Indiana fans couldn’t help but scratch their heads as they watched the Hoosiers file into the locker room at halftime with a 20-9 deficit.
Indiana struggled to move the ball all game, however there were two first half plays that stood out, both of which were long touchdowns that were called back because of penalties.
Early in the first quarter, Indiana’s defense forced a Maryland three-and-out. With the Terps up 3-0, they punted to Shane Wynn, who found a crease in the coverage and took it to the end zone. That touchdown was negated by an illegal block in the back, bringing Indiana all the way back to its own 16-yard line.
A few drives later, Indiana trailed 17-6 when running back Tevin Coleman busted through the line for what was thought to be a 50-yard touchdown. Once again, a yellow flag was spotted all the way back near the line of scrimmage. Holding was the call this time, and Indiana would end up punting the ball on that drive.
“There’s going to be calls,” Head Coach Kevin Wilson said after the game. “You’re not going to get a bunch of split decisions, you’ve got to knock people out. If you’re waiting to get a bunch of good bounces, you’ve got to make your own fortunes by being aggressive and attacking.”
Indiana seemed to be doing just that all game, waiting. The penalties were momentum killers, and Indiana was never able to respond after them, instead getting frustrated and not moving the ball.
Following the flag on the Wynn punt return, the Hoosiers managed to get into field goal range, hitting from 38 yards out and tying the game 3-3, instead of taking a 7-3 lead early. Coleman’s long run was called back with Indiana down 17-6, and they stalled and had to punt the ball away on the drive, killing an opportunity to keep it close.
“That’s just football, that’s the name of the game,” Coleman said. “Things happen like that, so we just have to keep our heads up and keep fighting.”
In total, the Hoosiers committed nine penalties against Maryland, for 55 penalty yards. While that doesn’t look horrible on paper, factoring in 124 yards and 14 points lost in those two plays alone hurts.
This isn’t the first time this season that Indiana has let penalties get the best of them. In the team’s other loss, against Bowling Green, Indiana committed 11 penalties for 143 yards. That included two red zone pass interference calls on the Hoosier secondary, which led to a game-winning touchdown for the Falcons.
“It’s something we have to overcome,” quarterback Nate Sudfeld said. “It’s a little bit deflating, but we pride ourselves in score over and over and over. So, it really isn’t a big deal. We just need to keep coming, keep playing and good things will happen.”Sudfeld: "We weren't ourselves."
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