Notebook: Injuries a concern after first month of season

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — One month into the season, Indiana has a problem with no easy solution.

Its injury report keeps growing.

The Hoosiers traveled to Penn State this weekend without starting corner A’Shon Riggins and hybrid safety Marcelino Ball, both of whom left last week’s win over Georgia Southern with unspecified injuries.

The Hoosiers left Pennsylvania with a fresh batch of injured players, giving IU coach Tom Allen reason to worry about his team’s ability to hold up over the next eight consecutive weeks of action.

“My biggest concern is just keeping healthy,” Allen said. “I’m just concerned about that this early on in the season. That’s a legit concern.”

J-Shun Harris did not return to the field after his punt return fumble midway through the first quarter led to a scoop and score for Penn State’s Nick Scott. On that play, Harris was stopped and driven into the ground on a physical tackle by Irvin Charles. Harris’ helmet appeared to make direct contact with the turf, and he was escorted into the Indiana locker room by an IU team doctor moments later.

Indiana also lost right tackle Brandon Knight to an unspecified injury late in the second quarter. Knight, who made his season debut last week against Georgia Southern, did not return.

Allen did not have a full injury report to pass along after Saturday’s game.

“I’ll have to get with our trainers and get a final analysis,” Allen said. “We have a few guys. Obviously, (we) left guys at home for some injuries, got a few more hurt today. (It’s) pretty early in the season to have this many guys dinged up.”

Scales shines in defeat

No Hoosier is more important to Indiana’s defense than Tegray Scales.

And in Tom Allen’s mind, there isn’t a better linebacker in the Big Ten — or beyond.

Scales was outstanding against Penn State’s quarterback/tailback duo of Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley, posting a career-high three sacks to go along with his 11 tackles.

“He played amazing,” Allen said. “Unbelievable. He’s a special player. He’s an All-American. He really is. Love that kid because he’s as good a kid as he is a player, if not better. So proud to have him on our team.”

Scales’ three sacks are tied for the fifth-most in IU history and Saturday marked the fourth time in his career that the Cincinnati native posted multiple sacks in a single contest.

For his career, Scales has 15.5 sacks. He’s also fifth in program history with 39.0 tackles for loss.

“He played really, really well and, to me, he embodies what we’re all about. That’s what hurts for me, guys like that deserve a better chance to have an opportunity to win the game in the end, as hard and as well as he played.”

Locking down Lions

No team during the past season and a half has had as much success limiting Saquon Barkley’s rushing prowess than the Hoosiers.

Indiana stopped the Heisman Trophy favorite last season, holding Barkley to 58 yards on 33 carries.

This year, it was much the same. Barkley recorded merely 56 yards on 20 carries, finishing with no run longer than eight yards.

“He’s the top, if not one of the top, players in the country,” Scales said. “I think our coaches did a great job gameplanning for him and our defense bought in the whole week. I think we did what we needed to do to limit him.”

Penn State’s 39 rushing yards were the fewest rush yards allowed by Indiana since the Hoosiers held Indiana State to 30 yards on the ground in the 2014 season opener. It was also the fewest rushing yards allowed to a Big Ten opponent since Indiana held Purdue to 31 rush yards on Nov. 30, 2013.

“Barkley’s a special, special player,” Allen said. “We kept him in check, pretty much.”

Extra points

Indiana tight end Ian Thomas posted a career-high 91 receiving yards, while tying his personal high of five receptions. … Safety Tony Fields set a career high with 10 tackles, including seven solo stops. … Indiana’s five sacks are the most for the program since also posting five against Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl last December.

2 comments

  1. as stated by previous fans on this blog!!! Injuries are a part of the game…next man up!! In other words take the redshirts off the freshman and let them play. Brandon Knight should not have been back on the field this year. Brandon Knight body needs a rest, not ready for the riggers of the BIG 10. J-shun looked like a concussion protocol, if not maybe time for him to give up football. Very interesting that we would risk a guy (two torn ACL) punt return, but not play him in the slot with his electrifying moves.

  2. Overall lack of talent shows against the best. However, IU fb hardly ever completes an upset win (not that this was going to be an upset win….it was not). There are a number of teams who do complete an upset win through the years (notably Purdue and Northwestern of past years). Not often but once in a while.

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