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10/03/2022
Indiana lost to Nebraska, 35-21, on Oct. 2 in Lincoln. The Hoosier Network's Max Wood was there to capture the action.

Tommy's Three Takeaways: After Nebraska loss, Indiana faces tough road ahead

The offensive line continues to create problems for the Hoosiers

Indiana suffered its second loss of the season in the hands of the Nebraska Cornhuskers 35-21 Saturday night. The Hoosiers now fall to 3-2 on the season, with an absolute gauntlet coming up for the rest of the season.

Considering IU’s top two receivers DJ Matthews and Cam Camper were out for this game, I was impressed with how the offense performed at times. Emery Simmons and Javon Swinton showed flashes at the receiver position, as they broke off a couple of nice plays throughout the game. However, there are some things that need to be fixed as the toughest part of the schedule approaches.

Connor Bazelak simply needs more time in the pocket

It’s been a consistent problem the entire year, but it’s something that needs to get fixed immediately. On the scoring plays IU had against Nebraska, Bazelak had time to make the reads he needed to make and complete some big time passes. But when he didn’t have the time, plays went wrong and Indiana found itself in long-distance situations.

That goes for the running game as well. The Hoosiers found themselves averaging 2.9 yards per run, and once again were hurt by some inconsistent blocking from the offensive line. Especially against a Nebraska team who is ranked last in the Big Ten in team defense, allowing three sacks and six tackles for loss in unacceptable. This is a serious issue Tom Allen and company will need to tackle before a much more difficult challenge next Saturday.

Stopping the run will be crucial for the rest of the season

It was obvious that Mickey Joseph’s offensive game plan was to run the ball, and the Cornhuskers sure did just that. Nebraska running back Anthony Grant got 32 carries on the night, which is the most that he has received all season. Out of those carries, Grant gained 136 yards on the ground against the Hoosiers.

Indiana will see teams throughout this season who have just as good, if not a better rushing offense than Nebraska. One of them, Blake Corum of Michigan, will be the next test for the Hoosiers. Corum currently ranks third in the Big Ten in rushing, so the Hoosier front seven will need a big game if Indiana wants a shot of knocking off No. 4 Michigan.

It’s only going to get tougher from this point out

It’s safe to say that the first half and the second half of IU’s schedule are very different. The Hoosiers will face the elite of the Big Ten East the rest of the season. And that all starts this Saturday, with the reigning Big Ten East champion and No. 4 team in the country coming to Bloomington — the Michigan Wolverines. The game will be a noon kickoff and will air on FOX.

Along with Michigan, the Hoosiers will host a Maryland team who is proving to be a much better team than anticipated, the No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions, and visit the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus. If Indiana wants a chance to upset any of these teams along the way, the team will need to fix some things on both sides of the ball. 


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