The nuances are always a little different. The results, pretty much the same.
There was an early Purdue touchdown that never should have been after a bad roughing the passer call on third down. There were the big plays from the Boilermakers’ electrifying freshman Rondale Moore. There was an IU offense that couldn’t finish drives against a middling Purdue defense.
There is really no sense in rehashing the details. The season is over. The results are the same. The same in the game, in the season, and now the same year over year.
And this isn’t about bad calls. Don’t let yourself believe that nonsense.
No, we’ve gone from a disappointing hiccup in 2017 to a new trend in Bloomington. Five and Seven. No Bucket. No postseason.
And when hiccups turn into trends, it’s time to make changes — before trends turn into decades.
Talent isn’t the issue here. Sure, there is a talent gap when you play Michigan and Ohio State. No one can argue against that. But Purdue? Minnesota? No chance. And Indiana’s recruiting is trending in the right direction.
Tom Allen’s defense took a step back this year. There is no denying that. But it was to be expected. With only three returning starters, it wasn’t reasonable to expect the defense to be the centerpiece of this football team the way it has been in recent years.
Moreover, Allen’s defense has shown a propensity to get takeaways. Takeaways that should shift the course of games.
Indiana is top 10 in the country taking the ball away. And many of those splash plays are being made by underclassmen. The future seems bright on that side of the ball.
Allen emphasizes takeaways because they should be and typically are game changing. But for the most part for IU in 2018, those takeaways didn’t change the course of games.
No, with starters returning nearly across the board, this was the season for the offense to carry the load. And candidly, they failed miserably.
This game against Purdue perfectly encapsulated the entire season for the Hoosier offense. Long drives, that eventually stall out, due to ____________. Insert: sack, penalty, conservative play calling, other mind numbingly frustrating event, all of the above. This is an easy one. We’ll accept any and all answers here.
Yes, IU put up some scores late to give the faithful a little false hope and presumably pad the stats a little. We don’t know. We didn’t check the stats. Don’t care, really. We aren’t falling for it.
The beauty of Kevin Wilson’s offense, and Matt Canada before him is that they were unique and dynamic. It rarely mattered who the opponent was. IU was going to score early and often with big splash plays.
They were offenses known by a name, like the pistol, or a trait, like blazing fast pace. This offense? We could give it a name, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for all ages.
Those IU offenses marginalized talent gaps, and helped decent but not great quarterbacks like Ben Chappell, Kellen Lewis, Tre Roberson and Richard Lagow orchestrate good offenses and put up gaudy statistics.
Nate Sudfeld was in a special class, but of course he thrived as well. But do you really believe that Peyton Ramsey is that much worse than Chappell and the others? We don’t.
There is nothing unique and dynamic about this Indiana offense. Nothing at all. It’s so plain vanilla boring that when IU has one game with explosive plays against Maryland, we collectively lose our minds with excitement and frustration all at once. Here we go! Where has this been? Why do I actually believe this will continue?
Truth be told, the book was out on how to stop this IU offense in week two. Keep everything in front of you and force them to sustain drives and earn any points they get. Way more often than not, it didn’t happen, and way more often than not, nothing changed.
It was certainly never enough to give the needed cover to a young defense. Or to capitalize on the takeaways they kept providing all year. Certainly not enough to fool Big Ten defensive coordinators who had a pretty good sense of what was coming week after week.
The bottom line — this Indiana offense isn’t fooling anyone. Yes, Whop Philyor would have helped. Morgan Ellison and Cole Gest would have added more depth to a young backfield. Michael Penix may have even ended up being the starter.
You can wonder about all that if you want. Not us. After a while, it is what it is. Enough is enough.
We’ll see you in 2019. Unless changes are made, you can expect another iteration of this same story next November, and the November after that.
That is, unless changes are made. And you and I know what needs to change.
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