Hoosiers fall to Vols in the Gator Bowl, 23-22

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In a game of violent swings, Tennessee running back Eric Gray blew into the end zone and tipped the pendulum over.

Indiana’s two-touchdown lead, gone. A predominantly Tennessee crowd at the Gator Bowl, back on its feet, rumbling.

The Hoosiers’ 23-22 loss Thursday to the Volunteers was at the same time inspiring and anticlimactic, gritty and heartbreaking.

It took fight for the Hoosiers to bend as much as they did in the first half, pushed back again and again by the Tennessee offense, only to give up six points. It took resilience for Peyton Ramsey to finally evade the Vols’ pass rush at the end of the first half, into the second, helping IU gain a 22-9 advantage in the fourth quarter.

But the final moment was a pass that nearly slipped from Ramsey’s hand as it made its way to Whop Philyor on an out route. As a drive to the Tennessee 45 died, Ramsey stood frozen with his feet where they landed on the release, almost as if he wanted to yank back that fourth-down pass with a string and try again.

“It hurts, especially for those guys in the locker room, those seniors, who have gotten us to where we are right now,” said Ramsey, who finished with 227 passing yards and a team-high 54 rushing.

“You look back on it, and you say, ‘Man, if we make that one (play), it could be a different story.’ It hurts. It hurts really bad in the locker room.”

There was that pass at the end. There was an onsides kick following the Vols’ first touchdown of the game, which the Hoosiers didn’t seem ready to pounce on. There was a facemask by senior linebacker Reakwon Jones down the stretch, a mistake he couldn’t quite let go.

A season of uncommon success fell just short of history in the final game. The bowl win the Hoosiers (8-5) said they were aiming for all season, which would have been the first since 1991, just couldn’t be claimed.

And the Hoosiers made clear, close wasn’t good enough.

“We played well, but we didn’t play well when it mattered the most, towards the end of the game,” Jones said. “Maybe a few days later, we’ll look back and say ‘Oh, we did pretty good here, we did pretty good there.’ But overall, we just did not do good enough.”

It was certainly a more than respectable showing, especially considering how the first half unfolded. IU’s offense was incapable of gaining traction, as Ramsey found himself dancing under the pressure of the Vols’ pass rush.

With every third-and-long that came, the production gap widened. Tennessee (8-5) picked up 202 yards to IU’s 69 in the first half. But the Hoosiers’ defense spent its time bending but not breaking, coming up with a goal-line stand on the Vols’ second drive and forcing two field goals on two other trips.

“I was concerned about our d-line coming into the game. They played extremely well,” IU coach Tom Allen said. “I thought that Coach (Kane) Wommack did a great job of mixing things up. Obviously, at the end there, you have to find a way to finish. I thought all three phases had chances to finish and didn’t.”

The defense, in particular, helped swing the game. A second-quarter blitz by linebacker Cam Jones hurried Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, whose errant pass fell into the hands of IU’s Micah McFadden.

That put the Hoosiers on the Vols 42 for a field goal before the half. Ramsey led the Hoosiers on a touchdown drive to start the third quarter, which was followed by a Jamar Johnson pick-6 to create a 16-6 edge.

IU’s defense battled, until it lost its edge in the final quarter. Did the Hoosiers tire at the end, leading to their gut-wrenching spiral?

No excuses were worth accepting as of Thursday night.

“We were inches away from making tremendous history here,” Allen said, referring to the last nine-win season in IU history, back in 1967, as well as an elusive bowl win. “That’s what makes it hurt so bad is to be that close and realize you had history at your fingertips.”

Allen took the blame for it, including not deploying the hands team for the onsides kick the Vols were able to recover. More generally, he now has to take a young football team, which had just five active players with bowl experience, and find a way to build off of a tough loss.

The expectation now, Allen said, is for the Hoosiers to be in bowl games like this every year. But next time, finish.

One of his youngest stars, freshman cornerback Tiawan Mullen, was on the same wavelength.

“Next year, when we get a bowl game,” Mullen said, leaving no doubt there, “we are going to make sure we finish off the right way. We had a chance to close out this bowl game. But next year, for sure, we are going to close it out.

“Mark my words.”

77 comments

  1. Congratulations on a hard fought game and successful season. That said, I’ve been calling for the termination of special teams coordinator for years. Tonite was a perfect example. Even I figured they might try a 10 yard pooch kick. Inge had 2 guys up front and not even ready.

  2. Georgia 43
    Tennessee 14

    Alabama 35
    Tennessee 13

    Florida 34
    Tennessee 3

    OSU 51
    Indiana 10

    Penn State 34
    Indiana 27

    Michigan 39
    Indiana 14

    Indiana: 24 point loss margin avg. against 3 quality BigTen opponents.
    Tennessee: 27 point loss margin avg. against 3 quality SEC teams.

    Played out pretty much as expected for two teams struggling to be relevant against the “elite” teams of their respective conferences.

    22-9 with just over 5 minutes to go….? Sad.

  3. This team was terribly outcoached the whole game! The offensive play calling in the first half was absolutely pathetic ! 69 yards gained in the first half was embarrassing!
    ! As Brad stated, the onside kick with around 4 minutes to go was a no doubter. I told my wife that the onside kick was coming but, obviously the IU coaching staff had no clue? We had 4 guys up front with nobody in the middle of the field which is where the kick went, we had no chance at the ball. Coach Allen said in the postgame show that they were fairly certain that there might have been an onside kick after their TD and yet we only had 4 players on the front line? He said that they talked about putting in the “Hands” team for the potential kick but then decided against it? I have no idea what we were thinking?
    In my opinion we simply showed that our coaching staff leaves a lot to be desired? How we could not see the onside kick coming boggles the mind? Even though we were ahead most of the game, the Tennessee defensive line completely dominated our offensive line. And during the 4th quarter I had no confidence that our defense was going to stop their offense. As I stated before, we were completely outcoached in this game. We simply showed that we are not ready for “Prime time”. Moral victories are not what we are playing for! Coming close is not the idea! All during his postgame press conference Allen constantly referred to “them” as their “Big” line handled us! Well, it is his job to either recruit bigger players or get them bigger in order to compete with an SEC team. Coming close is not the idea, WINNING is!! If we are going to play the “Big Boys” we need to become big boys! WE simply got outcoached and were not up to the task? We still have a long way to go to play and beat big boy teams?

    1. Mike C: Isn’t IU funding one of the most expensive diet and nutrition programs in the country? I think the combined salary for the 2 main guys is around a cool million. One would think those disparities would no longer exist? Mmmmmmm?

    2. I agree with some of your comments. I was at the game and it was heartbreaking. That said, the team played their heart out. Some suspect coaching and play calling decisions really hurt.

      I love Penix’s arm strength and poise but it’s tough keeping him on the field. Although Ramsey doesn’t have the strongest arm, I thought he played a great game and had a terrific season. He’s as tough as nails and a true leader. I admire his courage and grit. Losing his starting position, yet willing to stay at IU shows a lot of integrity. As an employer, I wouldn’t hesitate to hire a kid like this. He’s a winner.

  4. A very disappointing loss but I am not going to give 3 or 4 paragraph comments on how the sky is falling and that IU has the worst coaches in the history of coaching cuz I bet that will be the general tenor of most comments

  5. I’m not going to give a long comment either. 22-9 in the 4th quarter. Nothing else need be said.

  6. Brownbomber,
    You are a man after my own heart.
    I attended the game, and was extremely proud of our effort. I personally think our defense was gassed and just couldn’t hold on.
    Proud of my YOUNG Hoosiers.
    They will improve, and Tom Allen is the man who made this program turn around happen.
    Let let the naysayers find fault, I’ll stick with Tom Allen.

    1. Couldn’t hang on ? The defense was gassed in the first quarter, you could see it: hands on hips, chests heaving. Strength and conditioning program my foot.

  7. Heartbreaking loss. Not sure IU got out-coached overall, but special teams killed us tonight. Missed extra point, missed field goal, on-side kick, short kick-off that lead to a big return. The little things that mean the difference between winning close games and losing them. But the offense was terrible in the first half, and we had no adjustments for the blitzes that haunted Ramsey all night.

    I will give credit to IU’s defense. They played well.

    Our tight end deserves a medal for playing hurt throughout the game.

    Ramsey’s a courageous gamer with all the heart in the world, but his arm limitations just don’t allow for explosive plays. He seemed to hesitate tonight a lot more than any other game I’ve watched this season, and he took too many sacks.

    Going forward, depth is the key. We were missing too many key pieces on offense tonight, and it showed.

    For next year, TA must hire an excellent offensive coordinator and he must find a way to keep Penix healthy. Wouldn’t bother me if we got a new Special Teams coach, either.

  8. 1. This was not a prime. Just one’s imagination. 2. IU wasn’t playing the Big Boys. Again just imagination. 3. What does one expect from IU offense when Fresno State Head Coach coaches the offense instead of a current IU man. Pretty thin offensive coaching staff if a current IU coach doesn’t have the ability to coach it’s own offense.

    1. Next year, Purdue’s DC will be Bob Diaco. He was assistant national coach of the year at ND in 2012. This past week his La Tech defense shut out the Miami Hurricanes. Not only that, Miami never got closer than the 39 yard line.
      If people think it’s going to be this easy to win 8 games next year, I think they’re kidding themselves. Allen better find really, and I mean really high level coaches in the offseason for at least OC and special teams. If not, considering the leagues improvent even among the ‘low lifes, [Schiano at Rutgers] it’s gonna be a bumpy, uphill ride. I feel as though the BIG west, at this moment, is the stronger of the 2 divisions. Michigan just lost their top recruiter. Their football program reminds me of IU’s basketball situation. “Hey daddy, didn’t they used to be really good?” Outside of OSU and Penn St pretty pedestrian. 2 years ago before hiring TA (and I like Allen and think he’ll do ok) I threw out the name Luke Fickel at Cincinnati. With a budget 1/5th of IU’s they just ended up 11-2 and annihilated Boston College and likely be ranked in the top 10 in the final poll. I’d be surprised if he isn’t hired to take over a diminished ND or falling MSU. Cinci would probably beat both of them right now. I can only hope IU’s new AD doesn’t confuse soccer with football.

      1. Brad IU won’t have an easy time until the roster gets built up with better players at every class level which won’t be next season. However, the prospects look good with most of the team coming back and the better players returning.

        Diaco is an interesting hire because of his up and down career. He didn’t do a good job his year as Nebraska’s DC and sure didn’t do a good job at Connecticut after his on year success. He has shown he can have good defenses but so had Holt but this past season was bad for Purdue defense. There is no guarantee Diaco will improve Purdue’s defense.

      1. It is amazing to me to see posters down playing this season so much. No one has claimed IU has arrived in the upper level of B1G or in the national level. The young talent and play this year has some of us hoping IU is turning a corner to be more relevant in the B1G. after all, they had their first winning season in B1G play for the first time in decades.

        Coach Allen realizes the team is still building not a team that is already there. My biggest concern is coach Allen’s loyalty to his coaches that he doesn’t make needed changes. IU made a big step this year but needs to keep getting better to keep making strides in the FB program.

    2. Your understanding of what it takes to be an OC formulating a game plan and strategy calling plays is about 7 miles wide and maybe 1/16″ thick. You might try water painting.

  9. Sportscenter provided an amazing stat. In 471 previous games where teams were down by 14 points with 5 minutes or less, NONE, let me repeat, NO ONE EVER came back to win,…..until Tonight, situation #472. The next power 5 conference team not to win a bowl game goes back to 2004. That’s 13 years ahead of IU’s last bowl win.
    Maybe it’s the curse of Kinsey, building on old Indian burial site or maybe just inferior football? Whatever the reasapon(s), poor special teams coaching lost this game.

  10. I have waited for several hours to let this game sink in before commenting. First I thought overall IU played hard and fought to win the game. Hendershot played when I thought he should of sat out the rest of the game but he showed toughness to stay in. Ramsey had another gutty effort but he limits the offense and it hurts against the better teams. He missed open receivers because he held on to the ball too long but did get better in the second half. IU has to find a way to keep Penix healthy and get Tuttle to play up to his talent. The OL was not effective in the first half and Jones effort was not good in the first half. TN also found a blitz that our protection didn’t adjust to creating pressure on Ramsey.

    Defense played a gutty game until the final seven minutes but that seemed to be more due to Wommack’s calls. People criticized coach Allen for being upset early in the when coach Wommack made several calls that didn’t protect against the middle of the defense in pass coverage. Coach called the same type of defenses in the final seven minutes even when TN exploited it early on in the drive. IU got away from pressuring the QB which created missed throws trying to avoid getting beat. I thought the players played hard and knew their assignments but coaches have to put them in the right defense to have success. I hope coach Allen works hard with coach Wommack to correct errors this season. I understand sticking with him as DC but he has to gain experience in a hurry. Mullen showed once again he can be an elite corner for IU.

    STs were better this year but some things really can’t be justified. I understand trying to help players through issues but some times the team needs someone to be sat down. After the debacle of the bucket game and Campbell came in under pressure and nailed two FGs in a row, one was negated by penalty, he should have been the kicker for the bowl game. It was time to give him the job he earned instead of using the bowl game to rebuild Justus confidence. It was disappointing to see IU not have their hands team in when there was no real reason not to. It isn’t like the KO return was a big factor in the game despite one decent return. I can’t say enough about our freshman long snapper, Sean Wracher who didn’t have one bad snap this season. I also think Whitehead did a good job punting but a very good job with the holds this year.

    There were a number of good things in the game especially the way the team fought in the first three quarters despite playing a team loaded with 4 star and a couple of 5 star players. It is just a shame the game doesn’t only last for 3 quarters in bowl games.

  11. v, very good assessment. My thoughts are narrower. The game was lost at the LOS and our still too young, to thin depth could not hold up for 4 quarters. As you stated tougher ST’s management needed. I’m high on Wommack. But he needs to expand years over the off season. Not worried about the OC. Many good young OC’s for Coach Allen to find the right HC for the future the IU offense. Don’t believe Penix would have made the outcome different. On a personal observation of players I see nothing Ronnie Walker does to make the offense better. Still think Hart gets ‘tunnel vision’ at times pre-determines who his playmakers should be. Lloyd shows more promise whenever he gets a chance. Honestly believe Coach Allen orchestrates the ability to develop more positives for 2020.
    The game for me was RIVETING. Lots of Crimson in the stands and hard to tell how much white represented Cream.

  12. I actually thought that Wommack’s defensive strategy change that resulted in the big TN TD drive in almost no time to set up the on onside kick was questionable at best. We had been confounding the TN offense/QB the previous couple possessions by dropping 8 and rushing just 3. He suddenly started bringing lots of pressure, resulting in the RB turning the short throws into massive gains. It looked like a strange combo of aggressive blitzing/pass rush and uber prevent where everyone else is 25 yards downfield.

    That drive totally turned the momentum and allowed TN’s offense to establish a great rhythm. It’s amazing an offense that looked so lost for the better part of the second half can just turn it on like that. Hence my questioning the strategy. Maybe it would have made no difference. What definitively came back to haunt us though (as pointed out) were the misses XP and the total unpreparedness for the onside kick. Both are inexcusable, IMO. Also not a big fan of TA’s management of timeouts. Tonight wasn’t the first time on that front.

    So, disappointing, yes. But I will give the team big props for effort and heart. And I salute the entire program for this season. They may not have beaten any winning teams, but they still outperformed my expectations coming into the year. Peyton Ramsey for season MVP for me. Would I have preferred to have Penix out there? Yes. But Ramsey’s guts, determination, and perseverance are unparalleled. What a job by him this year. Hoping we can continue to build off this success. Well done, Hoosiers!

    1. I think there’s a mistaken belief that Wommack is somehow the only guy who’s setting and executing defensive strategy, and that’s not accurate in any way. In spite of his title, Allen is still knee deep in determining how the defense plays, and he’s as close to a co-coordinator as one can be. When people talk about alignments and defensive calls, trust me that all of that has heavy, heavy input from Allen. It’s how they practice and meet and game plan, and it was good enough to take them deep into the fourth quarter last night with a lead that should’ve been insurmountable.

      Special teams are close to the same, and Allen admitted as much in acknowledging the onside kick foul up at the end. I promise that was an on field call by UT based on IU’s alignment, and that merely putting out a hands team would’ve resulted in UT kicking deep and playing defense. They had the clock and all three timeouts, and momentum was on their side. Allen played right into their hands by putting only two guys close to where the ball was teed up and practically begging them to go onside. It was an amateur mistake and negligent coaching, without doubt.

      The other area where IU had trouble was on the O line. Bedford will be good, but he’s not strong enough or experienced enough right now. UT obviously knew they could get pressure by overloading one side, and IU’s protection breakdowns and lack of solid technique were exploited several times with sacks, hits and hurries. Everyone else up front is borderline Big 10 level, at best. Combine that with UT’s strategy of taking away Whop, no Stevie and no real ability to spread the field to the boundary, and it was a miracle they could get 22 points. Last night was a testament to how good KDB is, given the modest talent he had to work with.

      IU needs to recruit at a much higher level if they want to turn the program into a truly competitive one. Have heard some rumblings that Allen was not happy with how things went in this class and that certain coaches are on a hotter seat due to that. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if one or two more move on or are moved on. Allen knows they need better players and that their recruiting fell short this year.

      1. BD: I also think the pooch kick was a result of IU’s standard set up. Shouldn’t Inge be on top of that initially and not rely on Allen? To your last comment; If I couldn’t trust the alertness/judgement of my staff members, I’d be looking elsewhere. Hope TA does.

        1. Decisions like that are made by Inge alone. Allen is knee deep in all of that stuff. Coaching, especially on the sidelines, is a team endeavor.

  13. Fact is, this is still Indiana football, not a compliment. We beat a bunch of teams with losing records and a coach gets a contract extension. No doubt the kids played hard, wish they could have got a win. But, fact is, when we go against teams with winning records, we go against teams with better talent and more importantly, better coaches and AD department. I was a freshman at IU in 76, over 40 years of this frustration. Every fall I have anticipation that this year will be different. Suspect the same will happen next year.

  14. v13 – you make some good points — Indiana lost to a team that is recruiting 4* and 5* star recruits…As a potential future recruit you just saw Indiana coaching staff / team blow a game against Tennessee (SEC conference)….as a potential recruit which program are you choosing?? Both of these teams where evenly match and both teams for the year had basically the same statistics. As a recruit I would be asking myself which one of those teams has the better upside for my talent?? Both teams get the same amount of national televisions exposure Indiana playing OSU, Michigan and Penn State while Tennessee gets national exposures playing Alabama, LSU and Georgia….This game was on ESPN prime time – basically sold out in the state of Florida (hot (bed) base for recruiting) – national audience and the only game of the evening – prime time recruiting. An now most recruits will come away with is Indiana has not won a bowl game in 30 years, Indiana did not beat a team with a winning record and the history of the football program is not very good. An fans wonders why Indiana cannot get the occassional 4* and 5* recruit. This game illustrate why Tom Allen or any Indiana football coach job of recruiting is so hard.

  15. Everyone that posts on this page hits on at least a shred of reality. In order to not lose ground and hopefully be a bit more successful a few things HAVE to happen this offseason. I’ll stay away from specific coaching changes.
    1. OL must get much better. IU had a difficult time alll season running and pass protecting, not just against Tenn but from week one. 2. Special team management. Just way too many mistakes. 3. Recruitment QUALITY needs to noticeably improve. The kids played their hearts out, COACHING or lack of it in the waning moments, crunch time, let everyone down. There are at least two coordinator positions that need to be upgraded. If not, we’ll be here a year from now wondering how we didn’t get to a bowl game after an 8 win season, or, how we could lose to UAB in the Shreveport Inane Bowl.

  16. This is what happens when you play not to lose! 22-9 lead in the 4th quarter and you can’t win the game? Things will never change in our football program! Thank God we will have a new offensive co-ordinater next year! Playing it safe the way we did with the lead helped cost us the game, instead of continuing to be aggressive? Although we had a nice season this year, I really don’t see continued success coming next year. We didn’t beat a winning team all year long, that should tell you something. The schedule was incredibly weak this year leading to our successful season. I have no confidence in continuing our winning ways next year. I would not be surprised that we digress next year to our old ways? Our offensive line showed again last night that they are quite inept when confronted by an SEC type defense. We were overmatched as we were all year long. We were unable to run the ball except for Ramsey scrambling when he was attempting to initially pass! Tennessee’s defensive line dominated our offensive line all night. This year’s success may have been fools gold. The schedule was our biggest help, next year may be much different!

  17. Mike C, there is a chance IU can’t repeat this level of success next year but losing just 4 players, 2 on offense and 2 on defense, from this group indicates IU can do even better with next year’s schedule. IU has a much better schedule next year but each game will be a challenge. I would point out Michigan’s DC, supposed genius, couldn’t slow down Alabama’s offense with their back up QB. The same thing happened in the bowl game last year against Florida. It is not easy for any team to consistently win when talent level is even.

    One thing about recruiting, IU is pulling in quality players that can play at the highest level we just need more players like Mullen, Penix, James, Bedford, Jones, Head, etc. IU doesn’t have to be loaded with top players but they must have play makers that can change games. By the way, Whop was very quiet last night and I would like to see game film to see how covered he was most plays.

    1. UT frequently bracketed (covered with both a corner and either the nickel or, more rarely a linebacker) Philyor and, though that meant man coverage, it involved two defenders. IU tried to counter by going to both the boundary as well as the seam with both Hendershot as well as Fryfogle. UT corners were physical and Whop seemed to have trouble with that more so than the bigger guys.

      1. Good point on Whop’s problems but I expected to see more motion and rub off routes for him as he is our most explosive player along with being vocal. Not getting him the ball in different situations really hurt the offense for this game as TN won the battle with Whop.

        1. Hard to rub off when you’re always bracketed, and not being able to establish a running game allowed UT to stay in that defense. Bubbles didn’t work because they were in man and often pressed. IU couldn’t protect, even when UT only brought 4, and Ramsey had no chance when they brought pressure. Can’t go down the field or do much in the passing game when you’re behind the chains and can’t get deep enough drops to let routes develop. DeBoer getting a double digit lead with all of that was borderline miraculous.

          Too bad TA erred so badly on the onside kick coverage. With the fair catch rule, IU should’ve had 9 guys up. Instead, they had 4 spread across 30 yards, and only 2 close to the kicker. Inexcusable for a head coach at that level.

          1. I agree about the lack of hands team from two stand points – 1. we weren’t having great returns just good returns 2. fair catching wouldn’t hurt but an on side kick would hurt IU.

            There are ways to break bracket coverage but IU may not have that in their offense this stage. The point of bunch receivers wide and tight, Motion into tight twins, running behind the LOS as part of the route, are just a few. The lack of protection made some options not viable and every pass a gamble except for quick releases. The offense could also use diverse formations that makes it tough for defenses to bracket receivers IE unbalanced lines with TE flexed and slot receiver between OT and TE and other unusual formations. This was just the first season with DeBoer’s offense so I know he had limits to what he could install.

  18. Overall it was an entertaining game between two evenly matched teams. The players played hard and executed well for the most part. Missing Scott didn’t help matters but at the end of the day the loss falls on the coaching staff. Everybody and their brother knew there was a high probability for an onside kick except the IU special teams coach and there were too many delay of game penalties. Time outs were wasted.
    The Hoosiers will be more experienced and enjoy more success next season and earn the elusive 9 wins.
    Go Hoosiers!

  19. A January 2nd bowl games feel like back in the day when they used to play a consolation game in the Final Four.

    This is Indiana, guys. We should have higher bars for basketball…and football. Why must it be the tortoise and the hare?

    We did not beat a team with a winning record. Could you even begin to imagine what that would mean in any high school program….yet a Division 1 college program? What does it mean when you can only defeat teams who lose more than they win? That’s called improvement?

    It’s simply amazing how different the tone is on basketball threads compared to football threads. Archie is only beginning his 3rd season and some already want his head on a platter because we’re not ranked in the top-20. Life in extremes. Nothing has changed in IU Football because the same crutches and coddling given to the program for decades is still the tone reflective of the expectation here today.

    We have been patient for decades to have a program that could win against some of the upper echelon teams of our conference. Here we are again in the Twilight Zone….It’s wait until next year again….again…again…again. The better recruits are coming next year….again…again…again…again.

    Until the Hoosier fan base stops excusing IU Football and its leaders for being born with shorter legs and a heavy shell to lug around, nothing will change. Nothing has changed. Poor football was born in a basketball family…Poor, poor football. Somebody go get football a blankie and his fan base pacifier….Yes, forty years later and Rod Serling is still in the room….It’s still Twilight Zone marathon at Memorial. The bars are just as low as ever. We win against losing teams and we’re stapling blue ribbons to our spit-up apron.
    And, my Lord, did we spit-up in those last five minutes last night…It’s as if we sucked down too much ‘winning formula’ too fast. Mommy Allen is feeding too fast and isn’t burping us enough. I don’t know if Pampers could catch the total number of infantile mistakes made by Baby Blue Ribbon in soiling away last night’s game.

    Win Today! Just don’t win against anybody any good. Hoosier Basketball was convinced to walk…Hoosier Football is excused to crawl. That’s the only reality perpetuated here.

  20. A lot of good comments above. Some I respectively disagree with.

    I do not see TA having any hesitation to replace assistant coaches. He has made key changes over the last two seasons and I expect him to continue removing assistants whose performance do not meet his standards.

    The biggest reason for optimism next season is that so many of this year’s key players were young. They got a lot of experience this season and should, with proper coaching and more physical development, come back smarter, bigger and stronger. I only see one or two freshman needing to contribute next season, and that’s a good thing.

    The key to IU producing a winning season next year will be Penix. If he stays healthy, we’ll be in another bowl game next year. If not, we’ll struggle to score enough points to produce a winning season. Penix’s exceptional talent is game-changing. If he returns for his fifth season, Ramsey will be a key back-up, but he just doesn’t have the exceptional talent that IU needs to beat above-average teams.

    No excuse for the Special Teams’ screw ups and TA made a huge mistake not putting his hands-team in for that kick-off. That’s all on TA and he admitted it in last night press conference. That’s why I remain concerned about how exuberant TA becomes on the sideline. When he starts going bonkers, I fear he loses focus and fails to manage key details or focus on what needs to be done next. Sloppy clock-management and wasted time-outs are also symptoms of that tendency. Compare his behavior on the sidelines to more experienced/successful coaches, and you can’t help but notice the difference. Is there a correlation? I think the answer is clearly yes. TA’s players don’t need him to be a cheerleader celebrating every good play, they need him to be thinking about the flow of the game, the adjustments that need to be made and what needs to be do next. I hope he learns to tone down his sideline celebrations and develop better focus, because a team will take on certain characteristics from this head coach.

    Tennessee gets better recruits because they are a storied FB program that has won 68% of all the FB games they’ve ever played, played in more bowl games than all but two other FB programs, have won a National Championship and because they play in front of 102,000 die-hard fans every home game. Football is a religion in Tennessee and their best players are worshipped and celebrated as icons for decades. My brother-in-law is one of them and I’ve witnessed it on numerous occasions.

    1. PO, if Allen is not afraid to get rid of whomever needs to be gotten rid of, then he’s a terrible judge of coaches- IUFB should have been rid of Inge long, long ago. And of course you’re right about Allen going bonkers or whatever; during one time out he was running around pounding shoulder pads and slappin’ fannies instead of actually doing something coach-like such as strategizing.

  21. IU football tradition before tv, before all these technology blog posts, around the Bloomington court house square the conversations have remained the same. Just the names have changed to protect the guilty.

  22. Wonder where thinkaboutSEC has gone? How do we go forward on the Ramsey vs. Penix, Pale & Prayer vs. Frail & Big Air, debate?

    Ramsey/Game Summation: I actually thought Ramsey threw a lot of very accurate balls. He put a lot of passes right where they had to be. I was also amazed to see him overthrow a receiver on a fairly deep route(can’t remember which Hoosier just couldn’t get under hit with his outstretched arm…He had his defender clearly beat and an accurate throw was going to be six)…..Didn’t think I’d see one of Ramsey’s key misses be an overthrow. The other key miss was, sadly, his final throw of the night which was simply a bazaar toddler effort of a throw. All those good balls he threw all night and then the final one (which could have set up a game-winning field goal slips out of his hand like a fatally wounded duck and goes about 10 yards of its needed 20 to a sideline route….If not a Hoosier fan, that one likely ‘quacked up” any casual onlooker. Unfortunate.

    Some clutch throws…..Some very klutzy throws. Sort of sums up the season….and sums up IU Football (including Allen’s clock mismanagement at the end of the first half and the inexplicable fumbling of not preparing for an onside kick).

    The debate continues….Michael ‘Marvelous the Magician’ Penix (now you see him, now you don’t) vs. Peyton ‘Part-time Manning Mimicker’ Ramsey (now you throw it, now you don’t).

    Thinkaboutit? ThinkaboutSEC? ThinkaboutHarvard? ThinkaboutScoop? Thinkaboutthinkingaboutit?

  23. I haven’t posted in quite a while because I have been tired of all the negativity around IU sports. With that said, I am really proud of the Hoosiers football team. They did lose in epic fashion in only a way in which IU football can lose but they played their butts off the entire game. Some say IU got out coached but I disagree. UT has many 4 and 5 star players and we had them beat with 3 and some 4 star. IU played with heart and I loved watching them even though heartbroken when lost. I would take our boys and if they keep staying the course, they will get a break through win. I think Tom Allen is a corny raw raw guy but that is ok. He is our corny raw raw coach. Great job Hoosiers. Well done!

  24. The one single thing that must improve dramatically, and it’s not unattainable, is the quality and techniques of the OL primarily for running but also for pass protection. Hiller is a lower echelon position coach with a job at IU that happens to be in the BIG. Sampson James (agree or not) was rated as the 2nd highest kid from H S at IU (visa vi OSU) taken in by IU in the last 15 years. If Jonathan Taylor ran behind this line no one would have heard of him.

  25. I noticed some of our lineman with giant bellies hanging over their waistbelt…Same with Tennessee. You see massive lineman on the upper teams of the power conferences, but I don’t notice as many gigantic bellies creating most the added weight. I feel bad for these kids….Their future health is already being altered. So damn hard on the heart….Probably all play with enlarged hearts and their joints are only currently held together by steroid glue. Everything will fall apart before they hit age 35. Sad what is done to young men to simply win the poundage game…..It’s almost a form of negligence disguised as “conditioning.”

  26. One last thing for me (thank God) on the excuses people make re recruiting. As of now, here are 5 examples of programs in the current cycle that all have substantially higher per player ratings, higher team totals and higher placement nationally. Three of the five did not go bowling, one of the bowl teams just fired its head coach the other came out of retirement to “right the ship”. One of the schools has the 4th highest academic enrollment standards in the country. NC #19, Miss St #26, MD #28, Purdue #30, NW #37. What great ‘stories of success’ do they have when they sit down in the living rooms of these kids? IU is 51st, for now. Committed recruits were all done while the season was active. IU lost out on 7 attempts, within their reach, to sign a single kid, joining the in-state kid from Campbellsburg at the SDE position. Quoting Urban Meyer: ” If a coach can’t recruit, I can’t use him. Guys that teach X’s and O’s,…I can find anywhere.”

  27. Brad the ESPN analysts said the Tenn D-Line was too strong for Indiana O-Line; perhaps a revisit and retooling of the weight program is needed. I Hope Justus need better in the classroom than he did on the football field..or he is gonna be homeless and starving. A 5th year senior that kicks that poorly under pressure??!!! I hope like hell he isn’t in Med School.

  28. This loss falls on coaching.
    1. Inge, Inge Inge. Special teams have stunk for years. Inge has been “coordinating” special teams at IU for seven, count ’em, seven years. He is not going to get better.
    2. No killer instinct. After IU’s final field goal, IU is ahead by two TDs and the IUD forced a three and out. With 8:50 remaining, the IUO takes the ball at its 24 yd. line and three plays later punts it from the 26. Right then, I pretty much knew how this was going to end. Ever heard of “KICK ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE DOWN?”
    3. (Mis)use of four weeks’ prep time. IU, particularly the defense, looked winded by the end of the first quarter. 76 rushing yards = no effective scheme or even a refresher course on run-blocking fundamentals. Meanwhile, although for most of the season IU had been at the top of the B1G and the NCAA in least sacks allowed, the UT coaches used their time to figure out how to seriously pressure Ramsey.
    4. Yep, Whop was largely shut down, but he’s not the only good receiver on this team. Make the adjustments.

  29. I read all of the 50 comments and didn’t learn anything! Like: “recruit better kids”, what a novel idea! Coach Allen did blow it on the insides kick, but not one comment on the awesome execution on the play by the TN kids! That was perfect! I love Peyton Ramsey, but we win that game with a healthy Penix. As one example: the final drive: first the lollipop throw that allowed TN to easily recover and break it up; the throttle out of bounds by 5 yards to Whoop; the final throw not even close to the 10 yards needed, way to slow, and no chance for the receiver. But Peyton’s grit and effort were outstanding! Come back for another go, as IU’s #2.

  30. . . . and a Happy New Year to everyone, thoroughly enjoyed my holiday sabbatical. Disappointed with the bowl and the BB AR game, but I tend to be with the glass half full crowd so I’m not in the despair of some.

    H4H was asking about my thoughts on the bowl game. I would prefer to begin with the Tennessee crowd’s thoughts. Being hopelessly outnumbered down here in the heart of SEC country is challenging enough for someone from the B1G world, let alone an IUFB follower. For those who thought TA got out coached you should have heard what the TNation thought of their own performance. They fully expected to come in and dominate IUFB and it didn’t happen. They are glad to get the win, but know full well if not for some IUFB mistakes they would have lost the game. Not a happy camp with their own coach or program.

    As for H4H’s MP/PR thoughts. I have believed all along that PR is a good, smart, and very tough kid. It is very unfortunate that he does not have a B1G caliber arm to go along with the rest of the package. As for the PR overthrow on a deep route, V13 has addressed this in the past, but I remind everyone of his thoughts. The problem for a weak armed QB on a deep route is they basically have to heave the football which is a highly inaccurate method of throwing the ball. We should all know this from doing the same thing as kids, sometimes you got lucky and your guy caught the ball, but most times missed. A strong arm QB who has learned how to control their arm strength will make that pass.

    The biggest thing for a QB with arm strength is velocity. That is the difference in the ball getting to your receiver quick enough to allow for a move after the catch and the ball getting there at the same time as the defender. This is what makes MP such a dangerous QB, the sheer velocity of very accurately thrown passes. Unfortunately MP’s biggest weakness is durability at this point, which PR has in abundance.

    As for the season overall, IUFB had a good season by IUFB standards. That’s the thing we have to remember. IUFB did something it hasn’t done in a long time, win most of the games it should have won. No, IU didn’t win games against teams with winning records, but 2 of those teams would have been bowl eligible had they beat IU. We have to be realistic about where IUFB is at and how big a challenge it is to make IUFB actually relevant. We have a lot of posters with terribly unrealistic expectations of how big a challenge make IUFB relevant actually is. Those are the one’s I kindly accuse of having westlaffyitis.

    No, this was not a breakthrough season technically, but it certainly was a healthy B1G caliber QB away from it being so. There were at least 2 possible statement wins within reach this year (UM/PSU), but QB deficiencies had a major impact. There were another 2 games which should have been won, but got away from IUFB late in the game (MSU/TN). Only the OSU game was likely out of reach for IUFB this year, even with stellar QB play. The question is, “Can IUFB take the next step forward in 2020 and build upon what was accomplished in 2019?”

  31. Thinkaboutit, I agree with almost everything you stated. As Good as Peyton Ramsey has been this year, he is still very limited in what he can do because of a lack of arm strength. While he is incredibly accurate with the medium passing game, he can’t stretch the field and Penix can. If it weren’t for Ramsey’s legs, he would be a very below average QB? His legs make him effective and competitive. If IU is going to achieve more success next year it will have to be with Penix at the QB position! He is a dynamic athlete who can come up with “chunk” plays with his arm and feet. Keeping him healthy will make IU much more competitive and move them up in the conference. As “Think” stated, with Penix at QB, possibly only Ohio St. is beyond our reach, they are simply to talented at all positions! While Ramsey is to be commended for his competitiveness, he is still very limited in his ability. IU’s future could be bright with Penix at the QB position, if people can’t see that, shame on them!

    1. Agreed MC,
      Let me elaborate on one of your points. PR is indeed very accurate with his short passes, but there is a significant problem due to his low velocity. The ball however accurately thrown is still not getting there fast enough for the receiver to have enough space to make moves. IUFB has to rely on deception to get receivers into the open, which can only fool a defense for so long. What a defense fears more than anything is a QB who is a threat to any part of the field they are trying to defend. It forces the defense to stretch to cover all those possibilities which is nearly impossible. PR’s lack of arm strength places the IU offense at a significant disadvantage which is difficult to overcome against reasonably strong defenses.

    1. What tradition t?

      If IUFB is to actually begin to have a decent tradition in the near future, the foundation is hopefully being built by TA right now.

  32. thinkaboutSEC! Welcome back and Happy New Year!

    Interesting theories on “velocity.” Mitchell Trubisky throws with a ton of velocity but he’s still terrible and makes some of the most boneheaded throws imaginable. Can’t really throw anything spectacular in the way of a deep ball. Why on earth was he drafted so high? And he’s not from the SEC…I just don’t get it.

  33. t, you provide a blinding glimpse of the obvious and act like it’s a revelation. Every IU fan over the age of ten knows what IU FB’s tradition is. But for the first time in a decade, IU fans have tangible evidence that IU has begun to create a new FB tradition. Will IU ever overtake OSU as the Big Ten’s powerhouse program? No, not in our lifetimes. But that’s not to say that we can’t create a tradition of winning.

    I’ll tell you this. Today, I’m a lot more optimistic about the future of IU FB than I am about IU BB!

  34. Well, to he-l with Sports ReportI

    I just posted lengthy comments (twice) on my observations from being at the game and pre-game pep rally and they have not appeared in the comments section. I started out by saying no one probably really gave a sh_ _ whether I did post or not. Did that automatically delete my post?

    At least the moderator or whatever could send me an email as to why my post has not appeared!

  35. Ranger I know precisely what you’re talking about. I’ve enjoyed the treatment myself. It’s like all the inhouse videos generated nearly no one responds to but does allow turning in a timecard without thought or effort. Smoke and mirrors. Must have something to do with freedom of the press. Welcome to 2kxx.

    1. PO. Glimpse provided for those who have to much air between his or her head to understand such revelation and tradition to face reality.

  36. Says something about IU football program how is realistically viewed. Even trade off with Fresno State while trying to play in big ten east.
    Inge whether he stays or goes is irrelevant. Unless he thought he was going to be replaced he laterally moved to Fresno State.

  37. Hope the Inge info is correct. On the Ramsey-Penix back and forth thing. Even Ramsey’s detractors (not me) admit that he’s a very resourceful, effective leader. As for his perceived ‘weenie arm’,…if he had a ‘rocket arm’ combined with his other leadership qualities and ability to escape sacks from a porous OL he would NEVER had ended up at IU. Fortunately, whether it’s unavoidable or not, he throws a very catchable ball with one of the highest pass completion %’s in the country. IF Penix weren’t a fragile ‘beanpole’ he WOULDN’T have ended up at IU either. Years ago, I remember the blonde haired left handed QB out of Kansas (another powerhouse) Bobby Douglas. He ended up under center for the Chicago Bears. On the rare occassion the ball went in the general direction of the intended receiver, they couldn’t catch it because the velocity was unreal. He was kind of an early day, bad version of Michael Vick.

  38. Bobby Douglas…Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard that name. Brad is a man who speaks to my heart. Bobby “Bombs Away” Douglas….Bob “Chicago-style Weenie” Avellini….Mike “Buckeye, Suck Why?” Tomczak…Vince “The Invincible Scrambler” Evans…Rexy Sexy “Butterfingers” Grossman….Jay “Pouty-faced” Cutler….Mitch “Too Risky Turd-ishy” Trubisky.

    It’s the list of ineptitude that just keeps giving. Who am I missing outside of our one Super Bowl qb?

    I’d take Ramsey as my qb over Grossman at our last Bears Super Bowl. It’s not even close…

  39. Just wondering if Inge was in the wrong job at IU? The majority of his experience was as a defensive coach, and clearly he wanted to be the DC at IU before TA promoted his mentor’s son. But I also wonder how much of a pay raise Inge will get going to Fresno State? Maybe that didn’t really matter as much as getting back on to what he considered the right career track.

    I don’t see it as a big loss for IU, and I always see these openings as a way to upgrade the coaching talent with younger, more hungry guys, or experienced guys who were really good but who got caught on the wrong side of a school’s coaching change.

  40. Yep, that’s the word at various sports web sites- Inge the DC at Fresno St. How did IU overlook this hidden gem for seven years?

  41. Inge was considered a great recruiter and a very good linebackers coach. He coached one of the best defensive players now in the NFL (Mack) in college. His salary at IU was $338,000, but it must have chafed him to see a younger guy (Wommack), with less experience get promoted to DC over him. He probably won’t be making any more money at Fresno State, but maybe he believes a step sideways is necessary in order to eventually move forward into a bigger DC job, or to have a chance to become a head coach down the road.

    I would to have been a fly on the wall in those discussions with TA.

  42. Penix had many other offers than IU. He actually had offers from UT, Fl St and Oregon. He decomitted from UT before he signed with IU so he was looked upon highly.

    Inge spent most of his career coaching linebackers, d line and special teams. Wommack while not having as many years experience as Inge had proven himself as a DC at 2 stops. Just in reading resumes, it made more sense for Wommack to get the DC job at IU.

    The game on Thursday got to me on a level that I’ve never experienced before. I was mad and disgusted! With no plan for the running backs when they knew Scott couldn’t go, another clock management issue, not changing kickers after the 1st miss along with the hands team off the field on the onside kick…just wow! This loss is on the coaches, it’s on Allen! Funny thing is I love Allen, but he best get back to winning next year and then winning a bowl!!!

    1. In other words, the bowl game was fumbled away.
      And wins against losing teams can afford the occasional fumbling of crucial decisions …while wins against winning teams cannot. So what’s changed? We had incrementally better talent to make up for the same old dumb coaching margin of errors? Sounds like Crean basketball…in my world.

      Nice to hear some honesty from JPat. Refreshing and forthright.

    2. JPat,
      Always great to hear you perspective and you are absolutely right about MP and the offers he had. There are a lot of folks out there who will not like to hear this, but Mike DeBord was likely the reason he came to IU. FSU had the inside track on the recruitment up until the FSU administration went crazy dysfunctional regarding their traditional blue-blood program and have yet to recover. DeBord had taken advantage of that at UT and the relationship followed him to IU. Didn’t hurt that TA was well known in the area as well.

      As for TA’s coaching blunders, I agree with you it is maddening. However, the one silver lining to TA’s mistakes is that he tends to learn from them. Now if IUFB could just figure out how to beef up MP to H4H’s standards, next year could be a lot of fun.

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