On a day when Indiana was honoring college football hall of famer George Taliaferro, it was going to take a legendary effort for the underdog Hoosiers to pull the upset over Iowa.
Instead, a bigger and more disciplined Iowa team imposed their will. IU penalties and mistakes took care of the rest.
Early struggles out of the gate put the Hoosiers in a hole.
IU overcame their first mistake of the game, when a fumble on the run/pass option exchange between Peyton Ramsey and Stevie Scott nearly stalled the Hoosiers’ first drive. But the Hoosiers recovered the ball in first down territory and finished out the opening 13 play drive with a field goal and a 3-0 lead.
Iowa responded with a long first quarter drive of their own, aided by three IU penalties totaling 35 yards. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley hit his first of three first half touchdowns with a 9-yard pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson. The drive and the scoring play would foretell things to come.
IU had no answer for Iowa’s offense early in the game with steady mix of downfield throws and zone blocking run schemes. An 11-play Hawkeye drive capped off by a Stanley to tight end Noah Fant touchdown 28 yard touchdown pass extended the margin to 14-3.
Iowa looked to be ready to put the game seemingly out of reach early when head coach Tom Allen’s son and the recently passed Taliaferro simultaneously made an appearance. The younger Allen (Thomas), wearing No. 10 rather than his usual No. 44 stepped in front of a Stanley pass and returned the interception into Iowa territory. Allen gave up his usual jersey number as the Hoosiers paid tribute to Taliaferro with “44” decals on every helmet.
Just a couple plays later, Ramsey connected on a 33-yard touchdown to Ty Fryfogle to trim the margin to 14-10.
When Iowa struggled to field the ensuing kickoff, it looked like the Hoosiers might pin the Hawkeyes inside their own 10-yard line and further capitalize on the game’s momentum. Instead, Indiana had moments on that kickoff return and the resulting Iowa drive that seemed all to familiar to Hoosier fans.
The Iowa kickoff returner was able to field the ball at his own one, avoid multiple tacklers inside the 10, and get loose for 60 yards down the sideline. A couple plays later Marcelino Ball appeared to have Stanley wrapped up for a sack, but the big quarterback was able to escape and throw a touchdown pass on the run in the corner of the endzone for a 21-10 Iowa lead. The play put the momentum firmly back on the Hawkeyes’ side — and they would never relinquish it.
Iowa started the second half with consecutive scoring drives to jump out to a 35-10 lead as Stanley continued to expose the Indiana defense. Stanley ended the day with 320 yards and a career high six touchdowns, marking the second consecutive week that the Indiana defense has allowed six passing touchdowns. Stanley’s primary weapons were Fant and Hockenson, who both went over 100 yards on the day.
Indiana had the ball within the Iowa 10-yard line down 35-16 early in the fourth quarter, but a Ramsey interception in the end zone ended any hope of an IU rally.
Ramsey finished the day with 263 yards passing. The redshirt sophomore had one touchdown and two interceptions.
It won’t get any easier next week, as Indiana (4-3) stays home to face No. 8 Penn State on Saturday.
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