Rapid Reaction: Hoosiers get past FIU
Final: Indiana 36, Florida International 22
Telling stat: 3 FIU turnovers
The Panthers were in position to stun its second straight opponent on the road, but turnovers proved costly. Nick Mangieri forced some key fumbles that led to the Hoosiers taking over on downs and more importantly, they took the early momentum away from the FIU offense. FIU couldn’t afford to give the IU offense short fields, but that’s exactly what it did.
Key play: Pick-six Jameel Cook
FIU was threatening to tie the game with a late touchdown but Marcus Oliver delivered the blow to Alex McGough. Cook returned the floating pass 96 yards for a touchdown to put the game on ice, and once again allow IU to escape against a far less talented team at home. Once again, it shouldn’t have been that close.
-IU struggling in secondary
The Indiana secondary did not have the best night. We knew that with Antonio Allen, this young group was going to be exposed, but maybe we didn’t realize how grim it would look at times. Rashard Fant was burned deep a few different times, which resulted in pass interference penalties that set up FIU scores. IU is in a division loaded with quarterbacks. Far too often in non-conference play, they haven’t looked up to the part. If they can’t figure out ways to either generate more pressure, it might be another rough season for the Hoosiers defending the pass.
-Nate Sudfeld’s two TD runs
Of all the stats you’d thought you see from the IU quarterback, that probably wasn’t one of them. But Sudfeld was able to use workhorse Jordan Howard — who had another 100-yard game — as a decoy and scamper into the end zone for key touchdowns. Sudfeld had two rushing touchdowns all of last year, so I wouldn’t look too far into Saturday’s outburst. But at the very least, maybe it’ll freeze a defender or two before they sell out on Howard in the red zone.
What it means: IU is somehow 2-0
It’s somewhat hard to believe that after all the issues the Hoosiers have had in the first week, they sit at 2-0. For the Hoosiers to go bowling, they can’t continue to struggle so much in defending the passing game. But consider this. That’s IU’s first two-game winning streak since 2012. The results are the only thing that matters for Kevin Wilson in his pivotal fifth year in Bloomington. By the skin of his chinny, chin, chin, he’s getting them.
What’s next: vs. Western Kentucky
So remember how I’ve been saying all of those things about IU’s secondary. If that group doesn’t show up against Western Kentucky, Brandon Doughty will throw for 700 yards. I’m not joking.