Indiana's Juan Stevie Scott (21) runs for a touchdown against Virginia during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Bloomington, Ind. (Jeremy Hogan/The Herald-Times via AP)
Sunday, September 09, 2018 12:50 am
Hoosiers endure rain, beat Virginia
BEN PORTNOY | For The Journal Gazette
BLOOMINGTON – The rain began in the wee hours of the morning Saturday and the monsoon-like conditions persisted throughout Indiana’s wet and wild 20-16 victory over Virginia at night at Memorial Stadium.
“I thought Noah was out there in the ark a couple times,” head coach Tom Allen quipped afterward.
Trailing 20-16, Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins led the UVA offense in a last ditch drive with 3:23 remaining. After advancing to the Indiana 31 with 16 seconds remaining, Perkins was intercepted by Raheem Layne on an ill-advised floater over the middle. Layne was subsequently flagged for pass interference and Virginia was granted one final untimed down.
Standing in the shotgun formation, Indiana blitzed and sent Perkins off and running. Headed for the sideline, he Uheaved the ball toward the back of the end zone where it fell to the ground out of bounds.
“It was a nice throw, there was a bunch of hands that went up and sometimes you come down with it and sometimes you don’t,” Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “Bryce gave us a chance.”
Virginia opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Perkins to Olamide Zaccheus just five and a half minutes into the game.
The Hoosiers responded with a score of their own – a 40-yard touchdown scamper from freshman running back Stevie Scott.
Virginia return man Joe Reed then fumbled the ensuing kickoff to set up Indiana again. Peyton Ramsey and the IU offense cashed in just two plays later on a back-shoulder throw to Donavan Hale from nine yards out. Ramsey finished the game 16-of-22 passing for 150 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Allen’s bunch responded once more with 1:36 remaining in the first half as Ramsey led a three-play, 74-yard drive, culminating in a 23-yard touchdown pass to Nick Westbrook.
Though as the rain endured, so too did Virginia. Following a blocked field goal out of halftime, Perkins took the Cavaliers 71-yards, finding Chris Sharp for a 20-yard touchdown catch to cut the Indiana lead to four midway through the third quarter.
Offensively the Hoosiers were bruising in a game they desperately needed to stay on track for bowl eligibility.
Starting because of Morgan Ellison’s suspension and Cole Gest’s ACL tear, Scott bumped and grinded his way through a depleted Virginia defensive line en route to 204 yards on 31 carries – three-yards short of IU legend Anthony Thompson’s freshman single-game rushing record.
“Once I knew those two guys were out, it was time to step it up,” Scott said. “Next man up, I just had to play for this team and do anything in my power to help us win.”
Wide receiver Donavan Hale was similarly stellar. On the heels of a four catch, 54-yard, two-touchdown performance against Florida International, the redshirt junior totaled an almost identical sat line of four catches, 56-yards and a touchdown.
“Just got to keep going, building confidence, keep playing,” Hale said.
Tasked with containing the run-pass threat of Perkins, the Indiana defense was much improved in Week 2.
Perkins tore off a 47-yard run early in the first quarter, but added just two runs of 15 yards or more thereafter. The Indiana defense also held Virginia to just 294 yards of total offense and an even stingier 106 yards through the air.
“Just to go out there and do what we said we were going to do, that’s a big thing,” linebacker Reakwon Jones said. “A lot of people talk but we actually talked and did what we were talking about,”
Both teams are slated for games next Saturday as Indiana (2-0) faces Ball State in Bloomington while Virginia (1-1) welcomes Ohio to Charlottesville.