Updated: Sep 23, 2019
(Bloomington) Indiana talked about "flushing" last week's 51-10 loss to Ohio State and did pretty much that today rolling up 430 yards of offense with a very basic, but very consistent and almost balanced attack. Peyton Ramsey, filling in for the injured Michael Penix again this week, threw for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns while Stevie Scott had 97 yards on 21 carries. The Hoosiers had 5 offensive scoring drives in the game that were between 68 and 90 yards per drive for an average of 10 plays and 75 yards per scoring drive. The only caveat to that would be that there were no quote "big plays" offensively. Ramsey said "It was kind of a point of emphasis this week in practice to be crisp and sharp, kind of go out there and take what they give us, be balanced as possible running and throwing and I think we did a good job of that today."
(Peyton Ramsey/Indiana Sports Beat)
Throwing the ball has not been a problem for the Hoosiers this season no matter who is at QB. Minus the Ohio State game, Ramsey has been a model of consistency, albeit mostly on controlled throwing situations and short passes. Tom Allen said "Peyton was extremely accurate, and that's what he does really, really well. So you've gotta play to his strength."
(Tom Allen/Indiana Sports Beat)
And the Hoosiers definitely played to that strength today as Ramsey was 23 of 27, hitting 9 different receivers. Ty Fryfogle and Peyton Hendershot caught 5 balls each while Whop Philyor had 4 catches. While the deep threats Nick Westbrook and Donovan Hale only combined for 3 catches, they were usually important plays. Hale's lone reception went for 25 yards as he waited alone in the UConn secondary and Westbrook got into the end zone for the second time this season with a 16 yard catch and run touchdown. The 5th year senior wide receiver said "We got a rhythm and that's when we're good, you know." We just felt like at any third down moment we were going to convert and we didn't feel we were in too tough a situation."
(Nick Westbrook/Indiana Sports Beat)
Defensively Indiana was pretty stingy today. If it hadn't been for a 1st quarter fumble by Peyton Hendershot that allowed UConn to get within field goal range, the Hoosiers would have had their second shutout of the season. The Huskies only managed 15 yards after getting possession of the ball at the IU 38. But it was close enough for a Clayton Harris 41 yarder to put the only 3 points on the board the Huskies could manage. Overall the Hoosiers kept UConn to a total of 145 yards on the day off of 52 plays. The Huskies only managed 51 yards rushing. That's 2.7 yards per play. Not too shabby. Indiana also got back in the take-away game in a big way in the 3rd quarter when IU linebacker Cam Jones picked off a Jack Zergiotis pass and took it 44 yards to the house to make the score 24-3 in the Hoosier's favor. It was the first pick six for the Hoosiers since Jonathon Crawford did the deed against Florida International last September. That was big for a defense who prides itself on takeaways so much that the Hoosiers had the longest streak in the country, stretching 19 straight games, but that streak ended against Eastern Illinois in the 2nd game of the season. After the game Jones said "It builds momentum for our defense and it also pumps up our offense and let's them know we got their back and they got our back."
(Cam Jones/Indiana Sports Beat)
The stakes pick up next week as the Hoosiers travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State. The Spartans bounced back from a defeat as well this week, beating Northwestern 31-10 on the road today in Evanston. That might mean that Sparty has worked out of it's offensive woes that were on full display in last week's 10-7 home loss to Arizona State. This will be Indiana's first true road game of the season and the Hoosiers will need to be as close to full strength as possible. Indiana will already be without offensive line anchor and team captain Coy Cronk, who went down with an undisclosed injury and was carted off the field early in today's contest. The entire team went onto the field to console the senior leader.
One guy they will hopefully return and one the Hoosiers definitely will need back is starting quarterback Michael Penix. They will need Penix's ability to stretch the defense if they are to have any chance at winning that game. Michigan State has one of the better defenses Indiana will face this season and they excel at stopping the run, something that hasn't taken much against Indiana this season. But for the next 24 hours the Hoosiers can celebrate the 38-3 win over UConn as the victory flag waves over Memorial Stadium.
(Memorial Stadium/Indiana Sports Beat)