Indiana finally found that elusive homecoming victory.
Following eight consecutive years of defeats on Homecoming weekend, a Saturday match-up with Rutgers proved to be the perfect opportunity to overcome the Hoosiers Homecoming woes.
Indiana dominated in all three phases, defeating Rutgers 35-0 and earning their fourth shutout victory since 2017, the second-most in the country during that time span.
Much had been made of the quiet early season for sophomore running back Stevie Scott but for at least one Saturday, those concerns were a thing of the past. Scott gashed Rutgers throughout the game, racking up an impressive 164 yards rushing on just 12 carries on the afternoon.
A pair of true freshmen also got in on the action, with the duo of David Ellis and Sampson James combining to rush for 71 yards during the game.
True freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr. also had himself a solid performance, completing 20 of his 29 attempts for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns. Yet he also had some shaky moments, including an interception and a few uncharacteristically underthrown deep passes.
Luckily for Penix, he had Whop Philyor to bail him out on his few subpar passes. The Junior wide receiver added a second straight dominant performance, totaling 10 catches for 182 yards on the afternoon.
Perhaps most importantly, we also saw a dominant defense that stifled a porous Rutgers offense in every conceivable way.
Firstly, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: its Rutgers.
I get that, this has been an awful offense all season long by almost every metric available, and a solid offensive performance by Rutgers would no doubt be looked at as a result of poor defense rather than impressive offensive performance.
That being said, what the Indiana defense was able to do on Saturday was impressive regardless of the fact that it came against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights were limited to just 75 yards of total offense, including an astonishing one yard passing in the game.
The Rutgers rushing attack didn’t fare much better, recording just 74 yards on 33 carries, good for just 2.2 yards per carry.
The Indiana defense also added a touchdown of their own, recording a strip sack on Rutgers quarterback Johnny Langan and returning it for a score on the opening play of the game. It would be tough to imagine a better performance defensively than what the Hoosiers had on Saturday.
Now Indiana will turn their sights to arguably the most important stretch of their season, as they prepare to head on the road for back to back games, starting this weekend with Maryland. Indiana needs just two more wins to achieve bowl eligibility, and if the Indiana defense can consistently play like they did on Saturday, they should have no problem achieving that mark.