The Crimson Defeats the Cream in a Bizarre Indiana Spring “Game”

We will have to wait until the fall to see the shiny new fully enclosed Memorial Stadium due to forecasted inclement weather.  Meanwhile, the Indiana Football 2018 Cream and Crimson Game was played inside the Mellencamp Pavilion just around the corner, and the game was about as close to the real thing as Mellencamp is to Memorial.

It is never easy to decipher much from a spring game, with split rosters, inactive players and special rules.  That was especially the case in today’s game, as the Cream and Crimson squads only played for two quarters, and the score of the game was influenced by a field goal kicking contest.

The game started off with a more traditional football feel, as the teams traded scoring drives.  Crimson QB Peyton Ramsey ran it in from 55 yards out to start off the scoring.  It was interesting to see Ramsey take off into the open field, as IU head coach Tom Allen had specifically said yesterday that his fleet footed quarterbacks would not be carrying the ball.  Perhaps Ramsey caught the Cream defense off guard as well.  He attributed the run to instincts once he got going.

The Cream team, led by freshman quarterback Michael Penix, responded.  Penix hit tight end Austin Dorris for a 20 yard gain down the sideline to advance the ball to the Crimson 5.  Running back Ricky Brookins punched it from there.  The game was tied at seven after one quarter.

That’s when things started to get strange, at least by traditional football standards.  Between quarters, and again at the half, the teams held a field goal competition with the kicks counting on the scoreboard.  After the first quarter the Crimson team kicked 4 of 4 and the Cream 3 of 4 to extend the Crimson lead to 22-16.

In 2nd quarter action the Crimson team responded with an acutal 45 yard field goal by Jared Smolar to take a 10-7 lead, or was it 25-16?  The latter is what the scoreboard said at halftime, and then another kicking competition ensued, with both teams going 4 of 4 to give the Crimson a 37-28 lead.

At that point we were informed that the score was final, and the second half would be a non-scoring scrimmage.  Yep, it was an odd day inside an odd building to be trying to host anything resembling a real game.  Perhaps more bizarre than anything was the fact that it never really stormed outside, and by the time the “game” was over, it was a pleasant sunny spring afternoon in Bloomington.

Irrespective of our impression of the spring contest, the more factor is whether head coach Tom Allen believes the team accomplished something.  You can listen to his views here:

From an X’s and O’s and player analysis perspective, it was difficult to pick up much of any real significance on the day.  The vantage points for the media were poor as we were all confined to standing on the sidelines from the 30 yard lines down to the east end zone.

Ramsey’s legs look good on the TD run.  Penix appeared to have good poise in the pocket and quick feet to escape pressure.  Nothing seemed to be answered as it relates to the 3-man quarterback competition.  Arizona graduate transfer QB Brandon Dawkins did not play.  Expected top running back and wide receiver Morgan Ellison and Nick Westbrook also did not play.

The Indiana defense, which has the most holes to fill after losing important players such as Tegray Scales and Rashard Fant, looked solid, and generally imposed its will.  Given that it was a spring game where tackling is often lackluster, perhaps there is reason to be optimistic that Tom Allen can continue to get the most out of his defensive unit.


Indiana announced the following spring practice awards after the game:

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