sports   |   football

IU football wraps up nonconference play with dominant win


Junior wide receiver Whop Philyor, right, celebrates in the end zone with fifth-year wide receiver Nick Westbrook, left, after scoring IU's first touchdown of the game Sept. 21 at Memorial Stadium against University of Connecticut. Matt Begala

On IU’s second drive of the game, junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey rushed down the University of Connecticut’s sideline before being tackled to the ground. As Ramsey popped back up after the pass, senior left tackle Coy Cronk stayed on the ground writhing in pain.

As trainers rushed to Cronk while he lay on the field grabbing his right leg, they immediately waved for the medical cart and put his leg in an air-cast. While sitting on the cart, all the Hoosiers on the bench jogged out onto the field to give their captain words of encouragement as he was driven off to the locker room.

“This season now goes out to him,” fifth-year senior Nick Westbrook said. “When we came into the locker room, he was right there cast up in the boot dapping everybody up."

As it would turn out — while being a major loss to IU that will have a lasting effect on its season — Cronk’s injury would be one of the very few low points in the game as the Hoosiers cruised to a 38-3 victory over the Huskies.

IU’s football team high fives senior offensive lineman Coy Cronk on Sept. 21 at Memorial Stadium. Cronk was injured during the first quarter against University of Connecticut. Alex Deryn

After stalling on its first drive due to a fumble which led to UConn’s only points of the afternoon, IU scored on five of its next six drives on offense and took complete control of the game.

The Hoosiers run game, which has been the biggest head-scratcher for both the coaching staff and fans, looked more similar to last season’s consistent production that many expected than what IU has been able to muster in the first three weeks of the season. Sophomore running back Stevie Scott III,rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown against UConn, almost doubling his season total coming into the game.

IU head coach Tom Allen came into the game wanting to establish the run and consistently pound the ball on first and second down.

“To me, it was just a commitment to keep running the football,” Allen said. “If you run the ball on first and second down and you go for two yards and two yards, then you’re looking at third-and-six. That’s way easier to convert than third-and-ten.”

As a result of committing to the run early and consistently finding themselves in manageable yardage situations, IU didn’t have to force Ramsey to throw the ball deep and allowed him to work comfortably with short and intermediate passes.

After a blowout performance a week ago against then-No. 6 Ohio State in which Ramsey completed only 57.6% of his passes and didn’t throw a touchdown, he was able to rebound well against UConn. Ramsey completed 23 of 27 passes for 247 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the Huskies as he continues to lead the offense in freshman quarterback Michael Penix’s absence.

“Peyton was extremely accurate,” Allen said. “That’s what he does really, really well, so you’ve got to play to his strengths. You want to create those big plays that makes it easier for sure to score in chunks, but at the same time you’ve got to do what your team does well.”

The Hoosiers finished their out of conference schedule with a 3-1 record and now are looking to get three more wins during Big Ten play to become bowl eligible for the first time in the Tom Allen era.

“Coach DeBoer and Coach Allen both told us to think about who you’re playing for,” Westbrook said. “You play way harder and have a lot more passions, you fight a lot harder when it’s not just about you.”

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in Sports

Comments powered by Disqus