Before we move on to look at Penn State, let’s take a look back at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from Indiana’s 34-10 loss at Michigan.
The Good (Safety Play, Effort, Kick Returns)- I had to dig a little deeper to find some things Indiana did well on Saturday, but there were things to be found. Indiana’s defense played relatively well. 14 points were given up on short fields created by turnovers, but other than that it looks as if this squad is head and shoulders above last year’s debacle. The standouts on the defense Saturday were their safeties. Senior Mark Murphy led the team in tackles with seven followed closely by sophomore Antonio Allen who had six. Freshman Chase Dutra added three tackles and an interception. The play of IU’s safeties this past week has been encouraging for the future. I also thought the effort of this team was pretty good as well. It would have been easy to pack it in after falling behind 17-0, but this team did not quit. That is a good sign for the program considering what it has been through in the last couple of months. Finally, I would like to talk about the IU return game. It looked as if Shane Wynn and J-Shun Harris have found some holes on the kick return team. A good return game has become that much more important now that the offense is in the hands of freshman Zander Diamont.
The Bad (ball security, Wild Cat, Kicking Game)- The Hoosiers cannot afford to give teams the ball on short fields because of fumbles and it seems as if no one on this team is immune to the drops. Tevin Coleman fumbled the ball twice, losing one, early in the first quarter that resulted in his being benched. Indiana broke out the “wild cat” formation last week and it was less than pretty. Most of the “wild cat” plays went for little to no gain, the lone big run was a Coleman burst for 17 yards. Couple that with the reluctance of Coleman to throw the ball and its not a great gimmick. Special teams can be a great equalizer for teams that are less talented or have an obvious deficiency on one side of the ball. IU’s special teams really hurt them on Saturday with Griffin Oakes hitting the upright on a short field goal and the teams’ lack of ability to flip the field.
The Ugly (Passing Game, Offense)- Obviously these are not the Hoosiers of 2013, and the 191 total yards put up on Saturday made that quite clear. Indiana’s offense has hit the skids after quarterback Nate Sudfeld went down three weeks ago at Iowa, but there is too much talent on the field to think that 191 yards is acceptable. True freshman Zander Diamont has just 35 yards passing in two games and really has done nothing to show that he will ever be an impact player for the Hoosiers in the future. He carries the ball like a loaf of bread and is so amped up that he cannot complete passes. Wilson claims he has had good practices and that adjusting to game speed has been really difficult. The offense has become too one-dimensional and Tevin Coleman just has not had that burst he showed through the first seven contests.
*Section Photo credit to USA Today Sports; Featured Photo (above) credit to Scout