4 things we learned from IU’s loss to Wisconsin

1. There will be no breakthrough this season.
There’s still plenty to play for — a third consecutive bowl game appearance is meaningful for a program that hasn’t accomplished such a feat since 1988. But for a team that invited and embraced greater expectations, this season has offered few signs that this season is anything but more of the same. Now the Hoosiers enter the season’s final three games with little, if any, momentum. Reaching bowl eligibility won’t be easy. Not at this point. Consider this: IU was won two Big Ten road games in a season only twice since 2000. A Hoosier postseason is hardly a given.

2. Richard Lagow is IU’s best quarterback for the final month.
There were no revelations within Lagow’s game Saturday, but his performance illustrated that he is Indiana’s best option at this point. Injured starter Peyton Ramsey has competed admirably during his debut season, but Lagow presents the higher ceiling right now — especially if Ramsey’s apparent lower body injury prevents him from initiating a running attack. Lagow completed 20 of his 34 passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, demonstrating his ability to open IU’s aerial attack in ways Ramsey has consistently struggled.

3. Poor offensive line play remains IU’s biggest problem.
It’s really that simple. Wisconsin is probably the worst possible matchup for Indiana, but Saturday showed how far this group has to go. Although it is young and inexperienced, the O-line hasn’t developed as hoped. The only hope now is that the Hoosiers can handle the lesser competitors on their schedule.

4. Penalties are another problem Indiana needs to solve.
During the past three games, the Hoosiers have been penalized 27 times for a total of 283 yards. The flags were once again flying on Saturday, when the Hoosiers were whistled 10 times for 98 yards. Indiana, obviously, has only been making things harder for itself.

WHAT’S NEXT: At Illinois, Saturday, noon, Big Ten Network.
This season has been a struggle for the Illini, losers of seven in a row. Illinois fell to Purdue on Saturday, 29-10, once again committing too many mistakes and failing to take advantage of field position. Jeff George Jr. and Cam Thomas have split time at quarterback this season, but it was Thomas who saw the bulk of the time Saturday for Illinois.

14 comments

  1. It is NOT obvious st all that Lagow gives IU a better chance to win these last 3 games. Against MD, when Peyton was injured but still playing, he was 22/34 with about the same yardage and TD’s, but with 0 interceptions and fewer yards lost running, for a plus yards running versus Lagow’s -47 yards rushing. If Ramsey can run at all he is the better QB now!

  2. BeatPurdue is absolutely correct.

    Peyton Ramsey has outperformed Richard Lagow in every statistical category for a quarterback. His passing statistics are way better than are Lagow’s. All RL has demonstrated is the ability to throw the football farther…to whoever happens to be there.

    So, armed with conclusive data showing one QB is putting up far superior numbers, your conclusion is that the quarterback who put up the poorer numbers is Indiana’s ‘best option’.

    I hope that’s not your approach to investing.

    1. Chet I do a lot of investing. The stats are not definitive in favor of Ramsey. Lagow has a third of PR’s snaps and his passing efficiency is essentially equal. The only thing Ramsey has that Lagow doesn’t is serviceable wheels. When injured he is a negative at QB. If RL doesn’t get significant snaps in the remaining games the result is 3 W’s in a row can be kissed goodbye.

  3. With the game still on the line the two INTs killed the Hoosiers. It wasn’t all Lagow’s fault but he has continued to show when pressured he puts the ball up for grabs. By the way, Wisconsin dropped a sure INT in the first half. Ramsey needs to be healthy to be a a servicable QB. If he is healthy then a combination of the two QBs gives IU the best chance to win three games.

    PASSING GP Efficiency Comp-Att-Int Pct Yards TD Long Avg/G
    Ramsey, Peyton 8 127.89 134-205-5 65.37 % 1252 10 45 156.50
    Lagow, Richard 7 122.38 91-159-5 57.23 % 1038 8 71 148.29

  4. Stats don’t tell the entire story, especially with regard to the level of competition each quarterback has faced. You’d better have superior stats playing against Georgia Southern and The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mothers compared to OSU and Wisconsin, both of which teams had great defenses that were very effective in shutting down IU’s running game, requiring IU to take more risks and throw more passes. Plus, as the guy who was named the starter, it was Lagow’s job to lose. I think there is a lot more pressure involved with looking over one’s shoulder and trying to keep a job as compared to focusing on winning the job, and I think Lagow got psyched out by that and it affected his confidence and his performance in the first quarter of the season.

    And I wonder if, as new coaches on their “honeymoon”, Allen and DeBord were as focused on preparing their future quarterback as they were on making this a winning season. I’ve seen it before when a new coaching staff comes in and chooses to forfeit their first season in order to prepare younger players for what they believe will be better seasons to come.

    1. You think that OSU and WI are tougher than MSU, MI, and PN St? Doubtful at best. Ramsey won the U VA game when sub’ed for Lagow. Lagow could not win the MD game when sub’ed for Ramsey (both away games, about equal opponents, both winnable games).

  5. If my quarterback got his confidence shaken that easily I don’t think I could bring myself to put him in the game.

    Games in the B1G east are a lot tougher on your ego than practice.

  6. I’m with Chet.
    I’ll take a better than average arm qb with lots of gumption over a big arm qb with questionable confidence. Ramsey has played the primary role against top BIG competition from the east. That’s far more “pressure”(as in hoping to stay out of a hospital) than anything Lagow could imagine between the ears in thoughts of losing a starting job.
    Winners are propelled by winning the next game. Unfortunately, Lagow sort of reminds me of a guy named Jay Cutler. He’ll give you a touchdown or two with big highlight reel bombs…and then proceed to hand the game away with a completely inexpiable throw to a guy in the wrong jersey. There is no presence on the field. There is no overall vibe of genuine confidence under center and it wears on the team.
    Everyone waits for the heartbreak of a choke moment rather than anticipate a confident final winning drive. I think IU is attempting to get away from turnover basketball…and turnover football. It’s hard enough to win on talent/coaching shortcomings even without the maddening turnovers.

  7. It’s not unusual at all for QBs to lose their confidence. You’re named the starter, but you’re walking on egg shells, afraid to make a mistake. Happens to NFL QB’s all the time. Not a big fan of platooning QBs. Pick one, and stick with him until his performance causes him to lose the job, then promote the number two and keep him there. Going back and forth during the same game, and from game to game, just never seems to work well for guys who are supposed to be the team’s leader. Lagow is more likely to throw an INT, but he’s also more likely to get IU a TD from within the red zone. If DeBord thought Ramsey was the better QB, or if he wanted to develop him for the future, he should have named Ramsey the starter at the beginning of the year and stuck with him.

    1. Name Ramsey the starter when Lagow started every game the season before and Ramse had never thrown a pass in college football (he is a redshirt freshman)? That would be absurd!

  8. Can anyone explain our helmets from last weekend…? They look sort of like New England Patriots helmets. I actually like them much more than the chrome candy stripes experiment.

    If DeBord thought Ramsey was the better QB, or if he wanted to develop him for the future, he should have named Ramsey the starter at the beginning of the year and stuck with him.

    Do you really know that until you get a kid in a game situation? Heck, we even see plenty of standout college quarterbacks who simply don’t make the NFL leap after being top draft picks. There are no guarantees. None of this happens in a vacuum. Waning confidence may not just be a product of how a coach handles a player. Guys have different levels of maturity, off-the-field issues, resolve under stresses of school/family, and numerous other factors that could hamper performance/confidence.
    Unless you’re on the practice field and in the locker rooms everyday, you only really have a small fraction of the decision process that goes into the quarterback assessments. Coaches are also likely constantly monitoring the chemistry and how teammates are reacting to the different quarterback options presented in practice and in games. I’m sure v-13 could give a lot more insight…..

    One thing all sports do seem to have in common is the increased athleticism and speed entering into all facets and all positions on the field. With such increased speed in the game, it seems very taxing to get the job done with limited mobility at the qb position and offense wholly relying on the single dimension of a pocket passer.

  9. And the variances in traditional pocket passers to elude a monstrous rush while remaining poised under duress can be of wide and stark contrasts. Guys like Brady and Wentz are magicians at getting out of trouble when the pocket collapses

    A lot great pocket passers have the ability to step forward in a spit second (as if into the fires) rather than the natural tendency to hesitate in a collapsing pocket. I really haven’t seen Lagow demonstrate that sort of instinct. There are ways the great ones buy one more second without abandoning the pocket….

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