Day, baking dessert after a commercial inspired the two roommates to make the quick trip to the local Target and purchase ingredients.

Consider it one more shared activity for the Hoosier duo, who also regularly watch movies, play videogames and wrestle with each other when they’re not in uniform.

Theirs is a connection that puts both players at ease, and for Indiana’s football team, that means an alliance that should lead to more big gains like the ones Lagow and Cobbs authored in last week’s season opener against No. 2 Ohio State.

“It’s just the bond,” Cobbs said after setting a personal high with 11 receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown in Thursday’s loss. “It goes through repetition with me and him hanging out, talking, getting to know each other, watching film with each other and just breaking down every little thing together. You do that every day and it’s going to be a bond after awhile.”

Their close association began during the 2016 offseason, when Lagow was a newcomer to IU’s program and Cobbs was looking to build on a decent, yet at times inconsistent sophomore season. Both players had plenty to prove — Lagow as a junior college transfer on his fourth college campus and Cobbs as a talented, but incomplete playmaker with next-level potential.

But just as quickly as they had built rapport, their connection was temporarily cut off when Cobbs missed last year’s opener due to suspension and then broke his ankle on his first play the following week.

Although Lagow found comfort in throwing to Nick Westbrook, Ricky Jones and Mitchell Paige, among other targets, last fall, he certainly missed having Cobbs as another option on the outside.

Not anymore.

With Cobbs back to full speed, Lagow targeted Cobbs 17 times against the Buckeyes. For good reason.

At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, the athletic Cobbs toyed with Ohio State’s secondary on Thursday. Even when Lagow and Cobbs failed to connect that night, they tried and tried again.

Take, for instance, the sequence that led to Cobbs’ eight-yard touchdown reception midway through the second quarter. Lagow looked to the redshirt junior on four consecutive plays, beginning with an 18-yard Cobbs back-shoulder reception that put Indiana on the Ohio State 8.

Lagow’s next two throws also went to Cobbs, though they fell incomplete. By why stop after back-to-back misses? Lagow certainly didn’t, firing a beautifully placed ball that Cobbs jumped to grab in the corner of the end zone.

“I figured he’d catch one of them,” Lagow said.

That belief stems from the relationship they built in 2016 and the connection they reestablished this past winter.

Prior to the start of spring practice, even before Cobbs returned to full health, the two went to work on their own.

“I had times when I couldn’t run fully, but (I) could catch and stuff like that,” Cobbs said. “… We already had somewhat of a chemistry before. It was already there. We just had to clean up the mess from being injured for awhile.”

Now, Lagow and Cobbs are at a point where they both believe firmly in each other. If Lagow delivers a good ball, Cobbs is going to get it. If Cobbs has even the slightest advantage on a defensive back, Lagow is going to look his way.

“I’m pretty hard on him and expect a lot out of him,” Lagow said. “He’s the same with me. He expects a lot from me. It’s a good relationship. We’re both extremely competitive, so if I don’t put the ball where it needs to be, I’m going to hear about it. If he drops a ball that is competitive that I feel he should catch, he’s gonna hear it from me. I think that relationship is necessary all across the field, just as far as holding teammates accountable. He’s definitely someone that I’m very comfortable with.”

So much so that Lagow started his week in the kitchen, trusting Cobbs with a cupcake recipe.

“It’s a fun thing,” Cobbs said of the snacks. “They were actually pretty neat.”

Just like their connection, on and off the field.