After a breakout freshman season, opposing defenses were keyed in on Stevie Scott to start the 2019 campaign.
But after a sluggish start, Scott found his groove, aided by a Hoosier passing attack that proved too potent to ignore.
Part of the Scott’s evolution during his sophomore season was his on role on the passing attack. The New York native caught 26 passes for 211 yards as the bruising back became a weapon both on the ground and through the air.
With more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns, Scott played a significant role in Indiana’s 7-3 start to the 2019 season. But he didn’t get to see it all the way through.
An injury in week 11 cost Scott the remainder of the season, including the memorable regular season finale win at Purdue, and IU’s appearance in The Gator Bowl on Jan. 2.
Watching those exciting late season moments play out on the sidelines was difficult for Scott.
“Those were very hard times having love for the game and not being able to play with the team, especially having the good season that we did and going to a bowl game,” Scott said on a video conference on Wednesday. “It was very tough.”
Scott is healthy again and now looking forward to helping IU do something it hasn’t done in 26 years — reach back-to-back bowl games.
This time Scott wants to be on the field when the Hoosiers play a thirteenth game.
“I definitely want to help the team get ranked again like we did last year,” Scott said. “It was tough not playing in the bowl game this year but definitely trying to get back to another bowl game next year.”
A 6-foot-2 and 231 pounds, Scott is first a foremost a power running back. That bruising style led him to a better than 5.5 yards per carry average over his last six games of 2019, and already 1,982 yards rushing for his IU career. That two year total puts Scott ahead of where IU all-time rushing yardage leader Anthony Thompson was at this stage of his career.
But Thompson logged nearly 3,500 yards over his last two seasons. Scott would have to find another level to make a run at history, and the conditions haven’t been optimal to prepare for such a feat.
Coming off of the injury, and confined at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the offseason has presented significant challenges for Scott as he prepares his body for the 2020 season.
Replacing the normal training routines in Bloomington has been familiarity at home. And while different, there have been positives for Scott.
“I’ve been working with my father,” Scott said. “We’ve been building a bond lately. Me and him have been working out and just talking over a lot of things.”
Working out at home, Scott has been forced to train with what he has available.
That has meant an emphasis on the finer details of both his running game, and his body.
“I’ve been doing a lot of core workouts, trying to build my inner strength up,” Scott said. “You know weights are good and all, but if you have that core strength that’s really powerful. Going to the field, trying to get my footwork right, going over the little things and trying to prepare myself.”
It has been a frustrating, and strange journey for Scott since he last saw the field on Nov. 23 against Michigan.
But he is confident that he will be ready to go when play resumes this fall.
And he knows his teammates will be ready to prove that 2019 was no fluke.
“I got faith that me and my guys can play with anybody in the nation,” Scott said. “Just keep winning and keep striving for greatness.”
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