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Indiana Football dropped to 0-4 in Big Ten Play after Homecoming loss to Rutgers

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Indiana's Brendan Sorsby (15) takes a hard hit from Rutgers' Desmond Igbinosun (4) during the first half of the Indiana versus Rutgers football game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21. 2023. © Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

 Indiana football dropped to 0-4 in Big Ten play and 2-5 on the season after losing to Rutgers 31-14 on Saturday.

Just before kickoff, it was reported that redshirt freshman, Brendan Sorsby ,would be starting at quarterback for Indiana, but the offense still struggled under the command of the young quarterback.

Indiana’s offense came out to a hot start, with Sorsby avoiding a sack and throwing a 35 yard touchdown to Omar Cooper on 4th down during Indiana’s opening drive.

It looked like the Indiana offense had finally found something but that was not the case as Indiana would gain a total of 9 yards on the team’s next three drives.

Indiana would score their second touchdown of the game on a drive that was aided by a few Rutgers’ penalties in the second quarter, but they would not score again in the game.

While Indiana’s offense continued to struggle, the story in this one was the difference in time of possession as the Scarlet Knights had the ball over 15 minutes longer than the Hoosiers. Rutgers ended the game with  a total time of possession of 37:38  in comparison to Indiana’s 22:22 of offense.

Indiana’s inability to sustain drives or stop the run created the massive gap in time of possession.

Indiana’s continued struggles on third down were a big factor in this one. They went 2 for 11 on third down and only had one drive longer than 5 minutes.

Indiana’s offense did not score a point in the second half for the second straight week and showed little to no signs of improvement.

A lack of rest for the defense, due to a difference in time of possession caused fatigue, which led to defensive lapses against the run as Indiana struggled to make tackles.

Indiana allowed 276 yards on the ground, including a career best 143 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns from Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt. Rutgers running back, Kyle Monangai ,added 109 yards on 24 carries.

When asked about his team’s struggles against the run, Tom Allen emphasized Indiana’s struggles on early downs.

“Just didn’t do a good enough job on 1st downs, got too many 3rd and shorts,” Allen said asked about the run defense. “They had a big quarterback gain that we knew they would do, and yeah, just frustrating couldn’t get off.”

The game burst open when Rutgers quarterback, Gavin Wimsatt, broke off an 80 yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Allen emphasized that self-inflicted mistakes helped the Rutgers offense stay on the field.

“Had a couple drives that I thought we should have, and either there was a penalty or just poor execution and just got to play better. Just really can’t do that,” Allen said. “I know we’ve got to be able to get off the field defensively, and cannot give that kind of run game. It just bleeds the clock and bleeds your energy and keeps our offense off the field. Just tough.”

Indiana struggled to contain Wimsatt and Monangai as they both consistently pushed the pile forward for an extra 2-3 yards. Their struggles against the run were not the only issue for Indiana football, as special teams haunted the Hoosiers.

Indiana trailed 17-14 at the half, largely due to some critical mistakes on special teams. With the game tied at seven in the 2nd quarter, a blocking miscue led to a Rutgers blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown, giving them the lead.

“When they line up a certain way, we leave ourselves enough time on the play clock to do that,” Allen said about the blocking miscue that led to the blocked punt. “But they out-executed us in that regard, in regards to being able to get the call they wanted and us executing what we had called.”

Indiana made another bad special teams mistake late in the half. With less than 40 seconds left in the half, Indiana forced a stop on 3rd down, forcing a Rutgers punt from around midfield.

 Indiana head coach Tom Allen elected to call time out to try and preserve the clock and give his offense a second chance. Jaylin Lucas then muffed the punt, giving Rutgers the ball inside the red zone. Indiana would force a field goal that gave Rutgers a 17-14 lead at the half.

The 10 points allowed because of special teams’ mistakes dug Indiana a hole that they could not climb out of.

The same problems have continued to haunt Indiana football all season and Tom Allen believes the season might be slipping away.

“There’s no question. I don’t think I feel it,” Allen said when asked if the season is slipping away. “I think it’s a reality that you get to this stage of the year and you have this many losses.”

With Penn State on the schedule for next week, there is not much hope for Indiana football in the near future.

SEE ALSO: Coach Q&A: Tom Allen reacts to Indiana football’s loss to Rutgers

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Drew Rosenberg is staff writer for HoosierIllustrated.com and hosts 'The Talkin' Bout the Hoosiers Podcast' covering Indiana University athletics. Drew graduated from Indiana University's Sports Media program in 2024.

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