BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — It’s not a great sign for Tom Allen when Rutgers looks like a Big Ten East powerhouse, on the same level as Michigan, Ohio St., and Penn St. That’s exactly what took place on Saturday.
The Indiana Hoosiers (2-5, 0-4 B1G) celebrated their Homecoming this week but fell short on Saturday against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-2, 3-2 B1G).
Indiana’s offense started with the ball and was led by QB Brendan Sorsby, his first start since the season opener against Ohio State. The Hoosiers opened with a strong drive, ending in a 35-yard touchdown pass to Omar Cooper Jr. In an ominous sign, Cooper never caught a ball the rest of the game.
The Scarlet Knights answered with a 75-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 7. QB Gavin Wimsatt rushed for a 1-yard touchdown after an eight-minute long drive, which featured 13 runs and only two passes. That set the tone for the Rutgers offense the rest of the day.
Early in the second quarter, Rutgers DB Shaquan Loyal blocked an Indiana punt which was recovered and returned for a touchdown by DB Eric Rogers. The mistakes would pile on for the Hoosiers all afternoon, indicative of a team on a losing streak of double-digit defeats.
Both teams struggled to generate much offense in the second quarter, resulting in a combined three punts failed Rutgers 4th down conversion. The Hoosiers eventually found some rhythm, driving 59 yards, with some assistance from a Rutgers 15-yard penalty and explosive runs from Trent Howland and Jaylin Lucas. Sorsby would punctuate the drive with a 4-yard rushing score.
IU special teams continued to struggle as late in the second quarter. Another critical Hoosier mistake, a muffed punt from Lucas, set Rutgers up on the Indiana 20-yard line. The Scarlet Knights closed out the half with a field goal to give themselves a 17-14 lead.
The Rutgers started the second half with another long touchdown drive, clocking in at just over six minutes. Wimsatt ran for his second score of the day, giving the Knights a 24-14 lead, a two-possession advantage they would never relinquish.
The Hoosiers struggled to make much happen the rest of the way. They didn’t score in the second half. Sorsby and crew went three and out to open the half and later ended a four-minute drive with another punt. James Evans had a very strong today outside of the block, averaging 54 yards on four boots.
Rutgers refused to take its foot off the gas and scored early in the fourth quarter. Wimsatt delivered the dagger with 13:11, finding a crease and taking off for an 80-yard touchdown to put the Knights up 31-14. IU’s defense has struggled all year containing the QB run, from DJ Irons in the Akron game up to and including Wimsatt on Rutgers. Wimsatt had 219 rushing yards all season before Saturday. He had 143 in Bloomington alone.
Indiana kept pushing to score but could not get within striking distance. The Hoosiers turned the ball over on downs midway through the fourth quarter. Rutgers continued to lean on their run game on their next drive, draining the clock and effectively ending the game. Time of possession played a significant role in helping Rutgers seal the win, as they held the ball for 38 minutes to IU’s 22.
Both the Hoosiers and Scarlet Knights were called for targeting during the contest, although no bad blood surfaced between the teams. Indiana DB Louis Moore and Rutgers LB Jamier Wright-Collins were disqualified at different points in the game. Moore has made big plays all year for the Hoosiers, and with his targeting infraction occurring in the first half, he will be available for IU’s next game.
Indiana will head to Penn St. for a noon ET kickoff on CBS. The Nittany Lions have outscored Indiana 69-14 since the Hoosiers’ unforgettable victory over them in 2020.
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