BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana’s offense needed to take a major step forward after Saturday’s season-opening loss to Ohio St. Their first three drives on Friday, all resulting in touchdowns, showed the progress that Indiana fans needed to see.
Playing in only one of two games involving an FBS team on Friday, the Indiana Hoosiers (1-1, 0-1 B1G) crushed the Indiana State Sycamores (0-2), 41-7, in each team’s second game of the season. Coming off of a one-sided defensive effort in their loss against OSU, IU found its rhythm on both sides of the ball to secure its first victory of the season.
The Hoosier defense had a lockdown beginning to the game, holding the Sycamores to one first down and 23 yards in the first quarter. The Sycamores were forced to punt on their first four drives and only tallied 84 all-purpose yards in the first half.
The Hoosier offense came out of the tunnel with urgency and powered into the end zone on each first quarter possession. Jaylin Lucas accounted for two of those touchdowns on nearly identical 25-yard rushes up the sideline.
Tayven Jackson, after numerous strong, accurate passes, ran into the end zone for a 10-yard score. Josh Henderson paved the way for the Hoosiers as he tallied 84 first-half yards. Indiana featured a dynamic, versatile attack, with Jackson commanding the offense.
Tom Allen tabbed Jackson to start the game for Indiana, and after a difficult day through the air vs. OSU, Jackson made several outstanding throws to carve up Indiana St.’s defense.
While Jackson and Lucas got the Hoosiers build a sizable early lead, the defense created even more havoc on the Sycamore offense. ISU QB Evan Olaes threw an interception to DB Nic Toomer midway through the second quarter on a 4th and 8. The Hoosiers took over, and that’s when IU made their most negative play of the game.
IU drove to the opposite 25-yard line when Lucas fumbled the ball. Maddix Blackwell, a Bloomington South alum, returned the fumble 75 yards for a touchdown to put ISU on the board.
The Hoosiers capped the first half off with a field goal which put them up 24-7. In the first half, Jackson converted 9-of-11 passes for 140 yards and a rushing score. Brendan Sorsby completed 7-of-11 for 84 yards.
Indiana went back to Jackson at quarterback to start the half, and the third quarter may have potentially helped Jackson win the permanent starting role. IU punted on its opening series, but then back-to-back touchdown drives, including a 13-play, 93-yard, six-minute possession, culminating in a Christian Turner one-yard score, made a major impression. Jackson was on the field during all five of Indiana’s touchdowns on the night.
An emerging threat on IU’s second-half scoring drives was redshirt freshman WR Omar Cooper Jr. The Lawrence North HS grad came into the game with zero career receptions, but after recording his first catch in the first half, he reeled off six more grabs in the second half, totaling over 100 yards in the game.
With E.J. Williams and Cam Camper suffering injuries during the game, Cooper may have to step up as a consistent force on the field for IU. There was no update on Williams and Camper ahead of IU’s game next week against Louisville.
The Hoosier defense continued shutting down the Sycamore offense and forced an ISU punt on every second-half drive. A number of key contributors played well, from Phillip Dunnam, who recorded a team-high eight tackles, to Aaron Casey, who had seven stops and a PBU, to Lanell Carr, who had a sack and 1.5 TFL.
The closing stages of the contest involved Indiana keeping the clock moving by running the football on a steady, consistent basis. IU ran 22 of the game’s 28 plays in the fourth quarter, and going 5/6 on 3rd down in the final stanza helped seal a comfortable victory.
Indiana will take on Louisville (2-0, 1-0 ACC) in the Hoosiers’ biggest non-conference matchup of the slate at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Former Purdue coach Jeff Brohm takes over at his alma mater and will try to extend his winning streak over Tom Allen to three games. Kickoff is slated for Noon ET on BTN.
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