The defeat was the 633rd loss in IU football history, one more than Northwestern, earning the Hoosier football team the most losses in Football Bowl Subdivision history.
IU has lost its last 12 Big Ten openers.
Northwestern posted 704 total offensive yards, a team record, to 425 yards for IU.
The Wildcats’ offense controlled the pace of the game for most of the afternoon, with 93 total offensive plays on 36:14 total possession time.
Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter proved to be a versatile offensive threat Saturday, recording 164 rushing yards for four touchdowns and 131 receiving yards on nine catches, leading in both categories for the Wildcats.
Colter, though, was just one for three with an interception passing the ball, and Trevor Siemian took control of the Wildcats’ passing attack.
Northwestern running back Venric Mark added 29 carries for 152 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Colter, Mark, Siemian and running back Mike Trumpy totaled 394 rushing yards against the Hoosier defense, eclipsing the mark the Wildcats set during the teams’ last matchup.
In 2011, the Wildcats rushed for 317 yards in their 59-38 victory.
The Hoosiers’ offense couldn’t catch fire until the second half.
In the first half, IU scored zero points and had 89 passing yards, all from sophomore quarterback Cameron Coffman as well as 56 rushing yards.
The Hoosiers punted the ball on five of eight possessions in the half. They ended their other three drives with a missed field goal, an interception and the end of the first half.
“We weren’t playing Hoosier ball out there, but then we stopped panicking and let the game come to us,” junior running back Stephen Houston said.
Early in the second half, IU Coach Kevin Wilson benched Coffman and put freshman quarterback Nate Sudfeld under center.
“During the week of practice, they just let me know to be ready at all times, that I’m always one snap away,” Sudfeld said.
In his first Big Ten game, the Modesto, Calif., native completed nine for 16 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown.
The Hoosier running attack went 103 rushing yards in the second half with two touchdowns, one from Houston and one from sophomore running back D’Angelo
Freshman running back Tevin Coleman had only two carries, but his biggest impact didn’t come on the offensive side of the ball.
The freshman recorded a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown late in the third quarter.
Coleman grew up less than 50 miles from Ryan Field, and he said running the kick back in front of his cheering section was special.
Yet after coming within just eight points of the Wildcats early in the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers weren’t able to pull off the come-from-behind victory.
As the team prepares for its homecoming game against Michigan State next Saturday, the players said this is just another game they have to put behind them.
“Tomorrow we are going to look at the film and figure it out,” junior wide receiver Kofi Hughes said.
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.
More in Sports
Brian Maisonneuve returns to Columbus, Ohio, where he played Major League Soccer.
The Hoosiers lost to Ohio State, but defeated Penn State.
IU is headed to the Big Ten Tournament, finishing 4-7 in conference play.