First-year Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow didn’t throw an interception his first two games as a Division I stater.
His third was a different story.
The junior college transfer was intercepted five times Saturday afternoon in a 33-28 loss to Wake Forest.
Lagow was intercepted in the end zone, a pick that led to a Demon Deacons’ touchdown, and also threw a pick-six that were critical plays in a one-possession game that gave Indiana its first loss of the season.
The miscues were on one side of a ledger that had a lot on the other, as well.
Lagow threw for a school-record 496 yards, completing 28 of 47 passes, including touchdowns of 75, 49 and 10 yards.
In the same game, as IU fell to 2-1 entering Big Ten play, he had the Indiana crowd both cheering and cringing.
IU receiver Mitchell Paige said Lagow handled it as well as a quarterback could.
“I need to be better,” Lagow said. “If i’d handled it as good as I could I would have stopped throwing interceptions.”
Lagow’s 496 yards broke the IU single-game record of 480 that Ben Chappell set Oct. 2, 2010 against Michigan.
Lagow didn’t throw an interception until his 61st Division I pass attempt.
He ended up with three interceptions in 14 attempts during on stretch on Saturday.
Two of his five interceptions came on tipped balls.
He make no excuses.
“I just need to be better,” said Lagow, who never had five interceptions in high school or junior college. “I just made a couple mistakes. I didn’t start pressing or anything, I just need to be better.”
Indiana’s first two possessions were emblematic of Lagow’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde day.
On IU’s first play from scrimmage, Lagow hit Nick Westbrook in stride for a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown. After 13 seconds, Indiana led 7-0.
On IU’s second possession, the Hoosiers had third-and-goal at the Wake Forest 8. Lagow’s pass sailed a bit high, was tipped into the air and intercepted. The Demon Deacons tied the game 12 plays later.
“A couple of times we put him in some tough situations,” IU coach Kevin Wilson said. “The first two plays were batted balls and batted in the perimeter. We’re down ready to score, maybe go up 14-0 or 10-0 early. … batted ball in the perimeter, little rub-rub concept we're doing.
The second one, I think we kind of forced one into traffic. It got batted up on the pick six. I think his third pick was a play action where actually he kind of came out wrong, got out of whack, got hit, and the ball came up short.
“The fourth one was a dig he tried to throw on third and long. They were yelling out the route, and they were all over it. He tried to Superman and throw the ball through a person, which is impossible. Should have checked it down.
“And then the last one we tried to wrinkle up a play. We were doing a formation a lot and thought we could get something on them. It's something we do but didn't practice a lot. He actually tried to make a nice adjustment, and we just didn't clean it. So a couple of them were on us.”
In the later going, Lagow as called for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following what appeared on video replay to be a late hit.
“The referee told us before like ‘You need to calm 21 (Lagow) down. Just a little calmer,’” Wilson said. “My deal was like they came over and said, hey, just he needs to calm down. He's getting a little too vocal.
And he was frustrated after the play when he scrambled around and threw it away, and he said something. I don't think it was personally directed at the referee, but because he had been a little, I guess, loose with his mouth, it burned him.
“That's the first time I've seen it. When people said earlier what do you like about him, I like he's been pretty steady Eddie, pretty calm. So in the heat of the moment, and he needs to learn and grow from that. We need to work hard to do that.”
Indiana receivers had big days due to Lagow’s good throws.
Fifth-year senior Ricky Jones had a career-high 208 yards receiving, the sixth 200-yard receiving game in school history.
Sophomore Nick Westbrook had 129 yards receiving, his second 100-yard game.
“I still have complete faith in him,” Wesbrook said. “Two of those (interceptions) were tipped balls that were competitive plays we coudl have made.
“There is no lost faith in him whatsoever. I still have complete confidence in him and how he can lead our offense.”
Indiana top-five all-time single-game passing yardage
1. 496, Richard Lagow, Saturday, vs. Wake Forest
2. 480, Ben Chappell, Oct. 2, 2010, vs. Michigan
3. 464, Nate Sudfeld, Oct. 17, 2015, vs. Rutgers
4. 454, Cameron Coffman, Nov. 17, 2012, at Penn State
5. 408, Jay Rodgers, Nov. 13, 1997, vs. Ball State
Postgame reaction, Richard Lagow: