Following week one where the Indiana rushing attack struggled to find its footing, the Hoosiers were able to hit their stride Saturday night against the University of Idaho. After a slow first half of offense, they scored 35 points in the second half to defeat the Vandals. Leading the attack was senior running back Shaun Shivers.
Shivers ended the game with 20 carries for 155 yards and a score. A former player at Auburn University, Shivers decided to transfer away in hopes of receiving a more prominent role in 2022. He has found that with Indiana, as he is the primary back in the offense.
His running mate is fellow transfer and senior Josh Henderson, from the University of North Carolina. Henderson helped tote the rock with an additional seven carries for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Redshirt junior quarterback Connor Bazelak touched on the importance of a good running game post-game.
“It’s awesome, it takes pressure off of me obviously, in the passing game,” Bazelak said. “The o-line did a great job tonight and Shaun, Josh, Trent and Jaylin all did a great job in the backfield.”
Shivers had a couple big runs to help propel the Hoosiers’ offense throughout the game. As the lead back, he provided consistent positive yardage when the team needed it most.
Head coach Tom Allen detailed exactly what makes Shivers stand out.
“I think it’s consistency, ever since he came here he has brought juice to the weight room and energy to practice,” Allen said. “He really has a different mindset, that’s infectious, that’s what I love about him. He is tough as nails, you saw the hit he took last week, and he just came back and played.”
Following a game against Illinois where Indiana struggled to have any consistency moving the ball on the ground and finishing the game with 32 total rushing yards, the Hoosiers’ weekly preparation put an emphasis on changing that.
“We made it a priority and knew we had to,” Allen said. “We rushed for 239 yards total, which is really what you want to be able to do. Really proud of our offensive line, proud of our running backs and proud of the offense for doing that because that’s a big deal for us.”
Only time will tell if the Hoosier offense can continue to run the ball effectively, but Allen said it will continue to be an emphasis as the season continues.
“Running the football needs to be what we do effectively.”
Follow reporters Jacob Spudich (@spudichjacob) and Garrett Newman (@GarrettNewman20) and columnist Will Foley (@foles24) for updates throughout the game and the rest of the Indiana football season.