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 win over Virginia at Memorial Stadium.
In a back and forth affair, Virginia opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bryce Perkins to Olamide Zaccheus.
The Hoosiers responded with a score of their own by way of a 40-yard touchdown scamper from freshman running back Stevie Scott.
Indiana struck again after Virginia return man Joe Reed fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Peyton Ramsey and the IU offense cashed in two plays later on a back-shoulder throw to Donavan Hale from nine yards out.
IU 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.
As the rain persisted, UVA did so as well. Following a blocked field goal out of halftime, Perkins took the Cavaliers 71-yards and found Chris Sharp for a 20-yard touchdown catch to cut the Indiana lead to four midway through the third quarter.
After trading three punts apiece, Perkins lead the Cavaliers in a last ditch drive with 3:23 remaining. Sitting at the Indiana 31, Perkins was intercepted by Raheem Layne on an ill-advised floater over the middle. Upon review Layne was called 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, Perkins heaved the ball towards the back of the end zone where it fell to the ground out of bounds.
In a game that IU desperately needed to stay on track for bowl eligibility, the Hoosiers were bruising offensively.
Starting in the wake of Morgan Ellison’s suspension and Cole Gest’s season-ending injury, Scott bumped and grinded his way through a depleted Virginia defensive line en route to 204 yards on 31 carries – three-yards short of Anthony Thompson’s freshman single-game rushing record.
Hale was similarly stellar. Following a four catch, 54-yard, two-touchdown performance in the season opener against Florida International, the redshirt junior totaled an almost identical sat line of four catches, 56-yards and a touchdown.
Tasked with containing the duel-threat Perkins, the Indiana defense was moderately better than in the opener against Florida International.
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.
Both teams will are slated for games next Saturday as Indiana (2-0) faces Ball State in Bloomington while Virginia (1-1) welcomes Ohio to Charlottesville.