Brown Sam

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Will Indiana win another game this season?

The Hoosiers (3-5, 1-4 B1G) got out to an excellent start, but the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-3, 1-3 B1G) scored 24 unanswered on Homecoming Day to ultimately beat IU, 24-17.

Prior to the game, TE AJ Barner and CB Jaylin Williams, who missed last week’s contest, dressed out for the game and started. RG Kahlil Benson and RT Joshua Sales also drew starts for IU, as OL coach Rod Carey continues to evaluate the players up front.

For the first time this season, Rutgers had all three quarterbacks healthy. Noah Vedral was named the starting quarterback, and Vedral ended up taking every snap during Saturday’s affair.

Indiana got off to a flying start.

Jaylin Lucas returned the opening kickoff 93 yards to the house, giving IU a quick 7-0 advantage. It was the true freshman speedster’s first career touchdown.

IU’s defense forced a quick stop, and the offense played complementary football. QB Connor Bazelak drove the team down the field with quick, accurate passes to a variety of Hoosier receivers. Bazelak went 7-for-7 on the drive, and opted to keep the ball on an option, running it in from seven yards. IU led 14-0.

Rutgers responded after IU’s excellent first quarter. WR Sean Ryan hauled in an impressive touchdown reception at the back pylon. There was some question if Ryan had full control of the ball, but the officials did not review the play. Ryan’s on his third school, after attending Temple and West Virginia, and had nine catches this season coming into the game, yet had three on that drive.

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Just before halftime, Indiana’s star WR Cam Camper suffered a lower-body injury that removed him from the game. DB Bryant Fitzgerald also exited the game in the first quarter. IU was already without star LB Cam Jones.

Indiana’s offense imploded after the intermission. Bazelak, who started 10-of-10, missed 10 of his next 15 attempts. IU cobbled together -2 yards on six third quarter plays. Meanwhile, the Scarlet Knights would leapfrog in front.

A 49-yard field goal from Jude McAtamney, which tied a career-high, brought Rutgers to within 14-10, and after an IU punt, RB Samuel Brown IV powered the ball into the end zone from two yards. Brown had an eye-popping 28 carries, the most by any Rutgers running back since they joined the Big Ten.

Indiana’s best chance to tie the game came after a 56-yard missed FG by McAtamney. Bazelak found Javon Swinton for nine yards, then gained 15 yards via defensive pass interference, but a holding penalty on IU pushed them back. Charlie Campbell’s kick had a low trajectory and missed the mark.

The dagger on Saturday came from a Bazelak interception that resulted in a Rutgers pick-six. He was under serious pressure after Sales missed his block, but Bazelak missed the spot on his throw-away. The ball harmlessly landed in the hands of DB Christian Brasswell, who did the rest from 12 yards.

Indiana’s best second half drive was the last one of the game, as they drove into the red zone before a sack led to a 39-yard FG from Campbell. Rutgers recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the deal.

What’s Next?

Indiana has a bye week next week, before facing Penn St. on November 5. Time and TV are yet to be announced. Penn St. is currently ranked No. 16 in the country, per the AP poll. The Hoosiers fell to Penn St. last season in Happy Valley, 24-0. Penn St. has a home game vs. Minnesota tonight at 7:30 ET on ABC.

Photo by Vincent Carchietta / USA TODAY Sports

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