Hoosiers improve to 4-1 with 24-17 win at Rutgers

by | Sep 30, 2018 | Football Blogs, Headlines, RRSN News | 0 comments

PISCATAWAY, NJ – Anybody affiliated with Indiana’s Kelley School could have related.

Business? Taken care of.

(And sometimes it’s a really good thing to have a coach’s son at quarterback).

Indiana’s football team came away with  24-17 win Saturday afternoon at Rutgers – holding on after building a 24-7 halftime lead via a decisive 17-0 second quarter.

But the win was what mattered most.

The result marked the program’s first Big Ten road-opening win since a 38-20 result at Iowa in 2007, 11 years ago to the day.

That was the last year IU posted a winning season in football. Big Ten road wins help forge that sort of thing.

After a defensive stumble on the game’s opening series, Indiana quickly found its stride to dominate the balance of the first half.

A roughing-the-passer personal foul on Dameon Willis Jr. prevented a three-and-out with no yards gained on Rutgers’ opening drive. Two snaps later, Raheem Blackshear went 36 yards around left end.
Blackshear then converted a 3rd-and-12 to the IU 12. It was a 3rd-and-9 from the 11, Artur Sitkowski found Shameen Jones despite close coverage from Bryant Fitzgerald for the TD at the 10:46 mark.

“The first drive was disappointing,” Hoosier head coach Tom Allen said on the radio post-game. “Should have gotten off the field.

“The rest of the half, we played great. Offense, defense, special teams. Never punted. Scored every time we had the ball.”

Rutgers’ defense returned the favor a bit on Indiana’s first series. Interference and defensive holding calls converted third downs for the Hoosiers leading to Stevie Scott’s 16-yard touchdown gallop at 7:33 to tie it at 7-7.

It was Scott’s first carry of the game and he ran right through an attempted tackle by strong safety Damon Hayes near the line of scrimmage.

After an apparent swing-pass TD to Scott was ruled down at the half-yard line, Ramsey scored from there on the first snap of the second quarter to give the Hoosiers a lead they wouldn’t lose and cap an 18-play march that ate up 88 yards.

The Hoosiers went 75 yards on 10 plays to score again with 9:21 left in the half as J-Shun Harris II hauled in his first TD pass since his freshman year, this one from 2 yards out as the Hoosiers flooded the zone to the right.

Harris, who has overcome three ACL injuries, helped the Hoosiers overcome the injury-related absences of fellow wideouts Luke Timian and Whop Philyor by leading all receivers with seven catches Saturday.

True freshman Jamar Johnson’s first career interception gave IU the ball back with 4:15 left in the half and the Hoosiers moved into position for a 44-yard Logan Justus field goal that ended the half’s scoring.

Indiana hasn’t done much with drives to open third quarters this season and Saturday was no exception.

But IU still seemed comfortable as the fourth quarter began, moving the ball to midfield before Scott fumbled, losing the ball to Rutgers’ Deonte Roberts at the Hoosier 45 with 12:00 to play.

A 39-yard halfback pass from Isaih Pacheo to tight end Jerome Washington then set up a 1-yard TD run by Jonathan Hilliman that pulled Rutgers within 24-14 with 10:40 left.
Indiana failed to convert on a 4th-and-9 at the Rutgers 18 after a 7-play march, as Damon Hayes went up for an interception.

Rutgers then responded well enough to set up a 52-yard field goal from Justin Davidowicz with 3:53 left that created the final margin.

The Scarlet Knights chose to kick off deep.

And that’s when having a coach’s son such as Ramsey calling signals came in handy.
Indiana faced a 4th-and-1 at its own 34 with about two minutes left.

“We lined up in a set trying to get them offsides, and we did,” Allen recalled. “And then it was a great, heads up play there at the end by our quarterback that enabled us to finish it off.”
Ramsey saw Rutgers jump offsides and, realizing he had a free play, waived tight end Peyton Hendershot (who had come up with a circus catch during the third quarter).

When Hendershot hauled in the pass along the sidelines for 25 yards, the game was essentially over. Rutgers was out of timeouts and, with just 1:49 left, the Hoosiers were able to keep the ball as time expired.

Ramsey finished with 27-of-40 passing (.675) for 288 yards and a TD. He also ran 10 times for 51 yards and a score.

“He’s been awesome,” Allen said of Ramsey. “So tough and gritty. Makes good decisions. Knows where to put the ball. So effective rolling out.

“There’s a reason why he’s our quarterback. He has all the things you want and he’s getting better and better.”

Allen was less sanguine about his offense’s overall showing after halftime.

“We didn’t score a point in the second half,” Allen lamented. “Not good enough. I was pretty upset the whole half. Wanted to establish the run. Saw a bit at times, but not good enough.

“The strategy (after halftime) was to come out and win the game. Didn’t finish. Gave up that halfback pass. Offensively, didn’t protect the football and didn’t finish.”

IU (4-1) still finished with a 451-291 total yardage advantage. Rutgers completed just 53 percent of its passes. The Hoosiers converted 11-of-18 on third downs compared to just 4-of-12 for Rutgers.

Up next, No. 4-ranked Ohio State hosts the Hoosiers for a 4 p.m. national television (FOX) kickoff Saturday.

“Anytime you come on the road and get a win, especially in the Big Ten, it’s a good feeling,” Ramsey said. “We came out and executed really well, then slowed down in the second half … a matter of execution.”

IU will have to execute its best game on its next business trip.

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