COLLEGE PARK, MD.–The Indiana Hoosier football team (2-2) beat Akron on Saturday 29-27 in four overtimes, but the coaching staff and players have both said publicly that they know they must play better since Big Ten play for them begins this Saturday against the Maryland Terrapins.
Maryland is 4-0 and has beaten Indiana two straight times in the series. The most recent was last season when Indiana fell behind by 11 points and rallied but fell short 38-33.
Indiana scored 0 points in the first half against Louisville before they lost 21-14 in September 16. Then they only had 7 points in the first half against Akron September 23.
“That’s two weeks in a row where we didn’t play well offensively, so now you’ve got a pattern of that. We’ve got to be able to run the football. We did not do a good job of that at all. We didn’t finish blocks and we have to throw the football. Those are all things that we’re looking at this week and we’ll make adjustments,” said Indiana Head Football Coach Tom Allen in a news conference on Monday.
Akron had 262 rushing yards in the last game while Indiana had 92. Indiana’s offensive coordinator Walt Bell said they had some issues in pass protection against Akron too.
“It’s ultimately my responsibility that our players do their job well. I’m not going to sit up here and pass blame onto someone else. It’s my job to make them execute at a high level,” said Bell on Monday.
He says the Hoosier offense has an identity.
“We’re a run-first football team. There’s going to be an option element to it because there will be play action. Then it’s making sure that (quarterback) Tayven Jackson is comfortable and can find completions,” said Bell.
Jackson completed 11 of 26 passes against Akron and threw an interception. He was also sacked three times.
The Terrapins opened their conference schedule by handling Michigan State. They average 450.5 yards per game (most in the conference), 283.8 passing yards (2nd) and 37.3 points (2nd). Maryland’s defense has 7 interceptions and its turnover margin is +2.3 per game (2nd in the nation).
Indiana Defensive Coordinator Matt Guerreri knows his defense will be challenged, but he believes they are ready for it.
“The only way you have great defense is you have 11 pieces functioning as one. You’re operating like a machine. If there is any break down in a car or whatever it is, then it doesn’t function as well as it can,” said Guerreri.
Defensively, the Hoosiers have allowed 7 rushing touchdowns and have forced 0 fumbles. On the other hand, they have allowed just 1 passing TD, and has 6 interceptions.
Kickoff for the Maryland-IU game is at 3:30 pm EST on Saturday. Pregame coverage starts at 2:30 on 93.1 WIBC.
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