By Hank Duncan
With last night’s game against Florida International in the books, it is now time for the first IU football game recap of the 2016 season. Just as we all expected, the defense dominated almost the entire game! However, as my colleague Evan Brown already focused on the defense’s dominance, I will stick to the offensive side of the ball.
Coming into the game, the Hoosiers definitely had concerns all around the offense. Richard Lagow was making his first start as a division one quarterback while Devine Redding and the new offensive line had yet to prove themselves. Through the first three quarters, it was nerve-wracking football. Yes, the defense kept Indiana in the game, but the offense was anemic with only a field goal to show for its work. Once Florida International took the lead 13-12 heading into the fourth quarter, it seemed as if IU was heading for yet another disappointing game in its long history of losing. However, after two straight touchdown drives to begin the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers sealed the game with a pick six by linebacker, Tegray Scales. With the Hoosiers 1-0 on the season, let’s take a look at some takeaways from last night.
Coming into this season, experts and fans expected Lagow to replace Nate Sudfeld as the starting quarterback. However, nobody truly knew how Lagow would fare in his first season at division one. Originally from Plano, Texas, he first committed to UCONN, but, after a coaching change, transferred to Oklahoma State. There, Lagow rode the bench and did not take one snap on the field. He then transferred to a Junior College in Cisco, Texas, where he threw for 2,100 yards in six games last season. As the number three ranked JUCO quarterback in the nation, Lagow enrolled at IU last January. There is no question that he has talent. He is a pro-style QB with a rocket of an arm and fits perfectly into Kevin Wilson’s no-huddle system. But with the first game of the season away from home on a Thursday night, anything could happen.
However, Lagow played incredibly well for his first game. Overall, he was 18-27 with 240 yds, one touchdown, and zero turnovers. From start to finish, he showed everyone that he is consistent. No matter what the down and distance, Lagow showed the same consistency in each situation.
|Down and Distance||CMP||ATT||YDS||CMP%|
|1st & 10||8||11||113||72.7|
|2nd & 6+||3||6||32||50.0|
|2nd & <6||2||2||44||100.0|
|3rd & 11+||1||1||1||100.0|
|3rd & 8-10||2||3||31||66.7|
|3rd & 3-7||2||4||19||50.0|
With Simmie Cobbs out due to a suspension, he found a new favorite receiver. Nick Westbrook, who caught a total of 6 passes for 69 yards in all of 2015, surpassed that number in one game with 6 receptions for 70 yards. If this connection is a constant part of the season, both Lagow and Westbrook will have breakout years.
With running back Jordan Howard and offensive lineman Jason Spriggs in the NFL, the running game was a major question mark coming into last night. However, even with Spriggs gone, Dan Feeney and the rest of the offensive line laid that question to rest as they demolished the FIU defense. Overall, IU rushed the ball 50 times for 261 yards, which averages out to 5.22 yards per carry. But most importantly, starting running back Devine Redding rushed 22 times for 135 yards. This 6.1 yds/carry for Redding equaled Jordan Howard’s yds/carry for the month of September last year. If Redding can stay healthy this season, he might surpass Howard’s rushing stats from last season.
Redding not only played well overall, but accomplished what he needed to do in every down and distance situation.
|Down & Distance||ATT||YDS||AVG|
|1st & 10||10||58||5.8|
|1st & <6||1||5||5.0|
|2nd & 6+||4||17||4.3|
|2nd & 3-7||5||16||3.2|
|2nd & 1-2||3||30||10.0|
|3rd & 1-2||1||3||3.0|
|4th & 1-2||1||19||19.0|
Even if Florida International is not the most menacing opponent in the country, a win on the road to start the season is always impressive. After last night’s win, I am beginning to feel more and more optimistic about this season. With Ball State and Wake Forest up next for the Hoosiers, I have no reason to think that IU won’t be 3-0 entering Big Ten competition. Of course, with IU football, anything can happen. For now, enjoy the win and watch some more football this weekend. Go Hoosiers!