Penalties And Big Plays Cost Tigers

On Saturday, the Indiana Hoosiers (2-1) came into Faurot Field and defeated the Missouri Tigers (3-1) by the final score of 31-27.

On Saturday, the Indiana Hoosiers (2-1) came into Faurot Field and defeated the Missouri Tigers (3-1) by the final score of 31-27.

In a game that was marred by injuries and penalties, Indiana played the game of Kevin Wilson’s head coaching career, winning at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football. Indiana led early, then the Hoosiers had to come back at the end. Missouri had moved ahead 27-24 on an Andrew Baggett 40-yard field goal with 2:20 remaining in the game. But, Indiana quickly marched down the field, and with just 0:22 left on the clock, the Hoosiers’ D’Angelo Roberts went up and over into the end zone from 3 yards out.

“Give Indiana credit,” said Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel. “I thought they did a lot of good things. It was a close game. And, at the end of the game, we didn’t do the things we needed to do…………………………………………….. We’ve got to play better, coach better. We had opportunities. We’ve just got to do a better job.”

The key play on the Hoosiers’ final drive was a 44-yard gain on a screen pass to Tevin Coleman that gave Indiana a first down at the Missouri 7-yard line. One play earlier, Indiana had converted a fourth and 6 from their own 29-yard line, when John Gibson was flagged for pass interference.

In the final 22 seconds, Missouri moved the ball into Indiana territory, but time ran out with the Tigers short of the end zone. Following his team’s disappointing performance, and first loss of the season, Coach Pinkel took the blame for allowing Indiana to run down the clock to 22 seconds before they scored the go-ahead touchdown.

“I should have called that timeout earlier,” admitted Coach Pinkel. “That’s on me.”

The closeness of the game was evidenced on the stat sheet as well as on the scoreboard. Missouri had 506 yards of total offense to Indiana’s 493. But Indiana rushed for 241 yards and 3 TDs on 50 carries, and the Hoosier’s running backs, Coleman and Roberts combined for 77 yards receiving. Missouri rushed for 172 yards on 35 carries, but that final tally is misleading in that 110 of Russell Hansbrough’s 119 rushing yards came on just 2 of his 10 carries. Except for Hansbrough’s two long runs, Missouri managed to average just 1.9 yards/carry.

In the 1st half, Missouri appeared to lose Anthony Gatti, perhaps for the season, to yet another knee injury. He spent the 2nd half on the sideline in street clothes and on crutches. Indiana appeared to lose multiple players to injuries, as well.

Missouri was penalized 10 times for 75 yards. And, the Tigers lost the turnover battle 0-1, as Missouri’s 47-game takeaway streak came to an end. Perhaps even more damaging to Missouri’s offensive efforts than the penalties and Mauk’s lone interception were numerous bad snaps that, although Mauk was able to corral all of them, thwarted the timing of at least a dozen of the Tigers’ offensive plays. Many of the bad snaps resulted in negative plays, or short gains and missed opportunities, making it more difficult to sustain drives. In addition, the Missouri offensive line was unable to consistently provide adequate pass protection, or consistently open running lanes. The bad snaps and the poor line play were reminiscent of Missouri’s 2012 season.

To Indiana’s credit, the Hoosiers’ utilized their blitzes to positive effect. Despite being under frequent pressure, Mauk did manage to finish 28-47-1 (60%) for 326 yards (6.9 yards/ pass attempt) and 2 TDs (127.63 passer efficiency rating). But, it wasn’t enough.

Missouri appeared to come out flat, and the Tigers got off to a slow start, particularly on the offensive side of the football. Early on, neither team was able to get much going offensively, until Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld found Nick Stoner behind Kenya Dennis down the right side for 47 yards and a first down at the Missouri 13-yard line. Four Tevin Coleman runs later, and the Hoosiers were on the scoreboard first, capping off a 6-play, 66-yard drive, as Coleman scored from 1 yard out to put Indiana ahead 7-0 with 5:18 remaining in the 1st quarter. But, that would be it for Coleman until the 2nd half. He had to be helped off the field following the TD run, and after a time on the sideline, was taken to the locker room for the remainder of the 1st half, where he received IV fluids.

Missouri answered, and came right back with a couple of big plays of their own. Facing third and 17 from the Missouri 13-yard line, Russell Hansbrough took a pitch from Maty Mauk on the speed option and worked his way around the right side across mid-field for a first down at the Indiana 45-yard line. On the next play, Mauk rolled to his left and made a beautiful throw to Jimmie Hunt, who had gotten behind the defense down the left side. Hunt went up and made a nice over the shoulder catch, then raced into the end zone for a 45-yard TD reception that tied the score at 7-7 with 3:12 remaining in the 1st quarter.

D’Angelo Roberts came on for the injured Coleman, as Indiana put together a 16-play, 75-yard drive that took over 5 minutes off the clock. The Hoosiers mixed together short passes with their running game, before Roberts took it in on fourth down from 1- yard out to put Indiana back in the lead at 14-7 with 12:50 remaining in the 2nd quarter. Missouri thrice stuffed the Hoosiers from inside the 5-yard line. But on fourth down, as the Missouri defense stacked up the middle, Sudfeld pitched it to Roberts, who took it around the left side untouched.

The two teams exchanged 2nd-quarter punts, before Missouri set up shop at their own 21-yard line. Mauk found Bud Sasser along the left sideline for a first down to the Missouri 32-yard line. Then, on the second play of the drive, Hansbrough took a hand-off around the left side, turned on the jets, and raced 68 yards to the end zone. Once again, the score was tied, this time at 14-14 with 6:50 remaining in the 2nd quarter.

Less than a minute later, Missouri got the ball back at their own 24-yard line. Mauk and the Tigers put together an 11-play, 67-yard drive that stalled inside the Indiana 10-yard line. Andrew Baggett came on to kick a 27-yard field goal that put Missouri ahead 17-14 with 2:42 remaining in the 1st half.

But Indiana came right back and put together an almost identical drive that resulted in a tying field goal on the final play of the 2nd quarter.

In the 1st half, Missouri had 269 total yards to Indiana’s 257 total yards.

Missouri received the ball to begin the 2nd half. But on the first play from scrimmage, Mauk overthrew Marcus Murphy and his pass was intercepted.

Indiana took over at the Missouri 25-yard line. But the Missouri defense denied the Hoosiers, courtesy of a Shane Ray sack and 9-yard loss. Indiana missed the 41-yard field goal attempt.

Missouri could get nothing going offensively, and the two teams exchanged a series of punts. Taking over at their own 18-yard line late in the 3rd quarter, Indiana quickly got things going when Coleman ripped off a 49-yard run to the Missouri 33-yard line. On the next play, Duron Singleton came on the blitz, but Sudfeld found J-Shun Harris running free down the middle of the field for six. Indiana led 24-17.

Mauk and the Tigers came right back and tied the score at 24-24. Missouri had taken over at their own 29-yard line. Eight plays and 71 yards later, Mauk faked a hand-off and quickly got it to Sean Culkin in the right front corner of the end zone from 1 yard out for Culkin’s second reception of the drive, and the first TD reception of his career. Bud Sasser, who finished the day with a career-high 11 receptions for 142 yards, had 3 receptions on this drive.

Again the two teams exchanged punts before Missouri put together a scoring drive. Taking over on their own 8-yard line with 6:34 remaining in the game, Missouri drove to the Indiana 22-yard line where Baggett nailed the aforementioned 40-yard field goal to put Missouri ahead 27-24.

In addition to his first career TD, Culkin’s 4 receptions and 45 yards receiving were also career highs. Michael Scherer had a career-high 13 tackles. Ian Simon and Harold Brantley each recorded a career-high 8 tackles. Charles Harris had a career-high 4 tackles, including his first career sack.

After the game, Scherer said that Indiana’s pace of play affected the Tigers.

“They were going really fast,” explained Scherer. “They were running the same play over and over again. They were tiring us out a little bit.”

Coach Pinkel was disappointed in the loss, and in how poorly his team had played. But, he was gracious in defeat.

“Indiana, congratulations to them,” said Coach Pinkel. “I thought they played a pretty good game. We battled, and had a chance to win in the end. Unfortunately, we did not get it done. Any time there’s a game that close, you can go back and find a lot of little things that could have been different. Ultimately, it plays out the way it does. Like any game, win or lose, we’ll go back and evaluate what we’ve done and where we need to improve and things we can correct. That’s what we’ll work hard to do starting tomorrow morning.”

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