Oct 14, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA;  Wisconsin Badgers running back Jackson Acker (34) during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Banged-up Wisconsin tries to keep up in division race, faces Indiana

Already hampered by injuries on offense, Wisconsin might be missing two more key pieces when it travels to Bloomington, Ind., to face Indiana on Saturday with hopes of remaining in the Big Ten West race.

Wisconsin (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) is coming off a 24-10 home loss to third-ranked Ohio State that dropped the Badgers into a four-way tie atop the West division with Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Indiana (2-6, 0-5) lost 33-24 to then-No. 10 Penn State after being tied at 24 with just under three minutes to play. The Hoosiers have to win their last four games to become bowl-eligible.

Already without starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai and running back Chez Mellusi, the Badgers suffered two more key injuries vs. the Buckeyes. Leading rusher Braelon Allen suffered a leg injury just before the half and returned to the sideline in a walking boot. Senior wideout Chimere Dike, also the team’s leading punt and kickoff returner, also left with a leg injury.

“Don’t know a whole lot,” Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell said. “They were out at practice on Sunday. Didn’t do a whole lot, but it’s only Monday. We’ll have to find some things out during the week.”

Redshirt freshman Braedyn Locke, in his second career start, completed 18 of 39 passes for 165 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions against Ohio State. Redshirt sophomore Jackson Acker had nine carries for 34 yards after Allen went out.

Wisconsin, which was tied 10-10 early in the third quarter against the Buckeyes, managed just 259 yards of total offense.

Indiana outgained the Nittany Lions 349-342 with redshirt freshman Brendan Sorsby passing for 269 yards. Sorsby, in his third career start, tossed three touchdown passes, including a 90-yarder and another for 69 yards.

Sorsby, who replaced Tennessee transfer Tayven Jackson as the starter, is 58-of-108 passing for 689 yards with six touchdowns and one pick in six games.

“You just want to see whoever takes over to take it and then just start growing, and take the position and run with it,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said Monday. “And I think we’ve seen the last few weeks the growth with Brendan.”

Indiana averages 316.4 yards per game while allowing 363.1. The Hoosiers average 18.6 points per game, while giving up 29.8, each ranking 13th in the 14-team conference.

Indiana won the last meeting between the teams 14-6 at Wisconsin in 2020, snapping the Badgers’ 10-game winning streak vs. the Hoosiers. Wisconsin leads the all-time series 41-19-2.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Brendan Sorsby (15) passes in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana still deciding on QB1 for Rutgers game

Indiana coach Tom Allen has not named a starting quarterback for this weekend’s home game against Rutgers.

The Hoosiers (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) rotated Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby in Saturday’s 52-7 loss at No. 2 Michigan.

Allen said Monday that the coaching staff is still evaluating who will start against the Scarlet Knights (5-2, 2-2).

He added that whoever starts this Saturday will be under center for the rest of the season.

“This person will be the guy,” Allen said, per the Indianapolis Star. “I’m not going to rotate them back and forth.”

Jackson completed 7 of 13 passes for 52 yards and two interceptions against the Wolverines, while Sorsby threw for 44 yards on 6-of-15 passing and was sacked three times.

“Both of them did some good things on Saturday, both of them made mistakes, but it’s about protecting the football, it’s about running the offense and being effective with that,” Allen said.

Jackson, a redshirt freshman, has completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 914 yards, two TDs and five picks in six games.

Sorsby, also a redshirt freshman, has completed 51.7 percent of his throws for 294 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in four games.

–Field Level Media

Oct 7, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) dives for a  touchdown against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the second quarter at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana looking for ‘a chance’ at No. 2 Michigan

Indiana coach Tom Allen doesn’t see any weaknesses when he evaluates No. 2 Michigan.

The Hoosiers have the unenviable task of trying to slow down the Wolverines, who have cruised to victories in their first six games, when they play Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“I think had Georgia maybe not played the way they did, (the Wolverines) could be No. 1 in the poll this week. They’ve definitely earned that discussion, for sure,” Allen said.

“So, a lot of respect for them in how they’re playing right now and very well-coached at all positions. But up front, their D-line and O-line, is where they’ve really established themselves. … We’ve just got to find a way to slow down this offense and give ourselves a chance.”

Michigan (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) is returning home after two impressive conference road wins. The Wolverines disposed of Nebraska 45-7, then pounded Minnesota 52-10.

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has completed 77.6 percent of his passes, including 11 touchdowns. He also has rushed for three touchdowns in the past two weeks. The offensive line has given McCarthy a clean pocket this season, as he has been sacked only three times.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh believes McCarthy belongs in the discussion with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Caleb Williams of Southern California.

“I made the comment after (the Minnesota game) that I thought J.J. was the best quarterback in the country,” Harbaugh said. “After the game, I had a chance to watch USC on the flight home. (Williams) is really good, too. I would say now you’re in the world of talking about, who’s better, Kobe (Bryant) or Michael (Jordan)? Or Peyton Manning (or) Tom Brady. They’re both really great.”

The Wolverines’ defense has been dominant, holding opponents to 40 total points, the fewest allowed by a Division I team this season. That unit ranks third nationally in yards allowed per game (233.3).

The Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2) are coming off a bye week. All but one of their losses came against ranked teams (Ohio State, Louisville), but they had their worst outing of the season in their last game, getting blown out 44-17 by unranked Maryland.

Allen decided to make a coaching change afterward, as Rod Carey replaced Walt Bell as the offensive coordinator.

“Obviously, needed a new voice in that room and that’s the change we made,” Allen said.

Tayven Jackson, who has been limited to two touchdown passes this season, has started at quarterback, but his hold on the job is precarious. Dexter Williams II, who suffered a serious knee injury late last season, is close to returning.

“Every passing week, even this past week, was another chance to continue to get closer and closer to be able to allow him to play,” Allen said. “That will be a good discussion for us as a staff and to kind of make that opportunity. So, I’d like to be able to ease him into that opportunity as well. So, we’ll see how that plays itself out.”

Michigan has historically dominated the series 61-10, winning 26 of the last 27 meetings. The Wolverines have yet to face a ranked opponent this season and that won’t change until next month, but Harbaugh (7-1 vs. Indiana) brushes aside critics of the team’s schedule.

“Whatever is being said, all that kind of thing, we’re just trying to get good at football,” Harbaugh said. “Don’t really pay too much attention to what’s been said, good or bad.”

–Field Level Media

Indiana's Tayven Jackson (2) passes during the first half of the Indiana versus Indiana State football game at Memorial Stadium on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.

Indiana chooses Tayven Jackson as starting QB

Tayven Jackson has been named Indiana’s starting quarterback after sharing time with Brendan Sorsby over the first two games.

Hoosiers coach Tom Allen noted that the offense played with more energy during Jackson’s time on the field so he opted to end the splitting time method leading into Saturday’s game against Louisville at Indianapolis.

Jackson went 18 of 21 for 236 yards in last Friday’s 41-7 victory over FCS program Indiana State. Sorsby was 9-of-16 passing for 108 yards.

“We’ve got two quarterbacks I believe can both successfully lead our program and do great things on game day,” Allen said on Monday. “I felt like we needed to get full game evaluation because it was so close and to be able to see, ‘OK, who moves the ball down the field and scores points?’

“That’s really what it comes down to at the end of the day, and there’s a field presence you have during games.”

Sorsby started the Sept. 2 season-opening 23-3 loss to then-No. 3 Ohio State and completed 8 of 16 passes for 58 yards. Jackson was 1 of 5 for 24 yards in relief. Both players are redshirt freshmen.

Jackson is the brother of former Indiana basketball All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis. He initially chose Tennessee and opted to transfer to Indiana after last season.

Sorsby got into one game last season and went 3 for 6 for 8 yards and an interception against Penn State.

“I know they both want to be the guy, I get that,” Allen said. “You’re competitive. You want to be in this position. But Tayven knows he’s got to perform, and Brendan knows he’s got to be ready. That’s the reality of competition and performing at an elite level.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA;  Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) runs for the first down during the third quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Ohio State crushes Indiana; RB Miyan Williams injured

C.J. Stroud threw for five touchdowns and Miyan Williams ran for 147 yards before becoming the latest running back casualty when No. 2 Ohio State defeated Indiana 56-14 in Columbus on Saturday.

Stroud was 17 of 28 for 297 yards as the Buckeyes (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten) defeated Indiana (3-7, 1-6) for the 27th straight time.

The victory came at a cost for the Buckeyes as Williams suffered a right foot or ankle injury and was helped off the field, leaving the Buckeyes with one scholarship running back, Dallan Hayden. TreVeyon Henderson, who has split starting roles with Williams, is injured as are backups Chip Trayanum and T.C. Caffey.

However, wide receiver Xavier Johnson took a handoff and raced 71 yards for a TD in the fourth quarter to make it 49-7.

The Buckeyes led 21-7 after the first quarter, the same score as the final of their previous game at Northwestern.

Stroud had touchdown passes of 6 yards to Emeka Egbuka and 58 to Marvin Harrison Jr., augmented by a 14-yard run by Hayden for the three-score lead.

Harrison made seven catches for 131 yards and Hayden rushed for 102.

Indiana backup quarterback Dexter Williams II replaced ineffective starter Conor Bazelak and led the Hoosiers to within 21-7 on his first series, with the help of his 16-yard run and a 49-yard catch by Andison Coby before tossing a 7-yard TD to AJ Barner.

Dexter Williams was 6 for 19 for 107 yards and two TD passes for the Hoosiers, losers of seven straight.

Miyan Williams extended the lead to 28-7 less than five minutes into the second quarter on a 48-yard run.

A blocked punt by Lathan Ransom in the third quarter set the Buckeyes up at the Indiana 2 and Stroud had a 1-yard pass to Cade Stover to make it 35-7 and Stover’s 12-yard reception made it 42-7 two minutes later.

Stroud’s last touchdown was to fifth-year senior Kamryn Babb, for the oft-injured receiver’s first career catch in his first game of the season to make it 56-14. His teammates poured onto the field to celebrate with him, drawing a delay of game penalty.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Connor Bazelak (9) throws a touchdown pass during the second quarter  against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska runs away from Indiana in fourth, 35-21

Trey Palmer highlighted a career-best showing by catching a tiebreaking 71-yard touchdown pass from Casey Thompson in the fourth quarter as host Nebraska beat Indiana 35-21 Saturday night in Lincoln, Neb.

The Cornhuskers (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) got their first win under interim coach Mickey Joseph. They bounced back from getting blown out by Oklahoma two weeks ago by surviving 12 penalties for 111 yards. Nebraska also scored on its first blocked punt since 2009 while taking a 21-7 lead in the second quarter.

Palmer finished with eight receptions for 157 yards.

Palmer helped Nebraska recover from blowing a 14-point lead in the first half. He streaked down the middle of the field on a third-and-9 and easily blew past Indiana defensive back Phillip Dunnam for a 28-21 lead.

Palmer also caught a six-yard pass that set up quarterback Thompson’s 1-yard TD run for a 35-21 lead with 6:53 remaining.

Thompson completed 18 of 27 passes for 270 yards and two TDs, including a 34-yard score to Oliver Martin less than two minutes in.

Anthony Grant rushed for 136 yards on 32 carries for his fourth 100-yard game this season as Nebraska totaled 385 yards.

Indiana (3-2, 1-1) dropped its second straight and played without its two top receivers, Cam Camper (illness) and D.J. Matthews Jr. (undisclosed injury).

Connor Bazelak completed 22 of 44 passes for 223 yards but Indiana converted just two of 15 third downs and gained 67 yards on the ground.

Indiana tied the game when Miles Jackson recovered a fumble by backup quarterback Chubba Purdy in the end zone with 12:17 left in the first half.

Nebraska regained the lead with 10:03 left in the second when Chris Kolarevic blocked a punt and Malcolm Hartzog returned it 30 yards for the score. The Cornhuskers went up 21-7 a little over four minutes later on Jaquez Yant’s 1-yard run.

Indiana cut the deficit to 21-14 with 3:09 remaining when Emery Simmons caught a 13-yard pass in the back of the end zone. Indiana then tied the game in the final minute on a 1-yard TD by Shaun Shivers.

–Field Level Media

Indiana's Tiawan Mullen (3) celebrates a backfield tackle during the Indiana versus Idaho football game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.

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Connor Bazelak tosses 2 TDs to lead Indiana past Idaho

Connor Bazelak threw two touchdown passes and Indiana snapped out of the doldrums with a sizzling start to the second half to overcome visiting Idaho in Saturday night’s 35-22 victory at Bloomington, Ind.

Bazelak completed 16 of 29 passes for 197 yards with an interception and running back Shaun Shivers gained 155 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown.

Quarterback Gevani McCoy of Idaho threw three touchdown passes among his 204 passing yards on 13-for-23 passing.

Receiver Donaven McCulley finally put the Hoosiers (2-0) on the board with a 4-yard run off a direct snap with 10:31 to go in the third quarter. A safety less than a minute later added to Indiana’s momentum and then Bazelak passes of 43 yards to AJ Barner and 26 yards to D.J. Matthews sent the Hoosiers to a 23-10 edge.

Barner’s go-ahead touchdown came when he bounced off two defenders at the Idaho 25 and from there went untouched to the end zone.

That was 23 points in less than six minutes after putting up 23 total points in a season-opening win against Illinois before failing to score in the first half against Idaho.

Idaho’s first three possessions of the second half resulted in minus-2 yards of offense and a safety for Indiana. The Vandals had a punt, safety, another punt and turned the ball over on downs on a failed fourth-and-8 play from its own 41.

Then the Hoosiers built their lead on Josh Henderson’s 8-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.

But Idaho (0-2) struck back with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended on McCoy’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Roshaun Johnson with 7:38 to play. A two-point conversion failed.

Idaho’s onside kick didn’t work. Shivers ran 46 yards for a touchdown on the next play.

Idaho scored first on McCoy’s 1-yard pass to Jordan Dwyer with 13:18 left in the second quarter. The Vandals added to the lead at the 2:19 mark of the second quarter on Ricardo Chavez’s 29-yard field goal.

Indiana managed only 110 yards of total offense in the first half.

The game started after more than a 30-minute weather-related delay.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2022; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Connor Bazelak (9) drops back to pass the ball while Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Sydney Brown (30) defends in the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Shaun Shivers’ late TD lifts Indiana over Illinois

Stymied throughout the second half until the final seconds, Indiana rallied for a 23-20 victory over Illinois on Friday night in Bloomington, Ind.

Shaun Shivers scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 23 seconds left, capping a 12-play, 75-yard drive that the Hoosiers completed in just under two minutes.

Indiana quarterback Connor Bazelak, who was not announced publicly as the starter until just before game time, threw for 330 yards on 28-of-52 passing. He tossed one touchdown pass and one interception.

Cam Camper caught 11 of those passes for 156 yards, and D.J. Matthews Jr. snagged seven for 109 yards and a touchdown: a 52-yard strike in the second quarter. Bazelak went to those receivers for all eight completions on the game-winning drive.

The Fighting Illini scored early in the third quarter on Brian Hightower’s 16-yard touchdown catch from Tommy DeVito to take a 17-16 lead. Illinois’ Caleb Griffin added a 48-yard field goal with 2:16 left in the game.

DeVito completed 21 of 35 passes for 232 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Workhorse running back Chase Brown piled up 199 yards on 36 carries, including 107 yards in the second half as Illinois (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten) tried to hold the Hoosiers (1-0, 1-0) at bay in their season opener.

Isaiah Williams also had a scoring catch for Illinois. He finished with 112 yards on nine receptions.

The Illini racked up 448 yards in total offense to 362 for the Hoosiers and led in first downs 29-20.

Illinois staged a nine-play drive to the Indiana 1 early in the fourth quarter, but Brown lost 3 yards on fourth-and-1. The Hoosiers immediately went three-and-out, however.

The Illini were driving again with just under six minutes left in the game, but Josh Sanguinetti picked off DeVito at the 8-yard line. The Hoosiers were unable to capitalize, fumbling the ball away after a completion at their own 45.

Charles Campbell kicked a pair of 43-yard field goals in the last six minutes of the first half as Indiana edged to a 16-10 lead.

Indiana opening the scoring when Campbell booted a 39-yard field goal about five minutes into the game.

Illinois came right back with a 10-play, 83-yard touchdown drive, capped by DeVito’s 5-yard toss to Williams.

Set up by the second consecutive poor punt by Hugh Robertson, this one covering only 23 yards, the Hoosiers needed just one play to score: the strike from Bazelak to Matthews.

–Field Level Media

Indiana's Jack Tuttle (14) prepares to throw a pass during fall football camp at Indiana University on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022.

Iufb Qb Jack Tuttle 1

Hoosiers try to keep Illini guessing until Friday night affair

Illinois broke in a new quarterback and crashed into the win column, and now Tommy DeVito and the Fighting Illini take the show on the road for the team’s first matchup with Indiana since 2017.

The Hoosiers are taking a page from Illinois coach Bret Bielema’s book by withholding the identity of the starting quarterback for the Friday night affair in Bloomington, Ind.

DeVito, a transfer from Syracuse named the starter for Illinois (1-0) days before the opener, leaned on Illini running back Chase Brown (three TDs) to bury Wyoming 38-6. The Illini’s bruising offensive line will be tested by the Hoosiers.

“Just impressed with what Coach Bielema’s done there in a short time he’s been there,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said Monday. “Their running back, Chase Brown, is very special. He had a great season last year and showed it again on Saturday.”

Indiana, 2-10 last season, follows Week 1 with home dates against Idaho and Western Kentucky before a Top 25 meeting at Cincinnati on Sept. 24. The stretch in September might allow the Hoosiers time to determine which quarterback gives the team the best chance to compete.

Fifth-year senior Jack Tuttle started two games in 2021 but wasn’t handed the starting job. He said he has carried himself “with a chip on my shoulder” since the end of last season, but he’s locked in a duel with Missouri transfer Connor Bazelak. The former Tigers quarterback made 20 starts at Mizzou and passed for 5,058 yards with 23 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a 66.3 completion percentage.

“I’m not happy,” Tuttle said of the competition. “I’m motivated.”

DeVito played more of a game-manager role in the opener with Illinois running downhill at will against Wyoming. Allen’s defense has seven returning starters, and they largely will be keyed on Brown — 19 carries, 151 yards last week — and the ground game.

DeVito completed 27 of 37 passes for 194 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Wyoming.

“I liked Tommy’s demeanor. Thought he did some things that don’t go in the newspaper,” Bielema said. “Just getting rid of the ball on early downs so we don’t get in negative situations. He distributed the ball to a lot of players, 12 players caught passes.”

Indiana has won three consecutive games in the series, which is led by Illinois 45-24-2.

–Field Level Media

Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) and linebacker David Ojabo (55) force a fumble by Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Donaven McCulley (0) during first half action Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021 at Michigan Stadium.

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Hassan Haskins’ career day lifts No. 7 Michigan over Indiana

Hassan Haskins rushed for a career-high 168 yards and a touchdown and tight end Luke Schoonmaker caught two TD passes, lifting No. 7 Michigan to a 29-7 win over Indiana in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Haskins took on the bulk of the run game after sophomore running back Blake Corum suffered an injury in the first quarter and did not return.

Even without Corum, Michigan (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten) rolled up 188 rushing yards and 411 yards of total offense to avenge a 38-21 loss at Indiana last season. Quarterback Cade McNamara passed for 168 yards and two TDs. McNamara connected on a 50-yard pass to Cornelius Johnson early in the fourth quarter, then an 8-yard TD pass to Schoonmaker to put the Wolverines up 29-7.

Indiana (2-7, 0-6 Big Ten) dropped its fifth straight and is still seeking its first conference win. Freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley, making his second career start, finished with 88 yards passing and 37 yards rushing. Michigan’s defense harassed McCulley for much of the night, recording two sacks and nine pressures.

Haskins rushed for 117 yards in the first half, helping Michigan build a 17-7 halftime lead.

After a 34-yard Jake Moody field goal put Michigan up 3-0 to end the first quarter, the Wolverines took advantage of a short field off a turnover to score their first TD. Linebacker David Ojabo came up with a strip sack of McCulley, which Michigan recovered at Indiana’s 25-yard line. Four plays later, Haskins plunged in on a 2-yard TD run, putting the Wolverines up 10-0.

Indiana answered with a 10-play, 75-yard TD drive, sparked by the arm and legs of McCulley. A 24-yard run by McCulley got Indiana down to the Michigan 2, and Chris Childers scored on a 1-yard TD run, cutting Michigan’s lead to 10-7.

But Michigan responded with a quick four-play, 75-yard TD drive, sparked by a 62-yard run from Haskins. McNamara capped the drive with a 12-yard TD pass to Schoonmaker, putting Michigan up 17-7 with 6:28 left in the second quarter.

Indiana lost starting running back Stephen Carr in the first quarter to a leg injury.

–Field Level Media