BLOOMINGTON – Indiana began its preparation for Navy's triple-option offense in the spring, and it carried that into fall camp, as well. The Hoosiers played a Thursday game against Indiana State in Week 1 to give themselves extra time to prepare for the Midshipmen's distinct style.
It didn't help.
Navy gained 444 yards on 70 rushing attempts and carved up the IU defense in a 41-35 win Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
The Hoosiers stopped Navy from scoring on just one of its completed drives in the loss.
When the teams faced off in 2012, the Midshipmen (1-0) won 31-30 in Annapolis, Md. This time around, they had scored 31 just 2:48 into the second half.
The Hoosiers (1-1) lost the possession time battle by 6:20 in the first half and trailed 24-14 after the first two quarters.
Sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld came in after two stalled series by redshirt sophomore Tre Roberson. He led IU into its red zone before an interception ended the drive.
After a 13-yard run by running back Tevin Coleman, in his second series, Sudfeld completed a 21-yard pass to tight end Ted Bolser. He followed that with a 45-yard bomb to wideout Kofi Hughes, who reeled in the pass for a score. The three-play drive covered 79 yards in 1:03.
With his team down 24-7 and 4:47 left in the half, Sudfeld was surgical.
The 6-foot-5 signal caller took IU 80 yards on 10 plays and was 6 for 8 on the drive, which ended on a 6-yard touchdown to Bolser. It was Bolser's third touchdown of the season and took the game clock to 1:37.
But the defense, porous from the start, continued that trend in the second half and let the Midshipmen strolled downfield time and time again.
Navy converted three fourth-down tries, gained seven yards per play and put up 6.5 yards per rush.
The Midshipmen scored on seven of their eight red zone trips. And sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran 127 yards for three touchdowns on 32 carries.
The atrocious defensive effort overshadowed a strong game from Sudfeld and the Hoosier offense.
Sudfeld finished the game 31 for 42 with an interception, 363 passing yards and a pair of touchdown passes Bolser, one to Hughes and another to slot receiver Shane Wynn. Of his 11 incompletions, two were drops.
Sudfeld also ran for 35 yards to lead the team in rushing.
Thanks to him, Indiana had a chance in the fourth quarter. The Hoosiers trailed 41-35 and went for an onside kick after Sudfeld's second touchdown pass to Bolser.
Mitch Ewald's kick was perfect. The ball bounced into the outstretched hands of IU's Nick Stoner.
He dropped it. The ball bounced out. Navy got it back.
IU was again broken by a matter of inches on the ensuing drive. With two timeouts, the Hoosiers stopped Navy twice, then gave up a nine-yard gain on third down to make it fourth and one.
Reynolds kept it. He stayed up through a tackle, his knee almost touching the ground. He got two yards and kept the drive alive.
The Midshipmen ran out the clock after that.