Rapid reaction: IU outshoots WKU
Final: Indiana 38, Western Kentucky 35
Telling stat: IU’s 639 yards of offense
I’ll be the first to admit. I was expecting Brandon Doughty to win this shootout. After he threw for 352 FIRST-HALF YARDS, that prediction was looking pretty good. But Nate Sudfeld fired back in a big way. Some young Indiana receivers grew up Ricky Jones and Simmie Cobbs Jr. were impressive and looked like the go-to targets Sudfeld has needed. Also worth mentioning? Sudfeld hit a season-high nine different receivers. Share the love, indeed.
Key play: Jonathan Crawford’s first interception
Western Kentucky was in jeopardy of taking a two-score lead driving deep into Indiana territory. But Crawford stepped up and got IU the turnover it so desperately needed. That sparked a 97-yard touchdown drive that gave the Hoosiers the lead that they never surrendered. Jameel Cook made the big play last week and Crawford’s two interceptions were huge this week.
-Jordan Howard is still in beast mode
I expected the passing to tell the story in this one, which it definitely still did. But how about Howard? He ripped off his first 200-yard game in an IU uniform. And go figure, IU ran the ball 59 times. Howard is going to make his presence felt every week for this team. It’s tough to say whether or not he’ll get 31 carries, but if he keeps wearing defenses down, it’s going to be impossible for Kevin Wilson to fall in love with the passing game.
-Doughty held to 132 second-half yards
Remember when Doughty threw for 352 FIRST-HALF YARDS?? Credit the IU defense for once again stepping up in the second half. It’s been bend-don’t-break, to say the least. Still, IU held the nation’s top returning passer to seven second-half points. The Hilltoppers didn’t help themselves in the running game, either. Crawford’s two interception day helped IU lock up a victory it desperately needed.
What it means: Bowling is still possible
IU has fallen victim to a non-conference loss in each year of the Wilson era. Saturday had all the makings for another letdown. Instead, the Hoosier offense showed how talented it is. It’s hard to believe that IU is 3-0, considering the tense moments its fans have been through in every game. But heading into a road tilt at Wake Forest, this is a scary team for any defense to prepare for.