BLOOMINGTON – Indiana began its preparation for Navy’s triple-option offense in the spring, and it carried that into fall camp.
It didn’t help.
The Midshipmen gained 444 yards on 70 rushing attempts and carved up the IU defense in a 41-35 win Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
I do think there was a lot of fight, said IU coach Kevin Wilson, whose team trailed 17-0 early in the second quarter.
We had a chance to give it up and didn’t.
The Hoosiers stopped Navy from scoring on just one of its drives in the loss.
When the teams played in 2012, the Midshipmen (1-0) won 31-30 in Annapolis, Md. This time around, they had scored 31 just 2:48 into the second half.
The Hoosiers (1-1) lost the possession-time battle by 6:20 in the first half and trailed 24-14 after the first two quarters.
Sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld came in after two stalled series by redshirt sophomore Tre Roberson.
He led IU into its red zone before an interception ended the drive.
After that miscue, the Hoosiers scored on every drive.
The offense, we just came out slow, and that’s on us, said senior tight end Ted Bolser, who caught two touchdowns Saturday.
Nate’s doing a great job. He’s a fantastic quarterback.
But the defense, porous from the start, continued that trend in the second half and let the Midshipmen stroll downfield time and time again.
Navy converted three fourth-down tries, gained seven yards per play and put up 6.5 yards per rush.
They’re sound in what they do, said IU cornerback Tim Bennett, who led the team with 12 tackles.
They came out in the first quarter very hot. Obviously, we didn’t.
The Midshipmen scored on seven of their eight red zone trips. And sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran 127 yards for three touchdowns on 32 carries.
The atrocious defensive effort overshadowed a strong game from Sudfeld and the Hoosier offense.
Sudfeld finished the game 31 for 42 with an interception, 363 passing yards four touchdowns.
Sudfeld also ran for 35 yards to lead the team in rushing.
I’ve never thrown so many balls in my life, Sudfeld said. And I’ve never ran so much in my life.
Thanks to him, Indiana had a chance in the fourth quarter.
The Hoosiers trailed 41-35 and went for an onside kick after Sudfeld’s second touchdown pass to Bolser.
Mitch Ewald’s kick was perfect. The ball bounced into the outstretched hands of IU’s Nick Stoner.
He dropped it. The ball bounced out. Navy got it back.
IU was again broken by a matter of inches on the drive.
With two timeouts, the Hoosiers stopped Navy twice, then gave up a nine-yard gain on third down to make it fourth and one.
Reynolds kept it, got two yards and kept the drive alive.
The Midshipmen ran out the clock after that.
We just couldn’t make the play we needed to, Wilson said. We had a chance to get a stop a couple times and didn’t.