Indiana out to start anew against Idaho after disappointing opener
Coming home could be just the tonic Indiana needs to shake off a disappointing loss to start the 2021 season.
The Hoosiers (0-1) will play in front of fans at Memorial Stadium for the first time since 2019 when they host FCS opponent Idaho on Saturday in Bloomington.
Not much went right for Indiana, then ranked No. 17, in a 34-6 loss at then-No. 18 Iowa to open the season last Saturday. Starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, and the offense was held to single digits for the first time since Oct. 21, 2017, in a 17-9 loss at Michigan State.
With the 28-point loss, Indiana fell out of the Top 25 for the first time since Oct. 26, 2020. Indiana was ranked to open the season for the first time since 1968.
“Bottom line for me is it’s how you respond to this kind of situation,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “So that’s going to be the focus, and love our guys, believe in them, and excited to see them learn from the things that happened on Saturday and press on and move forward.”
There’s plenty to clean up. The Hoosiers gave away 20 points on three turnovers and were penalized seven times for 66 yards. Indiana didn’t give Penix much support in the run game as well, rushing for just 77 yards on 2.5 yards per carry. Defensively, the Hoosiers gave up a 56-yard TD run to Iowa’s Tyler Goodson on the opening series because they didn’t line up properly.
“We just didn’t execute when we needed to, at the times we needed to,” Penix said. “There’s a lot of plays we left on the field. But we know we’re going to make sure we get those corrected this week and keep pushing forward.”
Idaho (1-0) is coming off a 68-0 win over Division II Simon Fraser. The Vandals amassed 593 yards of offense while posting their first shutout since 2010. Running back Roshaun Johnson rushed for 87 yards on 10 carries with three TDs as Idaho ran for 316 yards.
In contrast to Indiana, Idaho played a crisp game in its season debut, finishing with just 15 yards of penalties.
“We played clean football, the way it should be played,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “Don’t beat yourself, no matter who you play.”
–Field Level Media