BLOOMINGTON – The roller coaster ride continued Saturday afternoon for the Indiana University football team. But that was a good thing this time around as the Hoosiers picked up their third win of the season.
Indiana struggled to find offensive production last weekend in a game against Maryland, but offense was definitely not an issue when North Texas visited this week. The Hoosiers downed the Mean Green 49-24 to move to 3-2 on the season.
Nate Sudfeld changed his approach Saturday, and it worked perfectly.
One week after Indiana’s junior quarterback played perhaps the worst game of his college career, Sudfeld’s new, aggressive mentality got the Hoosiers’ offense back in sync.
He threw three touchdown passes, D’Angelo Roberts scored twice on the ground and Tevin Coleman ran for 150 yards in the rout against a highly-touted North Texas defense.
“There was definitely an emphasis for me to get in rhythm this week and for me just to cut it, let the ball rip,” Sudfeld said. “That’s what I tried to do today and with the wind, it was just a good mind-set to have, just to cut it through the wind.”
Sudfeld did more than just throw it hard. He also rediscovered his nifty touch, something he didn’t have in the previous week’s shockingly stagnant performance against Maryland.
All week, coach Kevin Wilson implored the Hoosiers to play fast and start fast, leaving nothing to chance.
They didn’t. Indiana took control with three first-quarter touchdowns and put it away with three more scores in the third quarter with the kind of wide-open offense Wilson prefers.
“I do remember saying at halftime, we’re going to get a script, we’re going to run some plays we want, we’re going to take the first one down and score, and then it’s nice for the defense to get the stop,” Wilson said.
Indiana, and Sudfeld, executed that game plan perfectly.
Sudfeld was masterful Saturday, finishing 23 of 29 for 230 yards through the air, rushing three times for 28 yards and getting his teammates involved, too.
Coleman entered the day with nation’s longest active streaks for 100-yard games and consecutive games with a touchdown and extended both. He had 17 carries for 150 yards, his seventh-straight 100-yard day, and scored the first score of the day on a 1-yard plunge. He has now scored in a school-record 14 consecutive games.
Roberts, who had the winning touchdown in Indiana’s upset at Missouri two weeks ago, ran 14 times for 102 yards and now has a career-best five touchdowns this season. And Shane Wynn caught five passes for 127 yards, including scoring plays of 45 and 74 yards.
Indiana did all that against a defense that came into the game ranked among the FBS’ top 20 in five different categories.
“We were thinking they were going to load the box and we got to pass the ball,” Wynn said. “As I said before, coach Wilson had been on us all week about passing the ball and once we opened that up, Tevin got going.”
It wasn’t just Indiana’s offense that played well.
Indiana’s defense picked off two passes and looked virtually impenetrable at times, especially early. The Hoosiers even recovered a first-quarter onside kick, a move that allowed the Hoosiers to run 16 consecutive plays, 15 of them in Mean Green territory.
No, things couldn’t have gone much better for the Hoosiers — or much worse for North Texas (2-3, 0-1), which was making its first appearance in a Big Ten venue and chasing its best non-conference record as an FBS school since 1968.
Instead, the Mean Green played dismally on a cold, blustery, overcast day.
Dajon Williamswas 18 of 34 for 205 yards with three touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions.Carlos Harriscaught 11 receptions for 120 yards, including a spectacular leaping 20-yard scoring catch late in the first, half, but it was the only time North Texas reached the end zone until they trailed 42-10.
And the Mean Green defense struggled mightily.
“Fundamentally, we were about as poor on defense as we’ve been in a long time,” coach Dan McCarney said. “They really did a good job, they executed their offense.”
It didn’t take long for the Hoosiers to seize control.
Tegray Scalespicked off Williams’ second pass of the game. Seven plays later, Coleman scored. Following the onside kick, Indiana converted two fourth-down tries — the second coming on a 12-yard scoring pass from Sudfeld toJordan Fuchsto make it 14-0. Wynn’s 45-yard touchdown pass made it 21-0 before the first quarter late in the first quarter.
North Texas made it 21-7 at halftime, but the Hoosiers closed it out with Roberts’ two scoring runs and Wynn’s 74-yard touchdown pass from Sudfeld that made it 42-10.
“When you’re off you’re vulnerable,” Wilson said of Sudfeld & Co. “It’s just really tough to be on.”
Indiana travels to Iowa next Saturday for a Noon ET kickoff on ESPNU.