Despite nearly giving the game away with turnovers, the Hoosiers pulled out the victory thanks to a dominating defense, a field position advantage, and enough scoring opportunities to overcome the normal finishing drives ineptitude.
Zander Diamont started off with a huge 59 yard touchdown run on Indiana’s 4th play. It appeared that the Hoosiers might run all over Rutgers at that point. That did not develop as IU had just 2 other runs over 10 yards the rest of the way. IU’s explosive rush rate of 7.3% was the 2nd lowest output of the year and nearly half of the season average of 13.8%. Of the 159 rushing yards on designed rushing plays, 106 of them came on 3 plays.
It was actually the passing offense that put up the big numbers. Indiana had an explosive pass percentage of 16% compared to a season average of 12%. Nick Westbrook had receptions 41 and 22 yards. Mitchell Paige had receptions of 42 and 26 yards. Ricky Jones had one for 36, Camion Patrick flashed his potential with a 40 yard touchdown, and Donovan Hale added a 32 yard reception. Of receivers with 10+ targets this season, Donovan Hale has the highest yards per target on the team at 11.
Rutgers, on the other hand, continued a concerning trend for the IU defense. The Scarlet Knights had an explosive rush rate of 14%, the third highest that IU has allowed all season. After allowing an explosive run rate of 12% over the first 7 games, that number has jumped to 19% over the last 2 contests. While Rutgers only had 4 rushes of 10+ yards, they also only had 28 designed runs. The longest rush IU allowed was 30 yards.
Rutgers also had 4 explosive pass plays[ref]20+ yards[/ref] with 2 occurring on their first 2 pass attempts. Those 4 plays accounted for 158 of their 261 passing yards.[ref]Including sacks and scrambles[/ref]
|All (close)||Rushing (close)||Passing (close)|
Outside Indiana’s 3 longest rushes, the Hoosiers gained just 1.3 yards on 39 attempts. In one week, the Hoosiers went from a 65% rushing success rate against Maryland to a 20% success rate. This was down nearly half from the season long average of 39%. It was IU’s worst rushing success rate of the season. On 3rd and 3 or less, IU converted on just 1 of 4 rushes.
Indiana’s passing game was the area that kept the IU offense rolling. The Hoosiers had a 53% passing success rate, the 4th time IU has topped 50% this season. It appears that the offense will live and die by the efficiency of the IU passing game. Their passing success rate in wins is 51% compared to 42% in losses. The completion percentage tells the same story.
Indiana is 5-0 when Lagow completes better than 60% of his passes and 0-4 otherwise. He finished at 70% today, his highest as a Hoosier.
— Punt John Punt (@PuntJohnPunt) November 5, 2016
Lagow also did a great job at getting Indiana back on schedule after falling behind. On passing downs in which IU ran a pass play, the average yards to go was 9.4. Despite that, the Hoosiers had a successful play 54% of the time, the 2nd highest of the season in that situation.
The IU defense was simply dominant in this one, holding Rutgers to a 27% success rate overall. At one point in the second half, the Scarlet Knights ran 24 consecutive plays in their own territory. Not including the final first half, clock-killing possession, Indiana forced 10 3-and-outs[ref]One ended in the fumble recovery[/ref] including 7 in a row in the second half. That is perhaps the most controlling stretch that an IU defense has played in recent memory. Those 21 consecutive plays resulted in a total of 15 yards and a forced turnover.
|Avg Starting FP|
The Hoosiers had a huge average starting field position advantage with 4 drives starting in Rutgers territory compared to just 2 for the Scarlet Knights. Indiana started just 3 drives on or inside their own 25 yard line. Rutgers had 10 including their final 5 drives.
The 4 IU drives starting in opponent territory were the result of a blocked punt, fumble recovery, and 2 forced punts from inside the 10 yard line. Those 4 drives ended in 7 points…
|Scoring Opportunities||Points Per Opportunity|
For the Hoosiers, it has been quantity over quality. Indiana had a scoring opportunity on 13 of their 17 drives[ref]The final, kneel down drive is not included.[/ref] and finished with a horrible 2.5 points per opportunity. IU now ranks 126th out of 128 with 3.3 points per scoring opportunity.
Indiana actually started with 13 points on their first 2 scoring opportunities. They proceeded to score 0 on their next 5. The problems were as follows: interception, turnover on downs, fumble, turnover on downs, and blocked field goal.
Fortunately, the IU defense held Rutgers to just 6 scoring opportunities. Only two of these resulted in a touchdown. Three others resulted in a field goal attempt (two were made) and Indiana forced a turnover on downs.
It is safe to say if Indiana can’t finish their drives with touchdowns, and they’ve shown little ability to do so, it will be nearly impossible to beat Penn State.
|Turnovers||Turnover Points Added|
How do you almost lose to Rutgers despite out-gaining them by 216 yards? Turnovers, of course.
The first Lagow interception ended a potential scoring chance for IU.[ref]They probably would have missed a field goal anyway.[/ref] Zander Diamont’s fumble not only ended another IU drive deep into opponent territory, but resulted in a Rutgers touchdown. Thankfully IU’s opponent was Rutgers, because not many teams, especially the quality of IU, win despite a -3 turnover margin. Teams that lose the turnover margin by 3 or more lose 79% of the time.