BLOOMINGTON — It wasn’t pretty, but Indiana defeated Akron on Saturday evening by a final score of 29-27 in four overtimes.
Here’s our rapid reaction thoughts on how the Hoosiers got it done.
Indiana (2-2) will travel to Maryland next weekend as they resume Big Ten play.
1. The defense created takeaways, and scored. IU’s goal for every game is to create three takeaways, and for the first time this year they got it done. A pick-six by Louis Moore was a difference maker, giving Indiana a 14-10 second half lead. He had two interceptions on the night, and Phillip Dunnam added one as well. The Hoosiers also had two sacks and six tackles for loss.
Indiana’s defense also got stops on Akron’s final three overtime possessions.
But it was by no means a flawless night for the defense, a unit that gave up 474 yards and a late fourth quarter 71-yard touchdown run to tie the game — and then survived an Akron missed field goal as regulation ended.
With the offense struggling, the IU defense was on the field for 84 plays.
2. Responding to adversity. Akron converted an onside kick in the third quarter after scoring a touchdown and taking a 10-7 with 10:32 left in the third quarter. Starting the drive at their own 44, the Zips had a chance to go up by two scores in the second half. But Indiana was able to create a turnover on downs when Akron went for it on 4th-and-7 at the IU 33. After an IU punt, the Moore pick-six came on Akron’s next drive.
Akron also scored first in the first overtime, but Indiana responded with a Tayven Jackson to Cam Camper TD pass.
3. Winning despite the offense. Indiana’s offense was inept for most of the evening. After an impressive game against Louisville, quarterback Tayven Jackson struggled, completing just 11-of-26 passes for 190 yards. The Hoosiers weren’t able to get Jaylin Lucas meaningfully involved. He had no catches on the night after snaring 10 last week. The Hoosiers were just 3-of-14 on third down, and Akron had nearly a 10 minute edge in time of possession.
Indiana also struggled again in short yardage situations at the goal line.
If you’re looking for the bright side, here’s the touchdown that sealed the game for IU in overtime:
The touchdown that sealed the win for @IndianaFootball despite FOUR OT’s. 😳😤
— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) September 24, 2023
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