After a dramatic last week in the world of IU football, Indiana needed to start their season off on the right foot. And, that they did Saturday night with a 38-28 win over Florida International.
Here is a look at my statistical difference makers, impact players, and more:
Statistical Difference Makers
- Turnovers – To me, the turnover battle was above and beyond a huge factor. Two forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown. This allowed the Hoosiers to gain the lead and build on it on their way to a nice win on the road.
- 213 Yards Rushing as a Team – Questions lingered on after Morgan Ellison’s suspension who would grab the bull by the horns and help lead the rushing attack. At the end of the day, it was multiple players that played a significant role in the outcome. Holy hell, IU was a two-dimensional offense. Good things tend to happen when the defense has a tougher time predicting what you are going to do from an offensive standpoint when you are clicking on the ground and through the air.
- 1 Sack and 1 QB Hurry Allowed – How about that offensive line for the Hoosiers? They did what we needed them to do. They did their job tonight only allowing one sack and one QB hurry throughout a game that saw two different quarterbacks play.
Impact Players of the Game
- Peyton Ramsey – He earned the starting job during his play in Fall camp beating out a transfer quarterback in Brandon Dawkins and a true freshman sensation in Michael Penix. How was he going to handle that kind of pressure to excel on the road? He ended up going 20/27 (74% completion) while passing for 156 yards with 3 touchdowns. He would finish with a QBR of 86.8. He also would contribute to the ground game finishing with 8 carries for 36 yards (4.5 yards per carry). Overall, impressed with Ramsey’s composure throughout the first game of the season.
- Stevie Scott – I read a lot about this kid during Fall camp. He was leaving quite the impression. He put on a nice show for all IU fans to see Saturday night leading the rushing attack with 20 carries for 70 yards (3.5 yards per carry). He is a human bulldozer out there. Going to be fun watching his development.
- Donovan Hale – Hale wasn’t the most talked about WR heading into the season opener, but he would steal the show. He finished the game with 4 receptions for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns. Nice seeing him back out there healthy. To me, he adds significant depth to a receiving corps loaded with talent.
How about the true freshman Reese Taylor and Michael Penix seeing the field? Taylor would bust off for the longest gain on the ground for the Hoosiers (32 yards) while getting 3 carries. He would go onto finish with 40 yards. He would see action on both sides the of the ball tonight getting two solo tackles to go along with his offensive numbers. Michael Penix would see a good chunk of action in the second half going 8/10 (80% completion) with 96 yards passing and a touchdown. He would finish with a QBR of 92.4. He also showed small flashes of what he could do with his mobility with a couple of carries for 4 yards apiece. The commentators were sure surprised why Penix would see the field. Hoosier fans that have been keeping up with him would not be.
What is Next for the Hoosiers
Indiana will play host to the Virginia next Saturday night at 7:30 pm EDT/6:30 pm CDT on Big Ten Network. The Cavaliers enter the game coming off a 42-13 victory over the Richmond Spider Monkeys (just kidding…they are the Spiders). They are led at QB by junior college transfer Bryce Perkins who ran for 108 yards and 2 scores while passing for 185 yards and two additional touchdowns against Richmond. RB Jordan Ellis is also another one to keep an eye on in this one as he will be coming off a game in which he was pushing the 150-yard mark (146 yards on 20 carries) while finishing with 2 touchdowns. I think the biggest key will be IU trying to slow down their offense and make them more predictable. We shall see come next Saturday.
How was my Game Day Experience?
Overall, a beautiful day and night for football and family time. I hosted a grill-out full of food, laughs, and good times. We enjoyed watching multiple games. Almost witnessed history happening as App State pushed Penn State to its limits, seen Notre Dame reignite their rivalry with Michigan with a W, and watched Hoosier football pick up an important win to start their campaign. Cannot ask for much more than that.