Every Sunday morning following Indiana football games this fall, we have a daily feature called ‘Upon Further Review’ where we take a quick look back at three aspects of Saturday’s IU football game that stood out.
There were plenty of candidates in IU’s 45-42 loss to Bowling Green.
Here are three that we wanted to highlight on the first look back.
1. MORE DEFENSIVE STRUGGLES
Did it seem to you like Indiana spent the entire day on the field playing defense Saturday against Bowling Green? The 113 plays have been well-documented and interestingly, time of possession was very close with Bowling Green at 31:20 and IU at 28:40, but there’s another statistic that pounds home the point once again as to why the Indiana defense struggled – IU couldn’t get Bowling Green off the field.
Bowling Green only punted the ball once on Saturday. That came late in the first quarter.
After that punt, Bowling Green would get the ball 11 more times and would score on eight of them. The breakdown was three fields and five touchdowns. In the second half alone, the Falcons scored touchdowns on five of seven drives. The other two drives resulted in a Nick Mangieri interception and a Bowling Green turning it over on downs
But when you look even closer at those five touchdowns in the second half what Bowling Green was able to do was pretty impressive feat. Four of the five drives were exactly 10 plays and the other was 12 plays. The shortest field was 75 yards. The other four were 77, 78, 88 and 88. The Falcons were methodical in their execution and mixed it with some timely defensive penalties on IU, Bowling Green was simply able to do anything it wanted against IU.
2. KICKING WOES BECOMING A CONCERN
Indiana has found out very quickly how difficult it has been to fill the shoes of Mitch Ewald.
Aaron Del Grosso has attempted two field goals in the first two games. The first one, in the opener against Indiana State, was from 28 yards out and hit the right upright and bounced back. His second second, on Saturday against Bowling Green, was wide to the right from 39 yards.
If Del Grosso doesn’t get some confidence quickly, IU coach Kevin Wilson will become even more of a gambler than many feel he already is in terms of going for it on fourth-and-short situations.
After a good first game kicking the ball off, Del Grosso had a mixed bag on Saturday. Only one of his seven kickoffs was a touchback and he also kicked one out of bounds.
The punting continues to be a major area of concern as well. Erich Toth had three punts on Saturday. The distances were 43, 22 and 10. The 43-yard punt was one where he was trying to drop it inside the 10 and it appeared an IU player should have found a way to get down and cover it. Instead it went into the end zone. So that one wasn’t entirely on Toth. The other two though the ball simply did not look good coming off of Toth’s leg. Both were against the wind but again it was more than that. Both were clearly shanked punts from the start.
Wilson needs to make a decision soon about whether he sticks with Toth or goes with redshirt sophomore Nick Campos and gives him a shot.
3. SUDFELD LOOKS LIKE HIS USUAL SELF
Not sure if anyone was really concerned about Nate Sudfeld or not after the season opener against Indiana State where he threw for 118 yards and no touchdowns, but he clearly showed in the Bowling Green game that he can be an effective passer this season.
Not a bad runner either.
Sudfeld completed 31-of-41 passes for 347 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He was not sacked. He also ran the ball seven times for 27 yards and had two 1-yard touchdown runs. The second one he dove over the top on fourth-and-goal at the 1 and stretched the ball across the goal line for the touchdown.