The Indiana Hoosiers (3-7, 0-6) clinched another losing season despite a record day from running back Tevin Coleman in a 45-23 loss to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-4, 2-4). The Hoosiers wasted a career high 307 yards rushing performance by Coleman. The Hoosiers started the game with a gutsy onside kick call that resulted in a Griffin Oakes 48-yard field goal.
Rutgers tied the game at three with 3:12 left in the first quarter and took a 10-3 lead on freshman Robert Martin’s 2-yard run with 6:12 left in the half. The last thirty seconds of the first half provided more fireworks than the first 29:30, as Tevin Coleman broke loose for a 67-yard touchdown to put the Hoosiers up 13-0. Janarion Grant of the Scarlet Knights then took the ensuing kickoff 71 yards down to the Hoosier 29-yard line. Rutgers’ kicker Kyle Federico ended up hitting the cross bar on a 46-yard field goal attempt.
Indiana received the second half kick and Coleman nearly went for another touchdown as he scampered 68 yards down the sideline to the Rutgers five. The Hoosiers could not punch it in from there and had to settle for a 28-yard Oakes field goal to push the score to 16-10. Rutgers would grab the lead back on their next drive going 80 yards in six plays capped off by a 47-yard run by Martin. After a three-and-out by the Indiana offense, Rutgers increased their lead to 24-16 when quarterback Gary Nova found Leonte Carroo for the first of his two scores on the day. The Scarlet Knights would take advantage of a fumbled fake punt by Erich Toth and score on a nine-yard Josh Hicks run.
The Hoosiers trailed 31-16 heading into the fourth quarter, but got right back in the game when quarterback Zander Diamont found Shane Wynn wide open in the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown. It was Diamont’s first career touchdown pass and the Hoosiers’ first passing score since October 11 against Iowa. From there the wheels feel off for Indiana. The Hoosiers had just received the ball at their own 41-yard line down one score when Tevin Coleman carries the ball six yards, but after the play true freshman tight end Jordan Fuchs, a one-time Rutgers commit, was called for a personal foul. This killed any and all momentum Indiana had as Diamont was sacked two plays later and IU punted back to Rutgers, who scored on a 56-yard pass from Nova to Carroo to go back up two scores.
The Hoosiers needed to win out in order to become bowl eligible. This was a good matchup game for them against a team that was not as stout on defense. For the Scarlet Knights, they were seeking the ever-important sixth win to become bowl eligible for the ninth time in 10 years.
Rutgers would cap off the scoring with another short run by Martin to make it 45-23.
Top Offensive Performers:
Indiana- Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana- The junior had a career day running for 307 yards and setting the High Point Solutions Stadium record for rushing for an opponent. He did his damage on a career-high 32 attempts, good for a 9.6-yard average. Coleman put the Hoosiers in front with a 67-yard run just before halftime.
Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers- He only had five receptions, but he made the most of them as he took two of them to the end zone and racked up 125 yards. He may be the most underrated receiver in the Big Ten.
Robert Martin, RB, Rutgers- The freshman running back made his mark on the game rushing 11 times for 83 yards and three scores.
Top Defensive Performers
TJ Simmons, LB, Indiana- Simmons led the Hoosiers in tackles with seven including one for a loss. He also forced a fumble. Simmons has been more aggressive in second year with the Hoosiers.
Nate Hoff, DT, Indiana- The redshirt freshman is having an outstanding season along the defensive line. Hoff recorded three total tackles, two of them coming for a loss. His play has allowed the Hoosiers to rotate more along the defensive front.
Lorenzo Waters, Safety, Rutgers- The senior was an impact player Saturday as he totaled 11 tackles and an interception which he returned 19 yards. He was part of a very physical secondary that caused a lot of issues for the Indiana receivers.
Steve Longa, LB, Rutgers- Another outstanding performance for the Scarlet Knights. Longa had 10 tackles and recovered a fumble.
Special Team Performance:
Indiana does not have a game breaker on special teams and it is absolutely killing them when it comes to the battle in field position. The Hoosiers netted just 32.7 yards per punt, did not have a punt inside the 20-yard line, turned the ball over on a fake punt and only had 13 return yards on punts. That will just not cut it for an offense that needs the ball as far down field as it can get it. The kickoff return game was not any better as J-Shun Harris nearly broke one for a score, but only averaged 19.5 yards and allowed a whopping 41.5 yards. Griffin Oakes was ok with two field goals, but he missed one in the first half that would have given the Hoosiers a lead late in the first quarter. On a positive note the Hoosiers did execute a successful onside kick to open the game up.
The Hoosiers once again fell victim to self-inflicted wounds. They committed nine penalties for 82 yards, none more costly than a 15-yard personal foul on tight end Jordan Fuchs. The Hoosiers also turned the ball over three times which led to 14 Scarlet Knight points. Add in the dropped passes and the Hoosiers really should have been right in this game until the end.
Players of the Game
Indiana– Tevin Coleman, Running Back
If you told me yesterday that Coleman would run for 307 yards, I would have told you that Indiana would win. That was not the case, but nonetheless it was a career day for the junior tailback. He rushed for the whopping 307 total on 32 carries and found the end zone on a 67-yard run to give the Hoosiers a 13-10 lead right before halftime.
Rutgers- Leonte Carroo, Wide Receiver
Carroo, a fan favorite at Rutgers, burned the Hoosiers on two long pass plays that went for touchdowns. He caught five balls for 125 yards with a long of 52 yards.
*Photo credits to Chris Howell, Herald Times