Before Saturday’s game, senior running back D’Angelo Roberts emphasized how he needed to be more consistent.
On Saturday, he was a man of his word.
Roberts had a career-high 24 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown – his second consecutive game over 100 yards dating back to last season – in the Hoosiers’ 28-10 victory over the Sycamores at Memorial Stadium.
“Coach McCullough told us we were going to be running the ball, ‘so be prepared,’” Roberts said. “Didn’t have any idea we were going to run it that much.”
Throughout the afternoon, Roberts provided relief by backing up teammate and junior running back Tevin Coleman when Coleman needed rest.
Coleman said Roberts did a good job of picking up where he left off.
“I’m really happy for him,” Coleman said. “He’s been working hard this camp, and I’ve just been there. We’ve been teaching each other things and practicing real hard, because running back is going to be a big step for this team.”
Even as the second-string running back, Roberts made plays when it mattered most for IU.
His lone touchdown put IU ahead 21-3 with 2:37 remaining in the second quarter. It also followed a possession in which the Hoosiers were forced to punt.
Roberts also gave Coleman relief toward the end of the game with a 19-yard first-down run that allowed IU to run out the clock.
Coleman said being able to pick up where the other left off between him and Roberts is a big benefit to the team.
“He can take off where I left, he can do the same things I can do,” Coleman said. “He can make good runs and things like that, so it’s pretty good.”
Those runs by Roberts came from Indiana State’s 3-4 defense whose flaws were he easily recognized.
“They a 3-4 and they slant,” he said. “So when they slant, they leave a lot of open gaps we can hit.”
Roberts’ performance marked the third time in his career he rushed for over 100 yards in a game.
The Bloomington native had 102 yards on 19 carries against South Carolina State in 2011, his freshman season. He earned his second-career 100+ yard game with a 14-carry, 113-yard performance in the Old Oaken Bucket game against Purdue in 2013.
Experience, which Roberts certainly brings, is something IU head coach Kevin Wilson notices.
“I think the backs, there is some experience,” Wilson said. “And we’ll play four or five of them. We’re going to need two or three.”
Roberts will have plenty more opportunities this season to add to his list of 100-yard games, and he’s still working on his game.
“Every day we need to strive to get better,” he said. “I know I made a lot of mistakes out there today, probably had a lot that I made. so I’m just going to focus, watch film and get better.”