Trailing by four with five minutes remaining, Indiana football was in the process of putting together a promising drive in hopes of regaining the lead. One fumble later, the game’s fate was sealed, marking four-straight losses for the Hoosiers.
The feeling should be nothing new for Indiana fans. A back-and-forth contest in which Indiana looks to have a chance before things go awry. It’s a theme which seems all-too repetitive with Indiana football, and it unfolded once again in the Hoosiers’ 38-33 loss to Maryland.
A win for Indiana would have been a nice momentum boost, especially considering the losing streak. Instead, the Hoosiers will return to the field next weekend against Rutgers in a state of desperation.
Indiana had a slew of things not go their way, and that started on its first play from scrimmage. Junior quarterback Connor Bazelak threw a lame duck which was intercepted, setting up an easy score and immediate 7-0 lead for the Terrapins.
The Hoosiers fought their way back, scoring a field goal in the first quarter and outscoring Maryland 14-7 in the second. Indiana had its first outright halftime lead since week one – all it needed was its first complete game.
Maryland delivered a punch in the mouth right out of the half, and a third straight scoreless second half looked bound to plague Indiana. The Terrapins scored on their first drive, then Bazelak once again started Indiana’s first drive with an interception.
But the Hoosiers settled down, and the offense played well from that point onward. In fact, it was Indiana’s most complete offensive performance this season.
Yet, it seems like there’s always a catch with this team, and this week it was the defense. After shutting down Maryland’s run game to 13 yards in the first half, the Terrapins ran wild in the fourth quarter for 127 yards.
Maryland’s dominant run game led to a couple of scores, giving the team a 31-27 lead with five minutes to go, leading to the story’s climax and Indiana’s demise.
A big kickoff return from freshman running back Jaylin Lucas set up Indiana in Maryland territory. Bazelak connected with junior wide receiver Andison Coby, who tried to make one too many moves and coughed up the ball.
Maryland scored once more and secured the game 38-33. Another weekend, another disappointing loss for the Hoosiers.
What’s the next step for this team to take? Areas of concern such as the offensive line and consistency looked better, yet they still couldn’t pull out a win.
It appears new problems emerged as others were resolved.
After Maryland junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa suffered a knee injury and left the game, freshman Billy Edwards Jr. replaced him.
Edwards Jr., a run-dominant quarterback, did not complete a single pass in the game. Yet the Hoosier defense was still unable to stop him and the Maryland run game.
With star senior linebacker Cam Jones’ foot injury likely to keep him sidelined for a while, Indiana’s defense is without its leader in the thick of its schedule.
The Hoosiers once again have a lot of questions to be answered, but there may not even be an answer. Instead, perpetual misery might be their fate.