BLOOMINGTON – The defense clamped down, the offense revved up and Indiana got a crucial 42-10 win against Bowling Green in front of 41,869 fans Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Other than a badly protected punt that turned into a block and a Falcons touchdown, as well as a few stalled possessions on the goal line early, the Hoosiers (2-1) were in sync on all levels against Bowling Green (2-1).
We had a lot of respect for Bowling Green coming in – a couple good wins, IU coach Kevin Wilson said of the Falcons, who beat two teams that had 11 wins last season. I’m just proud we responded. Not great in all phases, but pretty good across the board.
A Falcons squad that averaged 37.5 points was held to a field goal by an IU defense that gave up 35 points and 444 rushing yards to Navy a week ago. The Hoosiers offense had 601 total yards and three players with more than 100 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld got the first start of his career Saturday and was 17-for-26 passing for 335 yards and two touchdowns. His primary target was receiver Cody Latimer, who entered the game with five catches for 73 yards over two games.
The 6-foot-3 junior, who led IU in receiving last season, broke out for 137 yards and a touchdown on six catches.
The offense did a great job, and the defense had a heck of a game, Latimer said. It just came to me. I was just doing what I had to do, and the quarterback threw me the ball.
The defense showed much improvement after being dismantled by the Midshipmen in Week 2.
The Hoosiers held Bowling Green to 8 of 20 on third down and gave up just 136 rushing yards to a team that averaged 226 yards a game entering Saturday.
We knew we had to go out and prove ourselves that we’re a real good defense, said senior linebacker David Cooper, whose unit surrendered just 3.8 yards per carry. We know we got to go out and prove everybody wrong and do what we do best, which y’all saw today.
IU was also sound in coverage, with seven pass breakups between junior cornerback Tim Bennett and redshirt sophomore corner Michael Hunter.
The Hoosiers gave up 273 passing yards, nabbed an interception and got two sacks against Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson and his backup, Matt Schilz.
It didn’t start well, but the IU offense started to click, its defense remained stout and IU reeled off 35 unanswered points against the Falcons.
Putting up a dominant performance gives IU something to build off of with an SEC team, Missouri, coming to Bloomington on Saturday.
Today was a good team win, and except for the blunders on the goal line, there was a lot of positive things going, Wilson said. We’re growing, we’re learning, we’re figuring it out, and we got a lot of figuring to do.