The Hoosiers are 3-1 on the 2016 season and 1-0 in the Big Ten after a 24-21 overtime win over 17th ranked Michigan State Saturday night. In the victory the offense came alive in the second half after really struggling in the first two quarters, while the defense made enough plays to give the Hoosiers a chance to get the win. On special teams kicker Griffin Oakes had a very tough night as he missed three field goals, although the third miss was wiped out by a penalty on the Spartans. Peegs.com takes a look back at the game and examines each unit on the Indiana team.
Indiana Passing Game
It was a tale of two halves for quarterback Richard Lagow and the Indiana passing attack. The Hoosier signal-caller threw for 200 of his 276 passing yards in the second half, and in the fourth quarter he was especially sharp as he completed five-of-six passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Wideout Ricky Jones backed up his six reception, 206 yard outing against Wake Forest last week with a 124 yards receiving and one touchdown on five receptions in the win over MSU. Luke Timian, Mitchell Paige and Nick Westbrook had three receptions each and they had a combined 138 yards receiving with Paige also hauling in a TD pass. Paige was also instrumental in the first score of the game for the Hoosiers, but he was the one throwing the touchdown pass instead of the one catching it. The fifth-year senior hit Lagow on 5-yard TD pass that gave the Hoosiers their first points of the game when they were down 14-0. All in all it was a pretty good day for the IU passing game, but the one thing they need to work on is their consistency. They seem to have too many possessions where they seem out of sync and out of rhythm.
Indiana Running Game
The Indiana rushing attack had a similar performance against MSU that the passing attack had as they were pretty stagnant in the first half before picking things up in the second half and over time. As a team the Hoosiers ran for 156 yards on a defense that came in only giving up about half that. More than 100 of the 156 yards that Indiana ran for came in the third and fourth quarters and in the overtime session. After having his streak of 100 yards game snapped last week against Wake Forest junior Devine Redding was able to rush for 100 yards exactly on 19 carries. The Ohio native seemed to get stronger as the game went along and he did a solid job as the lead back for IU. True freshman Tyler Natee saw his playing time increase as he was basically the number two back for the Hoosiers. The Texas native finished with 38 yards rushing on 10 carries, and while those are not eye popping numbers, Natee did a good job for IU picking up tough yards late in the game and in the overtime period. Devonte Williams and Mike Majette as saw time at running back as they combined to rush for 23 yards on nine carries.
Indiana Pass Defense
The Hoosiers pass defense had a little bit of a rough night as they were the victims of a couple big plays by the Spartans that went for touchdowns. The first one was an 86-yard passing play where the IU defensive backs bit on the play-action fake by the MSU quarterback and it resulted in a huge play for the Spartans. The second was where the MSU QB was flushed out of the pocket and the Indiana defense lost track of a receiver and the Spartans turned that into a 24 yards touchdown pass. The Indiana pass rush was not able to generate much pressure for the entire game, but they did step up in overtime and sack MSU quarterback Tyler O'Connor on consecutive plays to turn a 40 yards field goal attempt into a 50 yard field goal attempt which Michigan State missed. Cornerback Rashard Fant had a pretty solid game with a couple pass break-ups, but he appeared to be the corner that was beaten on the 86 yard touchdown. True freshman corner A'Shon Riggins also had a couple pass break-ups and he has been a very pleasant surprise this season for the IU defense.
Indiana Run Defense
Michigan State is a team that bases their offense on being able to run the ball no matter what. Against IU they did gain 175 yards on the ground, but it came on 41 carries and there was really only one explosive play on the ground for the Spartans. Overall the Indiana defense did a pretty good job of defending the MSU running game and not letting the Spartans control the game with it. Linebacker Tegray Scales had another outstanding game as he led the team in tackles with 13 to go along with one tackle for loss. Linebacker Marcus Oliver and safety Chase Dutra tied for second on the team in tackles with seven. After missing the first game with a suspension and not getting a ton of playing time in the second one it is nice to see Dutra out on the field making an impact. The Indiana defensive did a nice job up front of not letting the Spartans' offensive line get a push. They were able to hold their own on the line of scrimmage and that went a long way towards IU doing a pretty decent job against the MSU rushing attack. They will have to bring their 'A' game this week when they travel to Columbus to face Ohio State because the Buckeyes are averaging over 330 yards per game on the ground.
Indiana Special Teams
The Indiana special teams did not have any major breakdowns this week, but they did see kicker Griffin Oakes have as tough of a game as he has had in his IU career. The junior missed two field goals and had a third miss wiped out by an MSU penalty in overtime. He did hit the game winning field goal for the Hoosiers, but he needs to get back to the form he had last season when he was named the kicker of the year in the Big Ten. Punter Joseph Gedeon punted three times for an average of nearly 39 yards per punt which is not outstanding, but he did do a good job of not allowing the MSU punt return team to get anything going. The Spartans were only able to return one punt for one yard. For Indiana, kick returner Devonte Williams seems to be getting more and more comfortable in his role as he nearly broke a couple returns for big gains. He ended up returning three kick-offs for 90 yards. It would not be surprising to see him take a kick back for a score before the end of the season. Punt returner Mitchell Paige also had a good night as he had two returns for 31 yards.