Last Saturday Indiana suffered its fourth loss of the season to the Maryland Terrapins 38-33 at Memorial Stadium. The Hoosiers now fall to 1-3 in the Big Ten and sit tied for second to last place in the Big Ten East.
It was quite the frustrating loss for this team, as it had many opportunities to win the game. Especially with the Hoosiers having the lead with less than halfway to go in the fourth quarter, Taulia Tagovailoa going out for the Terrapins, and being at home, it’s evident this should have been a win for Indiana. Here are some other takeaways I have from last Saturday.
Indiana needs Cam Jones on defense
Tackling was a big issue on defense throughout the game for Indiana. The speed and agility of the Maryland offense simply seemed to be too much for Tom Allen’s defense, and having a leader and talented defender like Jones may have changed the result of the game.
Despite missing Saturday’s game, Jones still sits near the top of the Big Ten in total tackles with 54 on the season. So having a playmaker like him would have most certainly helped in stopping Tagovailoa and the Maryland offense. Tom Allen said last week before the Maryland game that it would be “several weeks minimum” before Jones’ return, so the rest of the defense will have to step up in his absence.
Emery Simmons is emerging as a key component to this offense
A bright spot of Saturday’s game was yet another impressive performance from wide receiver Emery Simmons. Simmons had six catches for 99 yards, which was his third straight game with six or more catches.
The transfer from North Carolina’s route running and deep threat make him such a complete receiver. There were many times that Connor Bazelak could count on Simmons to make a play because of the separation he created with the Maryland corners on his routes. He’s certainly a player to watch as the season goes on, and I think we could definitely see his role increase as the importance of these games increase.
Next Saturday is a must win for bowl eligibility
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights stand as the only team in the Big Ten win without a conference win. If the Hoosiers want any shot at qualifying for bowl eligibility, they must win this game considering the rest of the schedule that they have ahead of them.
After a bye week, the Hoosiers will face Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan State on the road, and end the season with Purdue at home. If Indiana loses this Saturday’s game, it will be extremely hard to qualify for a bowl game this year.