Rapid Reaction: Indiana's offense steamrolls Northwestern, improves to 7-2
Final score: Indiana 34 Northwestern 3
Brief recap: After opening the season with a gauntlet of a schedule, Saturday’s game against Indiana felt like one Northwestern might be able to get something going. The Hoosiers shut down those hopes pretty quickly. By the time the first quarter concluded, Indiana owned a 10-0 lead. Northwestern was able to knock down a field goal in the second quarter to put the game back within a possession, but Michael Penix’s big arm helped the Hoosiers march down the field on consecutive possessions to take a 24-3 lead into the break. Though Penix took a seat in the second half, Indiana had no trouble adding a little insurance and scoring 10 additional points to secure the win. The IU defense was stellar all night, forcing three turnovers and holding the Wildcats to 197 total yards.
Key moment: Northwestern closed the gap to 10-3 and forced Indiana to punt in the second quarter. But on the first play of the drive, Drake Anderson fumbled the ball, resulting in an Indiana recovery. Four plays later, the Hoosiers crossed the goal line on a 1-yard run from Penix to make the score 173.
Key stat: Aidan Smith and Hunter Johnson completed 12-of-31 pass attempts. That’s not good.
Key player: Stevie Scott ran with some serious force from the opening kickoff in this one. The sophomore back rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. he also caught one pass for 20 yards and a touchdown in the win.
What it means for Northwestern: The offense seems to get worse and worse each week. The passing game isn’t working, the running game isn’t working, turnovers and penalties have been killers. This really has been a head-scratching season for the Wildcats on the offensive side of the football. There’s a very real possibility Northwestern fails to win a single B1G game a year after winning the West.
What it means for Indiana: For the first time since 2007, the Hoosiers are guaranteed to end the season with a winning record. Tom Allen’s bunch is now 7-2 on the year with games against Penn State, Michigan and Purdue remaining. And as the wins continue to pile up, the bowl destination only gets better. Who knows, perhaps this IU team snaps its 25-year skid of being unranked this year.