On one hand, Indiana did enough to win. The Hoosiers outgained Duke by 131 yards. They slowed down the Blue Devil passing game. Indiana looked like the better team.
However, as Kevin Wilson stated following the game, the Hoosiers didn’t do enough. Indiana failed to win the turnover margin and while they both had 3, IU’s proved to be slightly more costly.
Indiana allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown.
The Hoosiers failed to put the game away, particularly in the 4th quarter and overtime with 2 three-and-outs and 2 missed field goals.
As a result the Hoosiers are still winless in a bowl since the 1991 Copper Bowl.
Duke didn’t have a ton of explosive plays.[ref]By IU defensive standards.[/ref] Just 4 plays went for 20+ yards including just once through the air. However, the Hoosiers allowed a pair of big runs, 85 and 73 yards, which resulted in Duke touchdowns. It was the same sort of runs that plagued the Indiana defense all season.
Indiana had explosive plays much more frequently although none reached the level of Duke’s 2 big plays. Nate Sudfeld had passes of 55 yards to Simmie Cobbs and 50 yards to Ricky Jones. On the ground, Devine Redding produced an explosive play of 10+ yards on 20% of his carries.
|All (close)||Rushing (close)||Passing (close)|
The biggest difference here was the efficiency of the passing games. Indiana finished at 50% compared to just 32% for Duke. The Blue Devils were particularly inefficient in the 2nd half posting just a 29% passing success rate. Sudfeld, on the other hand, recorded a 39% success rate through his 2nd interception. From that point on he finished with a 57% success rate.
On the ground, both teams had 49% success rates. For Indiana, Devine Redding led the way with 227 yards behind a 54% success rate. One of the things that I have knocked Redding for is his relatively low success rate.[ref]Although compared to Jordan Howard, most RBs success rates would seem low.[/ref] The 54% was a season high and hopefully indicates his potential with an increased workload in 2016. His season average was just 35% and only 3 games[ref]Southern Illinois, Wake Forest, and Duke[/ref] was he over 40%.
|Avg Starting FP|
Only 1 time did either team start a possession in opponent territory. Duke started at the Indiana 19 yard line following Mitchell Paige’s punt return fumble. Three plays later Duke was in the end zone. Take out that starting field position and Duke’s starting field position was the 28, pretty similar to Indiana’s.
|Scoring Opportunities*||Points Per Opportunity|
Both teams had lots of opportunities in this high scoring affair. Neither team was particularly effective at putting the game away. Duke settled for and made 3 field goals including the game winner in overtime. Thomas Sirk also threw 2 interceptions inside the IU 40 and was stopped on a 4th and 1 run at the IU 18.
Meanwhile, Duke foiled IU’s first scoring opportunity with an incomplete pass on 4th and 6 at the Duke 34. The Hoosiers’ next drive, 3rd overall, ended with a Nate Sudfeld interception on 1st and 10 at the Duke 13. If you are tracking at home, Indiana’s first 2 scoring opportunities resulted in 0 points. Following another interception,[ref]Although this one did not occur in a position deemed a “scoring opportunity”[/ref] the Hoosiers got into gear. Their next 6 drives resulted in 5 scoring opportunities and 31 points. In the final quarter, IU had just 2 scoring opportunities out of 6 drives. Sometimes it is not whether you finish drives with touchdowns, field goals, or missed changes, but how many opportunities you actually give yourself. Indiana was unable to give themselves enough chances down the stretch.
|Turnovers||Turnover Points Added|
Both teams turned it over 3 times sometimes foiling scoring opportunities and other times giving the opponent great field position. Nate Sudfeld tied his season high with 2 interceptions. It is worth noting that Indiana only won 1 game, against Florida International, in which Sudfeld tossed an interception. Not including the Ohio State game that he missed the 2nd half, the Hoosiers were 5-1 in games he did not toss a pick. This doesn’t reflect on Sudfeld as much as it illustrates the pressure the offense faced due to the defensive limitations. His margin for error needing to outscore opponents was so small throughout the year and he was still able to deliver Indiana’s first bowl game since 2007.