Indiana football got off to a promising start for the fifth-consecutive time. Can you guess the outcome of each of those contests?
The Hoosiers are stuck on repeat every weekend they take the field: a good start followed by beyond-imaginable self implosion. To put it bluntly, the result of these losses is marked by disappointment and embarrassment.
Indiana’s 45-14 loss against Penn State Saturday belongs in the second category. In a game filled with quarterback drama, the inevitable beatdown could not be escaped.
With junior starting quarterback Connor Bazelak in street clothes and out with a presumed injury, the question to beg was who would start for Indiana. The two likely candidates were senior Jack Tuttle and sophomore Dexter Williams II – Tuttle time prevailed.
In his first start in nearly a year, Tuttle dazzled early both in the air and on the ground. Yet the offense went stale, and as it has throughout the season, the offensive line failed to protect.
Tuttle was sacked four times, and the fourth sack resulted in a shoulder injury which knocked him out of the game. The drama only continued. Instead of Williams, it was freshman Brendan Sorsby who took the field.
Sorsby’s time resulted in nothing, which finally prompted the switch to Williams. Like his predecessor, Williams was unable to produce much with the lackluster offense.
The sight of three quarterbacks for Indiana is a familiar one, having experienced the occurrence twice last season. Indiana experienced a blowout loss in both games.
Although there was an obvious talent gap between the Hoosiers and Nittany Lions, it isn’t any more reassuring when the same problems continue to hinder Indiana. Instead, they were exploited more than usual.
The offensive line once again collapsed, allowing six sacks – all of which came in the first half. Having already made a coaching change in the position and continually adjusting the line, it’s become clear that the pivotal position group is a lost cause.
Head coach Tom Allen and the coaching staff’s decision to start Tuttle over the younger Sorsby and Williams can be interpreted in several ways – including one where Allen questions the future of Indiana’s quarterback.
Tuttle already has his name in the transfer portal and likely will leave the program the following season, so why not start either underclassman to gain experience for the coming seasons? Does the coaching staff not believe in either guy as the future of the program?
After the game, Allen claimed both Sorsby and Williams will be a big part of Indiana’s future. While the decision to give Tuttle the starting nod contradicts that, only time will tell.
Indiana’s defense followed its typical trend as well. The Hoosiers held on early before being overpowered and worn out, which led to a flood of points from the Nittany Lions.
The manner in which the defense was beat replicated the rest of the season – allowing big plays through the air and being run over and missing tackles on the ground.
Indiana fans have anticipated some sort of change as the season has unfolded. A change of scheme, new faces or something different to salvage the season.
While new faces saw the field today, the result stayed the same. Down to three games remaining on its schedule, time is running out for Indiana.
Six weeks ago, the Hoosiers were well on their way to a bowl game and the opportunity to finish above .500. Now, one win to break out of this cycle may be their ceiling.