The one thing Indiana fans believed after the first three games of the season was a simple thought:
In Nate Sudfeld We Trust.
And why not? For three games, Sudfeld had completed 71 percent of his passes for 305.7 yards per game. He had 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. He looked comfortable in the pocket, confident and poised.
It was clearly becoming his team.
This is not to suggest this won't be the situation moving forward either. But one thing that did occur Saturday night in Indiana's 45-28 loss to Missouri was that Sudfeld looked quite human.
He barely completed half of his passes as he was 21-of-39 for 229 yards and a touchdown. But he had three interceptions including a major gaffe in the first half that was returned for a touchdown. At the time, Indiana trailed 21-14 and had the ball at midfield looking to move toward the end zone and tie up the game going into the half.
Instead, Missouri took a 28-14 lead and never looked back.
Sudfeld was disappointed in the way he played. Following the game he gave Missouri's defense a lot of credit, but stopped short of giving the Tigers too much credit.
"Don't get me wrong, they have a really good defense,'' said the true sophomore from Modesto, Calif. "But I think it was more of us stopping us rather than them stopping us.
Perhaps, but Sudfeld was pressured early and often and didn't seem to have the same kind of pocket poise he had exhibited in the first few games. Was he a little uncomfortable in the pocket in this one?
"I don't know,'' Sudfeld said. "They had some tremendous athletes on their defensive line especially and they were getting to me pretty well. But maybe I was holding on to the ball too long or maybe I was a little antsy and never got settled. I can't afford to be that way. I need to be on top of my game and I wasn't on top of my game tonight.''
As Sudfeld put it, Indiana was its own worst enemy.
"We started off decently and kind of came back in the beginning and had some nice drives but we were never able to have a consistent drive,'' Sudfeld said. "I just think we kept shooting ourselves in the foot whether it was a penalty or I was making a bad throw or something. We have a lot of work to do but I'm proud of our guys. We're going to improve and get ready."
Sudfeld played the entire first half but after an ineffective first drive of the third quarter he was benched in favor of Tre Roberson. Roberson ran the offense for three series but then IU coach Kevin Wilson went back to Sudfeld again.
But on his first drive since being inserted back into the game, Sudfeld threw his third interception on IU's fifth play from scrimmage at its own 33. Sudfeld looked to force the ball into coverage and the result was his third pick.
The play kind of seemed to sum up his evening. Sudfeld wasn't sure he agreed with that assessment.
"I don't know,'' Sudfeld said. "When you're down you try to make too much happen and try to get your team into it. Mistakes happen. But again I take that on me. It's a good learning experience but I definitely can't afford to keep doing this. We'll be OK as an offense. We have a lot of work to do but we'll get better.
Sudfeld admitted that maybe he was trying to do too much.
You need to trust everyone around you and at times I don't think I was doing my job,'' he said. "I was trying to do too much on my own sometimes and trying to make things happen. Coach always says ‘Trying to make chicken salad when it's not there,' and I think I was trying to do too much.''
Indiana now has a bye week this week and two weeks to prepare for Penn State. Sudfeld admitted the two weeks can be a good thing and a bad thing.
"It's kind of both,'' Sudfeld said. "You'd like to have a bye week because you get two weeks to prepare for Penn State. But at the same time it kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth and you really want to play and play well again."
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch