Hoosiers claim Old Brass Spittoon from MSU, 24-0

EAST LANSING, Mich. — As the Spartans cleared off the field following a 24-0 defeat, Indiana receiver Whop Philyor waded through them in search of his team’s prize.

That Old Brass Spittoon was finally theirs.

Sure, it isn’t the most glamorous trophy — a metal pot that’s meant for spitting in — but it could have been a genie’s lamp for all they cared. The Hoosiers had lost 10 out of their last 11 games to Michigan State, including their last eight on the road. Their coach, Tom Allen, is going on four years leading the program, and he’d yet to hold the Old Brass Spittoon as head coach.

One of their wishes was to beat these Spartans and win that Old Brass Spittoon.

“One of the major things the guys wanted was to win our trophy games,” Allen said. “That’s what we did. We won our first trophy game.”

So right when the final whistle blew, Philyor went searching. Maybe it’s appropriate that the Old Brass Spittoon wasn’t there when the Hoosiers’ energetic senior reached the MSU sideline, because not everything that happened Saturday was how IU would have scripted it. Philyor held his arms out, as if to say, “Where did it go?”

Despite two turnovers, and despite three missed chances in the red zone, it was a win all the same. In a year where the No. 10 Hoosiers continue to accomplish firsts — like knocking off Penn State and Michigan in the same season — getting Allen his first MSU win was meaningful.

And that Old Brass Spittoon was waiting for the Hoosiers in their visiting locker room, ready for a private celebration. IU cornerback Tiawan Mullen, whose two interceptions were a catalyst, was at the center of the Hoosier locker room, his two hands under the spittoon’s base, holding it high.

“It’s very special. I’m not surprised what’s happening at Indiana University,” Mullen said. “That’s one reason I came here. I had a mindset, it was going to change. It wasn’t going to take five years, three years, four years, it was going to change as soon as I got here. … We are going out there and making it happen.”

Again, this win wasn’t a picture of perfection. Michael Penix Jr., who finished with 320 yards and two touchdowns passing, also threw two picks, one on IU’s first drive, and another on a drive to the MSU 15 in the second quarter. That was IU’s first red zone trip this season that didn’t yield points.

On the day, the Hoosiers were 3-of-6 in the red zone, leaving far too many points on the field. But the defense, which forced four turnovers, including a fumble recovery and a late Reese Taylor interception, kept the Hoosiers comfortably ahead for most of the contest. IU finished Saturday with 433 yards to the Spartans’ 191, which left little doubt of who the better team was.

The Hoosiers are now 4-0 in conference for the first time since 1987. They head to No. 3 Ohio State next week, looking to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1967.

“It doesn’t matter what everyone says about us, we are going to keep doing us, and keep executing each and every week and getting better each and every week,” IU receiver Ty Fryfogle said. “Look at the defense, they had a shutout today. Offense, we played well, but we could have done better. That’s what we are going to continue to work on next week.”

One of the stars of the day was Fryfogle, who built on last week’s career-high, 142-yard performance with an even bigger one, collecting 11 catches for 200 yards. That included two touchdowns, the first a 16-yard swing pass where he ripped through MSU tacklers and into the end zone. The second was a 65-yard pitch-and-catch where the 6-foot-2, 214-pound senior just caught a ball on the sideline and zoomed upfield for dozens of yards.

Those explosive plays were enough on a day where the Hoosier defense was dominant. They were able to consistently hold the line, as well, despite injuries to linebackers Cam Jones and Thomas Allen. On the offensive side of the ball, IU was without left tackle Caleb Jones, who was on IU’s inactive list.

Allen did not elaborate on what kept Jones out Saturday.

“Next man up,” Allen said. “(Junior tackle) Luke (Haggard) came here to play, he came here to compete and have opportunities. Now he’s got one. Bottom line is that’s how we have to approach this, every single time we take the field, whatever position it is. Guys gotta realize, if the guy in front of you goes down, and can’t play, now is your time. What are you going to do with that opportunity?”

What he did was help hold down one side of the line for Penix, because MSU finished with just one sack, and that came on right tackle Matthew Bedford’s side.

Across the board, this was just an important win for IU. In last year’s game at MSU, Penix shined, throwing a program-record 20 straight completions. Mullen, just a freshman, broke out with multiple pass breakups versus a veteran receiver. But IU gave up 40 points and lost.

After that game, Allen was emotional. He involuntarily snarled at one question, affirming that the Hoosiers were “legit.” It took that loss, Allen believes, for the Hoosiers to finally turn the tide in close games. And they won a close game in the opener versus Penn State this year. Then they went on the road and handled Rutgers. Then, they beat Michigan and Michigan State comfortably.

In their possession is an Old Brass Spittoon, as well as an opportunity to head to Columbus, Ohio, and compete in a battle of top-10 teams.

“It’s just exciting getting it back, even if we don’t get to spit in it, because, I guess, COVID or whatever,” Fryfogle said of the Hoosiers’ trophy. “But (I’m) just glad being in that locker room, celebrating with my teammates, some of the guys I’ve been here with for years. Just trying to get it back, and we finally did.”

97 comments

  1. This place is sad. Hoosiers doing things they’ve never done before, headed to Columbus 4-0 and in the Top 10, and lots of negativity, sneering and sadness in the comments section. Some of you need to download a meditation app or get a cannabis card. Your comments don’t reflect the realities of the football program, they reflect you.

    Let me celebrate with the small handful of you who are actually excited about this. Go Hoosiers!

  2. I got your back DD! Go Hoosiers! We didn’t have our best game today but what does it mean when a Hoosier football fan can complain about a win that was a shutout! We have worked past the trap game, also a new addition to IUFB’s lexicon, and have plenty of motivational video for next week. Let’s do this baby!

  3. I only see 3 comments!
    At any rate, yes we’re pleased with the team’s performance. Need the obvious be pointed out? 3 times inside the ten and zilch. Can’t run the ball when needed. ST kickoff coverage needs big improvement. When just about every kickoff caught in the endzone is run back,..that tells us what our last 4 opponents have thought of the coverage. Cover like that next week and they’ll run it back at least twice. Kudos to Wommak and the defense…but offensively on 3rd down and short, it’s more like ‘dungeons & dragons’ than a reliable, simple run for the first down.

    1. The score was 24-0! Not a perfect game, but a great win! Lots to work on, as you point out. Do the work. Go IU!

  4. The difference is Penix, a special player that opposing defenses have yet to figure out. He gives an otherwise average offense an element that we’ve simply not had in decades, if ever. McElroy astutely pointed out today MPs arm strength, showing the impact of being able to throw to the field side from the college boundary hash on several occasions with both velocity and accuracy. Most college kids simply can’t come close to doing that, but Penix can consistently. It pressures a defense significantly, and it adds pages to a playbook that you’d never consider otherwise. We need to enjoy it while we have it. The struggles up front continue, as do drops by a couple of receivers. On the other side, the D is stout and, with MP, are the reason for our success.

    1. The difference is Penix

      Duh. Been saying it for months …as was thinkaboutit until he left Scoop in a tantrum over some political debate. Who was it that got him so ticked off? I can’t seem to remember. Nonetheless, we’d probably be 0-4 with Ramsey.

      OSU game will tell us just how much better this team is than previous seasons. Michigan State was beyond awful at the qb position. Still scratching my head wondering how Michigan lost to them.

      National Championship HERE WE COME! Cue cards.

      And PSU now 0-4. It’s not like we’re the only one busting their chops. k

        1. Yes, we would. You need to watch much closer. Ramsey can’t throw against the grain or do half the things Penix is demonstrating (including a magnificent touch now being displayed). It’s not just about zip on the ball. It’s the entire package in a quarterback simply far better than any time in our history.
          We all understand you have feelings of resentment toward Allen for those not given their proper loyalty (Cronk and Ramsey).
          It should have been an open competition and all of that nonsense….The upgrade was obvious when Allen put Penix into the game two years ago against PSU. Live reps sorta meant diddlysquat for Peyton even at the risk of injury to Penix in that game. Ramsey was given ‘live pine splinters’ in his butt because we were completely stagnant offensively.
          And we’d be completely stagnant this year as well without Penix….and 0-4.

          1. What you haven’t noticed, which isn’t surprising since you made no mention of it, is a defense that’s been dominant, that’s given the ball to the offense via turnovers and stalled drives at a high rate. Penix has performed at a high level, but the defense has been equally as impressive. Not at all surprised you fail to understand this.

          2. I’ve noticed…But much of that “dominance” today was due to a totally atrocious MSU qb. Lombardi was simply awful. He was throwing balls into the sort of coverage even a Penix laser arm couldn’t thread a needle.

            Ramsey may have had a chance today. It would have been a race in stagnancy.

    2. BD, Penix is special and does change IU’s games and the defense is playing very good too. I would say that they change the games too and that is what is nice about this team. Either side of the team can make plays to change the game.

      I feel bad for people that can’t just enjoy the wins that IU fans haven’t had in a long time. This team isn’t perfect but it is a team to enjoy and feel good about the results.

      1. Our defense is better….Powder Blue is a ton of fun.
        But the wild throws of Lombardi would make a lot of defenses look dominant. The poor kid was atrocious. The Michigan qb stunk it up bad against Wisky. Have we played against a quality qb yet? The position is even a bit down year for OSU. That opens our door a bit at Columbus.

        Penix is the imperative. It’s nothing new. When many were still on their Ramsey dunk & dink crush, thinkaboutit was trying to tell a slew of Scoopers just how much our offense was being restrained its full potential due to Ramsey’s limitations. It’s been obvious since the Penn State game two years ago. It was always just a question of Penix’s return and durability.
        Fortunately, he’s yet to contract Covid or take a crushing hit.

        1. The quarterback position is a bit down for OSU? You didn’t really mean to dig this hole . . . I mean, say this, did you?

    3. Indeed the O is potent because of MP’s skills and above average WR’s. If the O’s pass attack is 7-8 of 10 then the rushing attack is a 2-3. Reasons are obvious.

    4. You are wrong about “average offense”! Our RB’s are very good: Scott, James, and now the Freshman from VA, Baldwin. Our receivers are even better: Whop, Fryfogel, Miles, Swinton, etc. Our tight ends are good and deep. Our QB is second only to Fields in the B1G. Our OL is OK but it has no depth. Our OC is learning but way too timid now.

      1. We can agree to disagree. I think we’re good but not great at the offensive skill positions, outside of Penix. We’re solid at most spots, but I don’t think we have anyone (other than MP) that scares opposing D coordinators. What we have are a bunch of decently talented kids who play hard, play to their capabilities, and who execute consistently. A special arm talented kid like MP is what makes them go. Will be interesting to see what OSU tries to do with him. I have a feeling our receivers are going to feel regular contact at the LOS in an effort to disrupt timing. I think you’ll also see OSU be physical through the middle in an effort to not let guys run across the defense. We can’t let them get pressure with 4, and we have to be more sure handed than we’ve been to date. Drops are killers in our form of a ball control O.

  5. You know you’re rooting for a very good team when they play sloppy and still shut out their opponent! I’m thrilled with the win, but IU’s offense did not play a great game. I can’t help but wonder if next week’s game against OSU was impeding their focus. On the other hand, IU’s defense is simply outstanding!

    I am dumbfounded as to why Tuttle did not see any playing time today. He should have played the entire fourth quarter. You just don’t risk getting your star QB injured in a game that is well in hand. It’s just not smart. Unless TA and Sheridan are trying to send Tuttle a message, he should have played today.

    So sad to see Allen leave the game with what appears to be another season-ending injury. But wow, what a show of support when his teammates went out on to the field.

    1. Tuttle not playing makes perfect sense. If you played, the backup not getting time is an easy one, but fans who never played don’t understand it at all. It’s always a litmus test.

      1. I played. Explain your thought. We all know that having quality, experienced backups at every position, including QB, is important!

  6. Sorry BD, but it is the farthest thing from a litmus test. So please try again to explain why TA didn’t put Tuttle in the game. Why risk Penix in the fourth quarter of a game that is well in hand? Why not give the back-up some much needed game experience? All you have to do is watch the best FB teams in the country to see how often the back-ups get to play when their team is blowing out an opponent.

    When I played in H.S. (decades ago), I was a starter on the varsity for two seasons, and we had a very good H.S. FB team. And like every other starter on the team, we were excited when our back-ups got to play. It signaled that we starters had done a good job. And we cheered our butts off for our back-ups. It gave everybody on the team a big lift and encouraged the back-ups to stay ready.

  7. No, it’s a huge litmus test, because it’s the difference in how fans look at it versus how coaches look at it (and players). I explained it to another poster earlier:

    This isn’t Pop Warner or a CYO league where you’re trying to get every kid into the game for X number of plays. A smart head coach realizes that, in a constricted practice schedule, live reps are like gold. It’s why you rarely see players pulled even when teams have comfortable margins. You get live work against a live defense that isn’t your own. That’s how you work on parts of your game in which you aren’t proficient. It’s what nearly every coach does in this situation and what you would expect from a coach like Allen who knows the game.

    Coaches want to improve, and reps are the surest way to do that. Practice and preparation are limited by the rules, so the game serves that purpose. It’s just a different mindset than fans have, which was the basis for the litmus test comment.

    1. Agreed would have loved to see Tuttle get garbage time reps but today was a great time to practice live. Nice problem to have.

    2. …and I would add 1 thing as to why JT did not get on the field…the quality of the next opponent…

    3. Mindless drivel. If you continue to use your full playbook, I will grant some of your points. But when you button up the offense, refuse to be aggressive and pass on every possession, and run up the middle. The reps for the QB are meaningless. But they are dangerous.

  8. Not so sure about the litmus test…Maybe it makes sense to keep Penix in when we are at the cusp of our biggest moment in program history. I don’t think Allen wanted any rust or letdown from Penix heading into OSU. Team stays on point and confident until the end. Penix is a big source of the total belief.
    It probably makes some sense to gamble at this point. I didn’t watch the entire second half, but it was easy to tell Allen was protecting Penix in the early drives of the 3rd quarter by simply going with a lot of simple hand-offs and running plays.

    I believe keeping Penix in had more to do with just staying mentally sharp heading into the biggest game in IU’s last 50 years.

    At this point, ride the tiger. Sing it Mickey Thomas!

    Cue cards.

    1. Like I said, it’s about reps and perfecting play, and that’s what coaches are focused on. For them, it’s always about how they can get better, and that’s why they leave kids in when fans think the backups should get time. Just a different mindset.

          1. Of course it is “nothing new”. It only makes sense to develop your team by ensuring quality, experienced, prepared backups at every position. Do you dispute this point? I agree that you don’t risk the win. But up 24-0 in the 4th quarter that was not an issue. But coaches don’t willingly think outside the box.

  9. I think it had a lot to do with going into OSU next week. Keep all the unit intact. Allow Penix to be the recognizable confident leader in the huddle until we take the field in Columbus.
    And what if Tuttle shines in a few series against MSU? Nope, not a good idea. It’s Penix who is ‘shocking the world’ ….Nobody knew he was going to be this good. You don’t want any semblance of that vibe being tempered due to anything Tuttle might display on the eve of meeting the mighty Buckeyes. Don’t mess with “it factor” before a potential upset game which could put us into national playoff discussions.

    1. Coaches don’t have that perspective at all, but I can see why you might come up with that kind of “reasoning”.

  10. No amount of benefit in live reps kept Ramsey in the PSU game two years ago. Stagnancy in the offense gave him live pine splinters in his butt.

    Coaches know when the qb has lost his team’s belief…and when it’s best not to eff with sustained belief (e.g. on the eve of OSU). Ride the tiger. Cue cards.

  11. I really respect your football knowledge. I’m certain that’s why you’re on Scoop instead of creatively coaching somewhere. Must have been no “spots” on a roster.

  12. Joey Glass had creative writing skills….Lol. So creative it cost us a set of 30 million dollar cue cards.

    1. Talk about creative writing! At least you’re not trying to talk football anymore. That’s even worse than when you try to talk hoops.

  13. BD, I appreciate you explaining it further, thanks. To an extent, the philosophy you describe makes sense. But on the flip side, it’s also very risky and careless. Circumstances have to be taken into account. Knowing how prone Penix has been to injury (he was limping off the field in the 1st Qtr.) and understanding that IU’s season is over if he gets hurt, the smart decision would be to minimize the risk to your MVP and have your back-up ready to play should it ever become necessary. IMO, those considerations should neutralize a coach’s desire to seek continuous improvement through game reps. And really, how much was Penix or the rest of the offense going to benefit from the experience of handing the ball off to running backs 12 to 16 times in the fourth quarter? Any minimal benefit derived from those clock-killing reps wasn’t worth the risk of getting Penix hurt or having a back-up with zero experience half way through the season. Don’t take my word for it, you hear college FB Analysts say the same thing all the time.

    1. Understand what you’re saying but I think the coaching mentality is always asking “how can we get better?” rather than “how can we prevent injuries?” I think they try to not put Penix in situations where injury is more likely (we don’t run any zone read, he gets the ball out quickly, he’s taught to get down, etc.), but getting better by getting reps is the mentality of most coaches. Again,it’s a function of limited practice time compared to getting live contact reps against a defense other than your own. You may hear “get the back up in” from other fans and talking heads, but coaches value the reps.

      1. You’re understanding it now because two-faced tickled your toes. Live reps was silly. This isn’t Ramsey. Penix doesn’t need live reps against a team he’s already dominated. Handing the ball safely off to a running back isn’t making him any better.
        He’s out there to maintain continuity going into the biggest game in half a century. The analysts on FS 1 all said essentially the same thing. Our improvement would be marginally observed and marginally measured if you removed the myriad of tangibles and intangibles provided by Penix. You don’t eff that up for one quarter on the eve of an OSU game ranking as our most important in program history.

        1. Keep digging. Your hole gets deeper and deeper. You have zero idea what you’re talking about. As usual. Need more shovels?

          1. So, so terribly insecure. You just hate it when someone easily nullifies your total BS. There’s nothing magical in your boxed-in thinking.

          2. It’s not magic, it’s just intelligence. That’s why you continue to dig instead of think. It’s your M.O.

    2. Penix doesn’t need continuous improvement. He has this. He was kept in the game because the team doesn’t need a break from continuity going into the biggest contest for IU Football in 50 years. If we were 1-2 and still looking far ahead to managing a season for another Alpo Snaps Bowl, then Tuttle would have been in the game. Penix would have been put into a safety deposit box and left to age like a fine wine.

      But we’re not playing right now for an Alpo Snaps Bowl. We have an opportunity (albeit with very small odds) to put ourselves into a position of winning the East Division of our conference. You do nothing to disturb that vibe or momentum…You roll the dice with Penix at this point and maintain continuity and confidence. The entire team is feeding off his moxie. It has nothing to do with live reps. Penix could sit out for three games and still be exponentially better than Ramsey (or any qb of recent memory) in his first series. He has this. Live reps? Silly. Penix is a natural.
      Additionally, he’s probably not back next season. Ride the tiger. Penix may be the only smart one to remove himself from a game. He might just understand how high his NFL stock is going up and decide not to risk much more for IU’s sake/breakthrough. Might be time to fake twist an ankle.

      1. It’s all about live reps. Well, that plus you can’t stand to be wrong. And you couldn’t be more wrong on this if you tried. But I’m loving your futile attempt to be relevant. You go, girl!

        1. Unveiling yourself more with a silly misogynistic remark. Lord, you are insecure.
          My relevancy is not under threat by a fraud. And I’m not so delusional to bask in what someone would define as Scoop relevancy. Jeremy and Jon are relevant. They can make all of us irrelevant very quickly. Keep things in perspective, Mega Narcissist.

          1. It appears the one really “digging it” is you. Hook. Line. Sinker. You’re so, so easy….and terribly insecure.

  14. I’ve never pretended to know more than legit experts here. I consider V-13 to be in that category. Anyone who pounds there chest as much as you must have been scorned by the profession.
    V-13 doesn’t attempt to demean others and thus I consider him to be more secure in his knowledge. Insecure knowledge thrives on insult as its ammunition.

      1. You live in your own BS hole. Do you think I care about some typos? Are you really that anal retentive?

  15. We are 4-0 in the Big Ten. We’ve beaten Penn State, Mich, and MSU. Last year we were criticized for not beating the “big boys”. This year we are complaining we didn’t beat them enough or those programs are down. I’ve been a disappointed IU fan for 50 years. I’m loving this. Our team is light years ahead of what we’ve been used to watching. I’m enjoying finally see us mentioned on gameday and not being an afterthought on the big ten network highlight shows. How bad is it that we have to complain about our kickoff coverage team in a shutout win. Bring on OSU. We might not win, but this team isn’t scared and will fight to the end. Go hoosiers!!!!

  16. “Play Tuttle” v. “Keep Penix” = philosophical difference. Each argument has its virtures. I played my HS ball forty years ago, too, and our squad didn’t have a lot of games (understatement) where we we had a big lead, But in the few we did, starters stayed in. Being a sometimes-starter, I sure wanted the subs to get more time. But one thing I noticed was that on those rare occasions when we did have a big lead, the starters stayed in, and the coaches kept calling plays that were definitely not clicking. Sometimes the same call three times in a row and then punt. I realized they were working on the next game or the rest of the season. And I think that was what the IUFB staff was doing v. MSU at the end. IU was not running the ball to protect Penix. IU was trying to run the ball because it has trouble running.

    1. Yup agreed. Would have loved to have seen Tuttle but when are you going to have an opportunity to go live reps without risk of losing before o$u?

  17. It turns out that IU is 4-0 and looks to have played it’s easy part of 2020 schedule. Now, IU will face the toughest part of schedule the next 4 games.
    Is it going to be
    4-4
    5-3
    6-2
    7-1
    8-0
    (Maryland might be easiest due to covid19 cases with Purdue second easiest game)
    (Ohio State and Wisky will be equally the two toughest games)

    1. Michigan and Penn State now viewed as the “easy part” of our 2020 schedule? It does appear everyone playing Michigan and Penn State are breaking through.

      Ironic how the two teams used to playing with the lowest fan support throughout the years (Northwestern and Indiana) are atop each division.
      It’s a Big10 Poseidon Adventure …..and the pandemic was the tidal wave. Peyton Ramsey will play the part of Shelley Winters (big arms and nasty “winters” in Chicago) and Michael Penix will take the role of Gene Hackman (“Hoosiers” connection) . To the top we go out the bottom! Or is it to the bottom we go to be on top? Jordy Hulls will make a guest appearance.

      Others may simply explain this BigTen season as the toilet backing up.

  18. Scoop Thread: No. 17 IU improves to 2-0 with 37-21 win at Rutgers
    October 31, 2020

    V13 says:
    October 31, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    I do have to ask why we don’t get James and Tuttle in during the last seven minutes to finish the game. How are ever going to get experienced players to step in when needed. The defense and WR get more players involved; it would be a shame if we needed James or Tuttle and their only experience comes when they are called on to replace Penix and Scott if needed.

    Live reps, V. Live reps. …..and cue cards.

  19. The fact is as it plays out IU has beat 4 not good to bad football teams. These 4 wins are over teams that are in team and coaching disarray. However, IU did win those games making IU a good football team and in some of their play looked good doing it. Thus far IU has been able to handle pandemic situation. Coaching and team shows upswing in play and enthusiasm.
    Yesterday, the running game was awful. IU will find that Penix and the pass game has now been scouted with a couple power house teams on the schedule. Then, Purdue will be a tough challenge. Last year IU had trouble handling Maryland speed though IU won game and should better handle Maryland this year.
    Offensive Line play against Michigan State will make for a 6-2, 5-3, 4-4 season unless IU offensive line turns things around quickly.

  20. Yes, IU was running clock and trying to practice on run game when game was in control. Defense pitched a shutout plus gave offense excellent field position that offense didn’t capitalize on.

  21. I, too, would have liked to have seen Tuttle get some snaps yesterday. Don’t know why TA didn’t make that happen. I don’t believe OSU has given their backup QB any reps whatsoever. They play Fields every play. Granted, they’re touting him as a Heisman Trophy winner. I’m just saying. I am concerned with IU’s running game. When Stevie Scott is decisive he runs well. When he is looking for a hole he moves way too slow. I like what I see in Sampson James & Tim Baldwin’s play was encouraging. Is IU a great football team, no they’re not. They’re good & they’re getting better. The OL MUST improve. Any other time that IU was 4-0 in BigTen play we would have been happy. Let’s be happy now. I’m not satisfied in IU’s play to date, but I see potential. Turns out PSU, Michigan & MSU are having uncharacteristic seasons. That’s not Indiana’s fault. When we played them both were top 25 ranked teams. So, let’s play them one at a time and be opportunistic when possible. I agree that IU has a VERY good defense. Go Indiana!!

  22. For his size never have thought of Scott as a power runner. He has below average speed, no lateral quickness, average vision and mediocre hands. He simply has been the best on hand. Too many times a single tackler stops his forward progress, he easily gets turned sideways or turned backwards completely. When going down only about 20% of the the time is he leaning forward. He’s not as effective as Devine Redding was. Jury still out on SJ but he has a little more wiggle. Everyone praises Coach Hart but the rushing attack results come from his room. Also anybody ever notice the OL never takes a 3 point stance. That’s an advantage for pass blocking. A detriment to rushing. So maybe running the ball is not a high priority for the offense. Maybe there’s a secret plan for Ellis and Baldwin. Lots of responsibility being put on MP’S arm strength and quick release.

    1. I believe we were almost exactly 50-50 in our run/pass split yesterday. There are very clear reasons for that, as we’ve discussed previously.

      Agree with you on SS. Great kid, big kid, but there’s a reason everyone, including IU, recruited him as an LB. SJ is a between the tackles kid, too. Neither have the twitch to get to the edge, which is why don’t put them in those situations. It’s a decent group, but it’s not difference making by any means. Most of our offensive skill isn’t, however.

      1. Yes run/pass split is not disparaging toward the rush attack but it’s for sure big plays have to come from MP’s arm. Couple of end sweeps by an RB with quick feet makes a difference. Imagine a little more playbook shows in the Buckeye. Do like the execution the O is perfecting.

          1. You also need tackles and TEs who can seal the edge if you want to execute it. Where are those guys suddenly going to come from?

          2. Thought I made that impossibility obvious. Guess not. That’s why in the previous post I mentioned Ellis and Baldwin.

  23. Man, some of you are just miserable. Pure misery. NOTHING that happens with our sports teams can keep you from complaining and just being outright miserable. If Indiana wins the the BCS Championship, “Uh, duuuuh, well, they did it in a Covid year, so it doesn’t….er….count or something.”

    Indiana is 4 – 0 and ranked #9 as of this moment.

    Complain. Fight. Create friction.

    Can’t even come here to enjoy it for what it is. I know many of you are happy, but our resident knuckleheads keep salting the earth. Good heavens.

  24. Excellent point DD. Yes, even if IU would win the BCS Championship they would do it in a Covid year. Factual reality and keeping perspective.

  25. DD, I get your point, but I don’t see the comments you reference as coming from people who are miserable. They’re just sharing their observations. By definition, if you’re not happy with IU’s FB season so far, you’re not really a fan. But you can be very happy with how things are going and still acknowledge the things that I need to be improved….. so that they continue to go well. Monday-morning quarterbacking is completely normal. I see such comments as a part of a fan’s renewed hope and desire that this does not come to an end any time soon, like it has so many times in the past.

    I think we all know that IU’s O-line needs to get better. Overall, they’re doing O.K.,; good in pass protection but below average in run blocking. Penix and his receivers have done an excellent job, and Penix is a star in the making. As for the running backs, their performance is mostly a function of the O-line’s blocking. As the O-line gets better, so will the running backs. Scott does great in goal-line situations, and neither of our two starters fumbles the ball.

    IU’s defense is simply outstanding, and they’re punching above their weight. They tackle well, swarm to the ball, and the DBs do a great job in coverage. The defense gets “take-aways” in the form of both INTs and fumble recoveries. I can’t say enough about how impressive they have been through four games.

    Special teams has also been very good. My blood pressure still spikes when the opposing team is likely to do an onside kick, but otherwise they’ve given us little to complain about. We certainly have a good FG kicker!

    Whatever flaws this IU team has will be exposed during Saturday’s game against OSU. I don’t think it is unreasonable to predict that more than half of OSU’s starting lineup will play in the NFL some day. OSU is loaded with talent, and they’re very well coached. IU is playing for the Big Ten Championship; OSU is playing for the National Championship.

  26. One thing that looked promising was the play of Haggard’s at LT. He didn’t give up any sacks nor any pressures I could see. He showed very good feet and body position, I haven’t broken down how he did on run blocking [I couldn’t really watch the second half again]. Based on performance Jones may have a challenge for his spot.

    Haggard looks like the real deal at least in the MSU game. I hope Benson looks as good next year when he returns from injury; if so next year should have some very good OL men on it.

    1. Haggard got beat several times early, with one requiring Whop to help. Unfortunately, WP went low while Haggard was engaged, resulting in a 15 yard penalty for a chop block. After that, he was better, and we gave him some help. He didn’t have enough time in the strength program to get some weight, but that probably benefitted him in pass pro. They’ll have a hard time running over him, and they won’t unless unless he gets a tight end to his left. He’s just not big enough or strong enough yet. Hope he can stay healthy.

  27. Yes, early on Haggard had some trouble but as he adjusted to the speed of the game, I saw him handle DEs one on one in pass blocking. He does need to gain more strength and weight but his footwork gives him a good shot at being very good next year and maybe yet this year. I don’t see him as a solid run blocker yet but with more strength and weight he can develop by next year.

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