Rushing offense – D
Against any team, 100 net yards rushing and a 3.2 yards/carry average isn't going to earn a team a passing grade. But those totals are especially alarming against a WKU defense that was yielding 247.5 yards/game in the first two games of the season, ranking it 112th out of 120 Bowl Championship series teams. After running for 102 yards against Towson 16 days ago Darius Willis was limited to 30 yards on 13 carries Saturday afternoon. As good as Indiana's offensive line was at protecting quarterback Ben Chappell when he was throwing the ball, it was unable to consistently open up holes for the IU ground game, particularly when IU tried to run between the tackles. One of the few bright spots for the ground game was a pair of nice runs for Nick Turner, who finished with a team-high 33 yards (including a 24-yard touchdown) on only two carries.
Notable: Indiana's 100-yard rushing effort dropped it to 86th nationally in rushing offense at 127.5 yards/game. That's the lowest ranking of any Big Ten team, with Penn State standing in 74th at 140.3 yards/game.
Passing offense – A
Choose your own superlative about how IU's passing attack looked – they all apply. Ben Chappell's 32-of-42, 366-yard, three-touchdown performance was not only a career-high for passing yards, but also the sixth-most for any IU quarterback in the program's history. While Chappell was aided by the return of Tandon Doss, it was Damarlo Belcher (10 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown) and Terrance Turner (8 catches, 55 yards) who led the way. Even more encouraging than the play of the veterans, though, was the continued emergence of Ted Bolser (2 catches, 25 yards, 1 TD) and the effort turned in by Duwyce Wilson (4 catches, 53 yards), highlighted by Wilson's acrobatic 39-yard reception in the second quarter. The effort from Chappell and the wideouts enabled IU to 4-4, 93, 4-4, 26
Notable: As good as Chappell was overall, he was at his best on third downs. The Hoosier senior QB was perfect on third downs, completing 8-of-8 throws for 119 yards and a touchdown. All eight completions moved the chains, helping IU convert 10 of 12 third downs overall.
Rushing defense – B
WKU tailback Bobby Rainey eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the third straight game with a 21-carry, 105-yard, two-touchdown performance, but it was still a solid effort from IU's run defense against the run-oriented Hilltopper attack. Almost all of Rainey's damage was done on WKU's opening drive, as he ran seven times for 62 yards to help put WKU up 7-0. From that point forward, Rainey managed only 43 yards on 14 carries. Equally impressive was the job IU did against mobile quarterback Kawaun Jakes, who rushed for 30 yards on eight carries and wasn't a factor running the ball. Indiana struggled mightily against Towson QB Chris Hart two weeks ago, but made significant strides this weekend.
Notable: During Indiana's 31-point scoring barrage in the second and third quarters, the Hoosier defense completely bottled up Rainey. During the two middle quarters Rainey ran 10 times for only 17 yards, and the WKU offense was limited to three first downs overall.
Passing defense – B-
Relative to Chappell and the IU offense the WKU passing attack was an afterthought, but Jakes had a respectable 13-of-20, 144-yard one-touchdown effort against IU's defense. For a team that relies heavily on the run, Jakes' effort through the air was likely more than enough to please WKU Coach Willie Taggart. Jakes had a nice 31-yard touchdown throw to Marcus Vasquez (on a play that was originally ruled an incompletion but subsequently overturned on review) in the fourth quarter and was generally on target with his throws. After failing to record a sack in the season opener IU did record a pair of sacks Saturday, with Terrance Thomas getting credit for one and Adam Replogle and Matt Ernest sharing the other. Replogle appeared to be the Hoosiers' most reliable pass rusher Saturday, applying pressure on Jakes on several occasions.
Notable: Through two games, Indiana leads the Big Ten and ranks 25th nationally in pass defense, surrendering only 154.5 yards/game. Admittedly the Hoosiers have been aided by the fact they've played less than formidable competition and against a pair of teams that run it a lot better than they throw it, but it's a good sign for an IU secondary that was a big question mark heading into the season.
Special teams – B-
Nick Freeland missed the game with a hip injury, which gave Mitch Ewald an opportunity to make a case for being the team's full-time kicker. But the redshirt freshman didn't do anything to suggest he should supplant Freeland, missing a 38-yard field goal in the first quarter to go along with a 28-yard make in the second quarter. On an attempted squib kick late in the second quarter he drilled the ball too low and into a WKU player, which wound up being recovered by the Hoosiers. Despite the outcome, it was clearly not what IU was looking to do. Chris Hagerup nearly went unused in the game, booting his first and only punt of the game midway through the fourth quarter. Tandon Doss had a huge 87-yard kickoff return to start the game and had a 12-yard punt return as well, suggesting he'll be handling both duties this season.
Notable: Indiana leads the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 40.4 yards on five returns this season. Three different players have had big kickoff returns for IU thus far – Doss' 87-yard return against WKU is the season's best effort, but Duwyce Wilson (46 yards) and Nick Turner (38 yards) also had big returns against Towson in the opener.
Overall – B+
Indiana took some steps forward Saturday. Defensively IU was much better against the run, especially after WKU's opening drive. Bobby Rainey entered the game ranked fourth nationally running the ball, but was pedestrian at best after the game's first drive. On the offensive side the Hoosiers' struggles running the ball is a concern, but Ben Chappell was as efficient and productive as anyone could have hoped for against the Hilltoppers. Equally impressive was how IU responded after starting the game slow. IU had a fumble and a missed field goal on its opening two drives and quickly found itself in a 7-0 hole on the road. But the Hoosiers settled down and dominated the Hilltoppers the rest of the way.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Western Kentucky
Peegs.com Top Stories
Freddie McSwain close to returnJunior college transfer Freddie McSwain speaks to his return to full go action and his transition to high major basketball at Indiana.
Peegs.comYesterday at 1:34 PM
Quality 'Priller Time' in Hysteria scrimmageJunior forward Tim Priller had back-to-back baskets in a stretch during Saturday's Hoosier Hysteria scrimmage to show he's improved his game. Before that he sat down with Peegs.com…
Peegs.comYesterday at 1:08 PM
Tackles adding up for Tegray ScalesIt has been a long time since Indiana has seen a player rack up the tackles like Tegray Scales has this season.
Peegs.comYesterday at 10:37 AM
2016 Indiana Football Scholarship ChartCheck out the Peegs.com 2016 Scholarship Chart for the Indiana Football team.
Peegs.comYesterday at 10:13 AM