Without Howard, Indiana storms back against Maryland to keep bowl hopes alive
Final: Indiana 47, Maryland 28
Key play: IU converts second-quarter onside kick
Kevin Wilson had no desire to give the ball back with the Indiana offense rolling. The Hoosiers recovered an onside kick at the start of the second quarter when they were trailing 21-17 after two straight touchdowns. Just a few plays later, Nate Sudfeld converted a quarterback sneak and gave IU the lead for good. Onside kicks are rare in the first half, but Wilson picked the perfect time to roll the dice.
Telling stat: Indiana scores on seven straight possessions
Who would’ve thought that when Jordan Howard went down, the IU offense would wake up? Arguably the best game of Sudfeld’s career finally came in a winning effort. The Hoosiers were dominant after that horrific 21-3 start and Sudfeld was a big part of that. He found Simmie Cobbs all afternoon and Mitchell Paige played the biggest game of his career. Griffin Oakes even nailed two field goals during a 27-0 IU run. Despite the fact that Maryland was still alive and well, it couldn’t recover after IU fought back.
-Yannick Ngakoue breaks Maryland single-season sacks record (13.5)
He only had one tackle on the day, but it did result in some history. The pass-rushing specialist earned a spot in the Maryland record books by setting the single-season sacks record. In stretches, Ngakoue has looked like one of the best defensive ends in the country. For as rough of a year as its been — and for as rough of a day as it was — Ngakoue has been a bright spot for the Terps. Unfortunately, they needed about five or six more sacks to change the outcome of Saturday’s game. It didn’t even matter that Brandon Ross went off for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Maryland couldn’t get defensive stops, and as a result, they couldn’t keep up with the Hoosiers.
-Jordan Howard leaves game in first quarter
Once again, Howard went down and didn’t come back. It’s somewhat amazing that the Hoosiers were able to score 47 points without the help of their stud tailback…and after falling behind by three scores. It wasn’t clear what exactly it was that sidelined Howard, but that was a troubling sign after he missed games in the middle of the season with an ankle injury. Wilson said after the game that it was a knee injury, but didn’t go into much detail on the severity of it. Luckily for the Hoosiers, they might not need him to beat Purdue.
What it means: IU’s bowl hopes are alive and well
Indiana earned its first B1G road win in three years to keep its postseason hopes alive. For Kevin Wilson, today’s win might’ve saved his job. Even though the rest of the world might not have viewed Saturday as a game with any implications, it certainly had plenty for the Hoosiers. Now, there will be a lot of juice going into the Bucket Game next week in West Lafayette. Considering IU lost six straight games to start conference play, a chance to play for a sixth win is about all it can ask for right now.