IU dominates Rutgers in 41-0 win

It was Indiana’s most complete and convincing performance against a Power 5 opponent this season, the kind of thorough dismantling IU’s program seldom administers against Big Ten foes.

Most importantly, Saturday’s 41-0 drubbing of Rutgers at rain-soaked Memorial Stadium keeps the Hoosiers safely on track to battle for a postseason bid next week at Purdue.

After a month-long stretch of setbacks, disappointments and near-misses, Indiana (5-6, 2-6) suddenly has serious momentum approaching the regular-season finale. On display Saturday was an IU team that demonstrated its full potential all at once.

“That’s what you want,” IU coach Tom Allen said. “You want to put that game together where all three phases are working together, and that happened today. I just love that we started strong and finished strong. Didn’t have a let up, didn’t have a lull. You work all year to get to that point where you play in that mindset.”

Indiana’s offense outgained Rutgers 507-190, while getting even production through the air from quarterback Richard Lagow and on the ground from running backs Morgan Ellison and Cole Gest.

Lagow made his third consecutive start and completed 17 of his 28 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns — scoring throws to tight end Ian Thomas and receiver Luke Timian.

Ellison led the way with 149 yards and two scores on 15 carries, while Gest posted 104 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Meanwhile, Indiana’s defense turned in a historic performance, recording the Hoosiers’ first Big Ten shutout since Oct. 30, 1993 and their second of the season.

Its special teams units, too, turned in clean performances, including a big play early in the game that helped propel IU to victory.

After IU’s opening drive stalled near midfield, Rutgers punt return man Hunter Hayek fumbled the return at the RU 11-yard line.

The ball was recovered by Rashard Fant at the 6, and with new life, Ellison punched the ball into the end zone on the first play of IU’s revived drive.

From there, it was all IU, all day.

“All the guys involved — offense, defense, special teams — just really proud of our players,” Allen said. “They’ve worked really hard. They’ve stayed the course. We’ve been through a challenging season. When you play so hard and play so well and come up short over and over and over, it does take its toll on you. But our guys have stayed the course. They believed, and I’m just really happy for them to be able to be rewarded for their perseverance. I think we had one penalty as well the whole game. Just so many areas of being disciplined and playing well together, that’s what you want to do this time of the year.”

All told, IU’s 41-point victory is its largest margin against a conference opponent since Oct. 1990 against Northwestern and its fourth-largest in program history.

Not only did Rutgers (4-7, 3-5) hardly threaten for control of the contest, it barely threatened to score, going three-and-out six times.

The Scarlet Knights had an opportunity to end the shutout in garbage time on fourth-and-six at the IU 8, but Hoosiers backup safety Zeke Walker broke up the pass in the end zone to preserve the shutout with 4:15 left in regulation.

“The defense played amazing today,” Lagow said. “The goose egg was huge, especially when they are in the red zone and on fourth down. I think that was one of the more exciting times I (had) in the game. To finish like that, Coach Allen is always emphasizing, ‘finish, finish,” and we were able to do that today and it feels good.”

Even as the time, score and nasty weather — the teams endured a one-hour, 47-minute delay — necessitated that IU keep the ball on the ground, Rutgers still failed to offer much resistance.

The Hoosiers closed the game with 27 consecutive running plays, and picked up 14 points in the process on touchdown runs by Ellison and Gest.

Rutgers had no answers Saturday — no fight, no urgency — and IU did exactly what it needed to do in every phase of play.

Now comes the best part — a chance to clinch bowl eligibility next week at Purdue.

“All teams clicked and that’s what you want to have at all times,” Fant said. “We have to bring that again next week. It’s nice to see that and nice to see how dangerous we can be when all those things click, but you gotta make sure they’re clicking and get focused each week. Hopefully, we can repeat this performance next week.”

19 comments

  1. Two down and one to go! It is simple, BeatPurdue! IU put it all together vs Rutgers. Two separate hundred yard rushers, over 250 yards passing with one interception, but minus yards from rushing by the QB. Start Lagow but if we are losing or Richard fumbles or throws interceptions don’t be slow to play Peyton. Don’t have Peyton run up the middle for 1-2 yards. Have him break off of pass scrambles, take what he can get, and go down early, unless the game is on the line in the fourth quarter. IU must win this game! Just do it!

  2. When’s the last time the Old Oaken Bucket had both teams with bowl eligibility in the equation? Adds a lot of excitement to an already high-intensity game.

  3. A win sure makes a difference going into this game and the team showed how a confident team can play. It was good to see them dominate a B1G opponent. The OL gave Lagow time and other than one throw he did a good job connecting on routes underneath the coverage. IU’s offense next year could be pretty good with two experienced RBs that run hard, the whole OL back with experience and quality receivers especially the way Whop has developed this year.

    The bucket game will be a battle as PU just beat Iowa 24-15. If IU plays as well as they did today they should win by double digits but PU’s defense won’t make it easy. PU offense looked good today as Singlear was on the money and throwing dimes. It could be a back and forth game fought to get to a bowl game.

    1. v, Momentum is the most important positive for IU with back to back B1G W’s. I’d have both QB’s swapping back and forth. At times even during a single series possession. Make that PUke DC over think his adjustments. Pass D has to be smart. Have to, have to, have to run the ball.

  4. Lagow will start next week. And if he plays the way he did today, he’ll play the entire game.

    I’m not sure Peyton is healthy enough to play for any significant portion of next week’s game. I know he finished it out today, but all he did was hand the ball off a few times. I wonder if his knee is healthy enough to hold up if he has to scramble?

  5. Why are you even bringing up alternating QB’s thats a stupid idea at this especially when one of the quarterbacks gets hurt damn near every other game if you are the better team than you should win this game by 10 points

  6. Iowa’s offense has been dormant the past two weeks so PU’s win is questionable about being better than IU’s. The Bucket game could be a battle even though IU should win by double digits the annual game rarely is that easy. PU’s defense will be better than IU has seen the past two weeks but not in the league of what IU has seen this year. Offensively PU will make our defense work as hard as they have had to work this year but I think they are up to the job. This should be a good week and a fun game.

  7. Rutgers seemed to not show up yesterday mistake prone that helped get IU going. I don’t expect the same gift from Purdue. If you are as good as your last game gives IU best chance. IU seemed to be taking a portion of season sorting things out and some good things came together yesterday. However, to me Purdue looks better and defense may shut down IU offense. PU has some narrow losses over top programs this year.

  8. Agree with HC about why not keeping the Blockheads guessing about two quarterbacks- but only if Ramsey is healthy. And I can’t decide which was my favorite stat for the RU game: IU called for a single penalty the entire game, or 6/6 scoring in the red zone.

  9. Based on struggles in the past I like the redzone scoring stat the best. Let’s hope that continues this week against the Boilers.

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