BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – After the bye week, Indiana looked refreshed and rejuvenated, thumping Rutgers 35-0 on Homecoming at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. The Hoosiers (4-2, 1-2 B1G) dominated all facets of the game against the Scarlet Knights (1-5, 0-3 B1G), recording their fourth shutout under head coach Tom Allen. For reference, only on other Big Ten team, Wisconsin, has had as many since 2017, and IU had zero shutouts from 1994-2016. Below, see what we learned from IU’s blowout win.
Rutgers Had One Passing Yard…Seriously
In a performance that would have insulted even the most Neanderthal offensive coordinators, Rutgers accumulated one measly passing yard on the afternoon. As a note, that total does not include yardage lost to sacks. One passing yard represents the lowest output by any FBS school in 2019. Yes, even teams that run the triple option, such as Navy or Air Force, have found ways to put up more on the board.
QB Johnny Langan faced pressure all afternoon, and even when he had time, he could not find open receivers. Potentially, DL DeMarcus Elliott sacking Langan on the first play of the game, resulting in a Reakwon Jones touchdown, rattled the freshman QB. Still, one passing yard will be hard to top (or bottom?) by anyone the rest of the season.
Whop Philyor Has Emerged as IU’s Best Receiver
After an electrifying 14-catch, 142-yard, 2 TD performance at MSU, Whop Philyor continued his dynamic ways against the Scarlet Knights. On the very first offensive play of the game, with IU, Philyor took a pass in the flat from QB Michael Penix, made a man miss, and took off down the sideline for 56 yards.
Rutgers had no answer for him all day. Philyor finished with 10 catches and 182 yards. Prior to this season, no Hoosier had ever recorded more than two games of 10+ receptions; Philyor had his 3rd such game at MSU, and expanded upon his school record today. Philyor commented on his undeniable chemistry with Penix: “We just play games a lot together. We play Fortnite and (NBA) 2K together. We trust each other.” Their bond has made a large difference this season.
IU’s Running Game Found Some Room
For the first time this season, IU cleared the way for RB Stevie Scott, who registered 164 yards on just 12 carries. After six 100+ yard games last season in his freshman year, Scott topped the century mark for the first time in 2019. Also, Scott unleashed a big 57-yard run early in the 3rd quarter; his longest carry of the season entering Saturday’s game went for just 19 yards. “He’s growing in his confidence,” Allen said of Scott after the game.
Even with Coy Cronk out for the season and senior center Hunter Littlejohn exiting the game with an injury before halftime, IU amassed 260 yards and 6.8 yards per carry against the Scarlet Knights. Freshman David Ellis, who played at receiver and kick returner all season, recorded seven carries of his own. Another freshman, Sampson James, ran it seven times for 36 yards and found the end zone. Unquestionably, IU will have to keep succeeding at running the ball entering the key stretch of their season.
Littlejohn, Penix, and Philyor Injury Scares
As discussed in our Indiana/Rutgers scouting report, a key to this game centered around IU not only taking care of business, but also coming out of this game injury-free. IU did so, but not without a few lump-in-the-throat moments along the way. The biggest concern came late in the 2nd quarter; on a big pass play from Penix to Philyor, Littlejohn fell to the turf in the end zone. He walked off with the assistance of IU’s trainers.
We gave the game ball to our offensive line. Hunter (Littlejohn) went down, but he’ll be fine.”IU head coach Tom Allen after the game
Also in the second quarter, Philyor went to the locker room briefly with a back issue. “It was just a little scare. In football, you’re going to get scares like that on a lot of things. I’m good now,” Philyor said after the game. Later in the game, the BTN cameras caught Penix limping a little after a 3rd quarter drive. Peyton Ramsey relieved him late in the 3rd quarter, but Penix spoke to reporters after the game, and did not seem affected physically.
IU Owned 3rd Down
On the most meaningful down in the game, the Hoosiers succeeded on both sides of the ball against Rutgers. IU converted 6-of-12 chances, while the defense stopped Rutgers on every one of their 11 third down opportunities.
The biggest third down stop came early in the 1st quarter, when LB Cam Jones tripped up RB Aaron Young for just a four-yard gain on 3rd and 8. Young had an open field ahead of him, and may have scored if not for Jones’ play.
Postgame Videos of Tom Allen and Players
Featured Image: IndianaHQ