Behind a dominant offensive performance that came within three points of the highest scoring game in Indiana football history, the Hoosiers crushed the outmanned Indiana State Sycamores 73-35 before an announced Memorial Stadium crowd of 40, 278 in the opener for both schools on a warm and humid night in Bloomington.
IU head coach Kevin Wilson liked the execution, but cautioned that his squad needs to improve and refocus after week one. “Nice start, a little sloppy in some areas, a lot of things to hopefully build on. A lot of guys got to play, there was a lot of positive, there was a boatload of negatives. The old adage, it’s coach speak, but from Game 1 to 2 ( you get a lot better.) That’s exciting. We’ve got some stats that look cool. I’m sure when we watch the tape we’ll see (some things we can correct.). I thought the effort was outstanding. I thought our defensive effort, we got worked a couple of times, but it was significantly better. Our kicking game effort I thought was really good. I still think we’ve gotta keep bringing the run game along and some things on offense, but we’ve got some playmakers there, that’s evident. I think we’re a young team that has got a chance. A lot of guys back, a lot of good young players.”
The Hoosiers avoided a traditionally slow start, jumping out to a 45-7 lead with 38 straight points. A pair of sophomores, running back Tevin Coleman and quarterback Nate Sudfeld, led the way for IU. Coleman, who beat out presumptive starter Stephen Houston for the number one tailback spot, appeared in top form, using a mix of speed, quickness, and instincts to shred the Indiana State defense. Coleman carried for 169 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries with scoring runs of 34 and 20 yards.
Sudfeld relieved starter Tre Roberson after Roberson hurt his ribs, an injury that’s considered minor. Sudfeld looked sharp, albeit for an untimely throw he made that resulted in a pick six. Otherwise, he enjoyed a solid game, completing 12 of 17 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns.
The Hoosiers wide receiving corps was highlighted for being among the deepest and best in the conference, and glimpses of that were evident on Thursday. Speedy wide out Shane Wynn made the most of his two catches, racing for a pair of touchdowns. He also returned a punt 58 yards for a score. Fellow wide receiver Kofi Hughes grabbed three straight passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, senior tight end Ted Bolser, a Mackey Award watch list member, appeared strong and agile. Bolser caught caught six passes for 78 yards and scored twice.
Defensively, ISU running back Shakir Bell rushed for over 100 yards before leaving with a separated shoulder, although he was largely neutralized. Bell’s expected to be sidelined for two-three weeks.
The Sycamores strung a pair of early second half scores on the board to make it look somewhat respectable. ISU intercepted a Sudfled pass and the return resulted in a touchdown. The other Hoosier miscue came when return man Laray Smith bobled the kickoff, fumbled, and Indiana State recovered inside the five.
Defensively, freshman defensive end Nick Mangieri recorded 1.5 sacks, defensive tackle Adarius Rayner had a sack, and defensive end John Lahinen, defensive tackle Darius Latham and linebacker David Cooper recorded a half sack each. Cornerback Michael Hunter had an interception and cornerback Tim Bennett broke up three passes. In his debut, freshman linebacker T.J. Simmons recorded nine tackles,
The Hoosiers now have a couple extra days in preparation for next week’s home game against Navy. The Midshipmen stunned the Hoosiers in the final moments of last year’s matchup. Improvement, and how much, will be decided upon in the coming weeks.