The first drive from Indiana football against the University of Idaho was slow-moving and methodical. Then the floodgates opened on all sides of the ball for Indiana.
The Hoosiers produced in nearly every aspect of the game in their 56-14 win over Idaho on Saturday. The Hoosiers had two special teams touchdowns, two blocked punts, one forced fumble and six offensive touchdowns.
The first drive started with graduate student running back Stephen Carr patiently looking for a hole before bursting through for a 17-yard gain. The Hoosiers ran 16 more plays, picking up yardage in chunks — a six-yard pass, a four-yard run.
The drive culminated in a two-yard rush into the end zone from Carr, completing a drive that lasted over eight and a half minutes. Carr had nine carries for 33 yards on the drive.
“You want to see the run game working,” Carr said in a postgame press conference. “That means the offensive line is putting all the pieces together, which allows for everybody to have a successful game. You’ve just got to pay attention to details.”
Two plays after the first touchdown, senior linebacker Micah McFadden sacked Idaho graduate student quarterback Mike Beaudry, forcing a fumble later recovered by Indiana’s graduate student lineman Weston Kramer.
It took two more plays for junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to find sophomore receiver Javon Swinton in the end zone, extending the Indiana lead to 14-0.
Swinton missed the game against Iowa to serve a one-game suspension for disciplinary issues, according to IU.
"I just feel like missing last week just gave me more hunger, more motivation to prove to everybody that I'm here to stay," Swinton said.
Swinton got back in on the action on special teams for the next drive when junior defensive back Noah Pierre blocked Idaho’s punt. Swinton recovered the ball four yards outside the end zone and returned it for another score.
“The plays that he made today, he makes them everyday,” head coach Tom Allen said. “He’s been one of our better receivers since he got here.”
After another long drive resulting in a second touchdown pass from Penix, Idaho went three-and-out and was forced to punt.
Graduate wide receiver D.J. Matthews Jr. had to catch Idaho’s 65-yard punt while running backwards before turning around and taking the ball 81 yards for a touchdown.
"I was definitely feeling it at the end,” Matthews said. “My legs got tired on me."
It was the first punt return at Indiana for Matthews, the all-time leader in punt return yards at Florida State University. Saturday was the first time since 1969 where Indiana had two special teams touchdowns in a game.
By the time junior quarterback Jack Tuttle entered the game in the third quarter, Indiana had entered garbage time, trying to run out the clock and putting its less experienced players on the field.
Tuttle finished the game with 91 yards passing, largely due to a 76-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end AJ Barner in the fourth quarter. The catch was the second of Barner’s career after a 2-yard reception against Iowa last week.
Even as the Hoosiers moved to run out the clock, they continued to spread production. Barner blocked a punt, Indiana’s second of the day, after the next Idaho possession.
That drive ended with a four-yard touchdown rush from junior running back Davion Ervin-Poindexter — the player who recovered the blocked punt.
“We wanna see everybody eating, no matter who’s in the game,” Carr said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m in the game, [Ervin-Poindexter’s] in the game, Chris [Childers]. We just want to see everybody eat.”
Indiana will return to Memorial Stadium to play the No. 7 University of Cincinnati at noon next Saturday.