Indiana Daily Student

Indiana football loses second game of its season 35-21 against Nebraska

<p>Then-freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley looks for an open receiver during the game against Minnesota on Nov. 20, 2021, at Memorial Stadium. Indiana lost to the Nebraska 35-21 on Saturday night.</p>

Then-freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley looks for an open receiver during the game against Minnesota on Nov. 20, 2021, at Memorial Stadium. Indiana lost to the Nebraska 35-21 on Saturday night.

Indiana took to the road this week in Lincoln hoping to get its first away win of the season. Following an offensive-driven second half performance against the University of Cincinnati last week, the Hoosier offense did not carry its momentum over. Nebraska scored 14 unanswered in the second half to put Indiana away 35-21.  

Nebraska got the scoring started on its first drive of the game, going down the field in just three plays and finishing it off with a 34-yard pass from junior quarterback Casey Thompson to senior receiver Oliver Martin. 

After falling behind 21-7, Indiana came storming back to tie the game heading into the locker room. A strip sack of Nebraska freshman quarterback Chubba Purdy in the end zone during the second quarter resulted in a touchdown, giving Indiana a breath of life. 

“At the end of the first half, they couldn’t stop us,” Indiana redshirt junior quarterback Connor Bazelak said. “In the second half, we couldn’t do that, but it wasn’t because of them, it was because of us.” 

Bazelak finished his evening completing 22 of his 44 attempts for one touchdown and one interception for Indiana. 

[Related: COLUMN: Indiana football’s season might be crumbling before its eyes]

The Hoosiers came into the game without their two primary receivers in junior Cam Camper, who was out with an illness and senior DJ Matthews Jr. who is still recovering from an injury last week. Senior Emery Simmons filled in nicely in their absence catching six passes for 57 yards and one score. 

“Obviously, they’re huge parts of our offense," Bazelak said. “It’s tough not having them. We had some guys step up and make some plays, and I’ve got to be more accurate on some balls.” 

Miscues were the theme of the game, not only for Indiana but also for Nebraska. In a matchup that featured 23 combined penalties and three turnovers, both teams struggled to find rhythm until late in the second half. Nebraska pulled away following a 71-yard bomb from Thompson to junior wide receiver Trey Palmer which gave the Cornhuskers a 28-21 lead. 

Neither team was particularly strong on third down, but Indiana went just 2-15 in the contest when it mattered most. Plagued by penalties and pressure, the offense struggled to move the sticks. 

As the game reached its final minutes, Nebraska was able to march down the field with its run game, sapping the clock and finishing off the drive with the final touchdown of the night. In a second half where Indiana was shut out, it was clear the offense will need to adjust going into next week if it wants a chance to win. 

“This whole offense was just not good enough,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said. 

Indiana drops to 3-2 on the season heading into week six where they return home to face the Michigan for homecoming. 

Follow reporters Garrett Newman (@GarrettNewman20) and Jacob Spudich (@spudichjacob) and columnist Will Foley (@foles24) for updates throughout the game and the rest of the Indiana football season.

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