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Three takeaways from IU football’s Media Monday


Junior wide receiver Whop Philyor celebrates with redshirt sophomore tight-end Peyton Hendershot after a play Oct. 12 in Memorial Stadium. IU defeated Rutgers 35-0. Alex Deryn

Following IU’s first Homecoming win since 2010, IU head coach Tom Allen, coordinators and select players met with the media Monday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

IU dominated Rutgers to capture its first conference win but failed to play with consistent energy throughout the game. The Hoosiers picked up their fourth win of the season and look to continue with this momentum into the second half of the regular season. IU’s next game is this Saturday at Maryland.

Here are three takeaways from Monday.

The defense responded with its second shutout of the season

For the second time this season and the fourth time under Allen, the Hoosier defense pieced together a shutout win.

In three of IU’s four wins, it’s held its opponents to three points or less, but in its two losses the defense has been the culprit of the team’s shortcomings.

With a bye week to think about what happened at Michigan State before playing Rutgers, IU’s defense has once again started playing at the standard it made for itself.

“We’ve created not only sacks, but pressure in the backfield,” defensive coordinator Kane Wommack said. “I thought Saturday was just a good exhibition of just good, fundamentally sound football defensively and playing with fanatical effort.”

Rutgers freshman quarterback Johnny Langan was held to just one passing yard on 5-of-13 passing Saturday. After the game, Wommack’s father joked he’d be able to measure their yards per pass in inches. 

“We’re taking away quarterbacks’ throwing lanes which I think is why we’ve seen such a limited production in the passing game over these last few weeks,” Wommack said.

Riggins departs from the program, and Littlejohn’s injury is not serious

Allen announced the departure of Juan Harris from the program following Saturday’s win, and he announced the same fate of A’Shon Riggins on Monday. 

Riggins, a former defensive back, had been battling injuries. The Cincinnati-native made 16 starts at cornerback in his first three seasons.

“He's an awesome young man,” Allen said. “He's going to continue to help the program and be with us, but he won't be playing anymore because the medical situation, but he'll graduate.”

Senior offensive lineman Hunter Littlejohn suffered an injury in Saturday’s win, but Allen doesn’t expect him to miss any time because of it.

“Just a lower leg injury, don't think it's serious,” Allen said. “We'll get him out there as much as possible, and he'll get ready, but I expect him to play. He's a toughy.”

The O-line continues to mesh while developing a rushing attack

Excluding IU’s showing against Ohio State, its offensive line has prided itself on protecting redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr. 

Saturday, however, the Hoosiers’ front five got involved in the run game with lane-making blocks. 

For the first time this season, sophomore running back Stevie Scott eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in a game, something he did six times as a freshman. IU totaled 260 rushing yards as a team, but that all starts with the offensive line’s blocking. 

“When we have that going, there’s a lot that can happen,” IU offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer said.

When the offensive line has been forced to play without guys like Littlejohn or senior Coy Cronk, the five guys on the field bond together to communicate and work as one team.

“It’s the next man up mentality,” DeBoer said. “We know what works best with certain groups of guys on the field. I was impressed with how the offensive line took it upon each other again to make up for what we just lost like with Coy.”

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