Nov 18, 2023; Evanston, Illinois, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers running back Tyrone Tracy Jr. (3) breaks a tackle by Northwestern Wildcats defensive back Rod Heard II (24) for a touchdown run in the third quarter at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Bragging rights at stake as Indiana visits Purdue

Bragging rights and the Old Oaken Bucket are at stake on Saturday when Indiana visits in-state rival Purdue in West Lafayette for a Big Ten matchup and season finale.

Both squads enter the game reeling and wanting to head into the offseason with a positive vibe.

Indiana (3-8, 1-7) has won just one time in its last seven games and is coming off a disappointing home loss to Michigan State on Saturday, a game in which the Hoosiers gave up the game-winning touchdown with about a minute remaining and missed a game-tying 49-yard field goal with two seconds left.

Indiana hopes to also reverse recent dominance in the rivalry by Purdue. The Boilermakers have won four of the last five games against the Hoosiers.

Indiana coach Tom Allen said it will be a different wrinkle preparing for Purdue with first-year head coach Ryan Walters at the helm.

“They’re running the ball really well lately,” Allen said of Purdue. “Last two games in a row they’ve been over 300 yards rushing, which is very impressive. They’ve got two talented running backs, and their O-line is being very effective in what they’re doing. They’ve made adjustments throughout the season.”

The Boilermakers (3-8, 2-6) enter the game having lost five of their last six, the latest being a 23-15 defeat at Northwestern on Saturday.

Tyrone Tracy Jr. was Purdue’s leading rusher last week, with 160 yards on 16 carries against the Wildcats.

“They have a lot of length on the outside,” Walters said of Indiana. “Then they have a speedy slot/running back. I think they do a good job of utilizing the personnel and getting into formations that are unique within that personnel grouping. Their run game and pass game complement each other, so you have to have your eyes in the right spot all the time.”

Hoosiers quarterback Brendan Sorsby threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns against the Spartans last week.

Purdue won last year’s game against Indiana in Bloomington, 30-16.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Katin Houser (12) drops back to throw during the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Bowl chances slim, Michigan State, Indiana spar for Spittoon

The Old Brass Spittoon might be the only thing Michigan State and Indiana are playing for when they meet Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.

Both teams enter the game with 3-7 records overall and 1-6 marks in the Big Ten East, and bowl eligibility is all but gone for each squad.

There is only hope of a 5-7 finish, which could potentially be enough for a Power 5 team to be chosen for a bowl game. But that’s a reality only if there aren’t enough 6-6 or better teams qualified for the bowl season.

Given all that, the big prize will be the Spittoon, a trophy the Spartans and Hoosiers play for annually in a tradition that began in 1950.

Each team enters eyeing a rebound after losing last week.

Michigan State was routed 38-3 at Ohio State.

The Spartans collected just 182 yards of total offense. Michigan State quarterback Katin Houser completed 12 of 24 passes for just 92 yards.

The Spartans have lost two of the past three meetings with the Hoosiers and hope to reclaim the Spittoon after losing at home last year in double overtime. Michigan State leads the all-time series 50-17-2.

“You have to finish,” Michigan State interim coach Harlon Barnett said of his team’s mindset. “Once you start something, you have to finish. That’s where we are now. We need to finish, regardless of what has happened or what’s going to happen in the future. We can control what we can control, and that’s finish.”

Indiana enters Saturday’s game coming off a 48-45 overtime loss at Illinois. This will be the last home game of the season for the Hoosiers.

Indiana coach Tom Allen said playing two trophy games will help get his team’s attention with a bowl game likely out of reach.

“We definitely have a lot to play for, and we understand that it’s a testament to your character as a person, as a team, and as a program when you don’t allow the circumstances on the outside to dictate your focus, your effort, how you do things on a daily basis, and eventually how you perform on game day,” Allen said.

“Great opportunity in front of us, and we’re excited about it.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana head coach Tom Allen celebrates after defeating Wisconsin at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Janzaruk-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois, Indiana scrap for gains in standings

Indiana might not embrace the common ground with a neighboring Big Ten rival ahead of a Saturday afternoon date at Illinois in a Big Ten crossover game.

But the Hoosiers (3-6, 1-5) and Fighting Illini (4-5, 2-4) can’t ignore it exists.

Neither team performed to the level it had hoped and through nine games is grasping at faint hope for a postseason. But there is optimism thanks to upset wins by both programs last week.

Indiana (3-6, 1-5) recorded its first conference win of the season, a 20-14 triumph over Wisconsin at home to snap a four-game losing streak.

The Hoosiers will try to earn their first road victory of the season in Champaign.

“A team that’s playing really good football, their best football of the season,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said of the Fighting Illini. “Got a big win this past weekend. A big, physical football team. Have the biggest back we’ve played against, biggest running back, very athletic quarterback, really talented receivers and then a big, physical defense. One of the best defensive lines in the Big Ten.”

Indiana is 3-15 in its past 18 games against teams from Power 5 conferences. Only Vanderbilt (2-16), working out of the rugged SEC, is worse. One of Allen’s wins during that stretch came over Illinois, 23-20, in the second game of the 2022 season. Shaun Shivers scored a 1-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left to help the Hoosiers finish the job and push the IU winning streak over Illinois to four games.

Illinois earned a 27-26 win at Minnesota after backup quarterback John Paddock engineered a game-winning, 85-yard drive that was capped off by a 46-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Williams with 50 seconds left.

Paddock came in for starter Luke Altmyer, who suffered an undisclosed injury.

Illinois head coach Bret Bielema said Altmyer needs full medical clearance to get back on the field but said Monday “he’s trending in that direction. It’s truly got to be the in hands of our doctors. He came in and met with me about 10 o’clock (Monday) morning, and you could see the way he was interacting. I showed him a couple things on film, and he was very engaged with that.”

The Fighting Illini have won two out of their last three games, but Bielema doesn’t want his team focusing on potential bowl-eligibility over the last three games of the season.

“It’s very common for everybody to talk about the (rest of the) season,” Bielema said. “We’re about Indiana. We lost to these cats a year ago on a Friday night in a fashion where I felt like we didn’t play at our best. I was very clear with our guys this week was about Indiana preparation. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them and what they’ve done. They’ve kind of turned their season.”

Allen said wide receiver Cam Camper will miss the rest of the season to have a procedure on his knee related to his 2022 ACL injury.

Illinois redshirt freshman running back Aidan Laughery is out for the year to undergo knee surgery, Bielema said.

–Field Level Media

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 21, 2023; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin yells after a call against his defense during the second quarter of their game at Ohio Stadium.

No. 10 Penn State looks to bounce back against Indiana

For the first time this season, No. 10 Penn State is going to have to prove it has what it takes to effectively respond to adversity.

After getting roughed up by No. 3 Ohio State, the Nittany Lions will look to avoid losing back-to-back regular-season games for the first time in more than two years when they face Indiana on Saturday in State College, Pa.

Penn State (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten) is in danger of losing consecutive games in the regular season for the first time since Oct. 23, 2021, after falling 20-12 to the Buckeyes last Saturday. The Nittany Lions failed to reach the end zone until Drew Allar connected with Kaden Saunders for an 8-yard touchdown with just 29 seconds left in the game.

Despite the poor showing, Allar has faith that Penn State can return to the form that had it ranked as high as sixth in the nation just a few weeks ago.

“At the end of the day, we have to go out and do what we did the first six weeks,” Allar said. “Obviously (Saturday) was not good enough at all, but if we attack each week and don’t lose faith in each other, we can still be in the position we want to be at the end of the year.

“We just got to control what we can control (and) not worry about all the outside noise.”

Allar has good reason to be confident, as the Nittany Lions are averaging the second-most points per game in the Big Ten (39.7) and will be pitted against a Hoosiers defense that allows the second-most points in the conference (29.3).

It also helps that Penn State boasts the most suffocating defense in the country among FBS teams, surrendering just 218.1 yards per game.

None of that bodes well for Indiana (2-5, 0-4), which continued its downward spiral with a 31-14 loss to Rutgers last weekend. The Hoosiers have been outscored 127-38 over the course of their current three-game skid, and coach Tom Allen admitted the season is starting to slip away.

“I don’t think I feel it, I think it’s a reality that you get to this stage of the year and you’ve got several losses now in a row,” Allen said. “That’s where you don’t hide from it. You’ve got to address it head on, and you’ve got to really work hard together to help your guys.”

Allen realizes it won’t be easy slowing down the Nittany Lions, but he sees Saturday’s meeting as a golden opportunity for his team to get back on track.

“Playing a very good football team on the road that has a lot of talent at all positions, all three phases, and a tough environment to play in,” Allen said. “Great opportunity for our program to continue to grow and develop as a team.”

The Hoosiers have been seeking consistency under center, as they’ve gone with two different starting quarterbacks during their losing streak. Brendan Sorsby got the nod against the Scarlet Knights, completing 15 of 31 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.

Allen said he plans on having Sorsby as the No. 1 moving forward.

Indiana and Penn State last met on Nov. 5, 2022, with the Nittany Lions coming away with a 45-14 victory.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights running back Kyle Monangai (5) yells to his team during the first quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers secure bowl eligibility with win at Indiana

Gavin Wimsatt ran for three touchdowns, including an 80-yard dash in the fourth quarter, and Rutgers secured bowl eligibility with a 31-14 victory over host Indiana on Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.

The Rutgers quarterback finished with a career-high 143 rushing yards on 16 attempts while completing just 5 of 12 passes for 39 yards. Big Ten rushing leader Kyle Monangai added 24 carries for 109 yards.

The Scarlet Knights (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) had not won six games in a season since 2014.

Rutgers’ rushing attack (55 attempts, 276 yards) led to a dominant 37:38-22:22 advantage in time of possession.

Brendan Sorsby completed 15 of 31 passes for 126 yards, ran 11 times for 49 yards and accounted for two touchdowns for Indiana (2-5, 0-4).

Sorsby, who officially took the starting quarterback job from Tayven Jackson this week, went 6-for-7 for 58 yards on Indiana’s opening drive and threw a 35-yard touchdown to Omar Cooper Jr. for a quick 7-0 lead.

Monangai and Wimsatt combined to run the ball 13 times on Rutgers’ opening drive, and Wimsatt’s 1-yard sneak capped a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to tie it.

On the first play of the second quarter, Shaquan Loyal blocked Indiana’s punt attempt and Eric Rogers snagged it on the bounce, returning it 17 yards for a 14-7 Rutgers lead.

Rutgers was stuffed on a fourth down in Indiana territory, and the Hoosiers moved 59 yards in four plays, tying the game at 14 on Sorsby’s 4-yard run with 3:58 left in the half.

In the final minute, Indiana’s Jaylin Lucas muffed a punt and Robert Longerbeam recovered to set the Scarlet Knights up at the Indiana 20. Rutgers settled for Jai Patel’s 21-yard field goal to take a 17-14 lead as time expired.

Rutgers then opened the second half with a 12-play, 75-yard march and Wimsatt pushed in for his second 1-yard touchdown of the afternoon with 8:45 left in the third.

Wimsatt broke the game open early in the fourth quarter. From his own 20, he kept the ball on an option and fooled the defense, leaving a big opening. Wimsatt made one cut at the second level and beat the rest of the defense down the right side for his monster touchdown with 13:11 to play.

–Field Level Media

Oct 14, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Tayven Jackson (2) passes in the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana won’t rotate QBs against Rutgers

The quarterback carousel has spun for weeks at Indiana, but the Hoosiers want it to stop this Saturday when they host Rutgers in Bloomington, Ind.

Coach Tom Allen said Monday that Indiana (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) will not continue to rotate quarterbacks Tayven Jackson and Brendan Sorsby the way it did in last week’s 52-7 loss to No. 2 Michigan. Allen has not decided who will start the Rutgers game.

“Bottom line is we definitely want to be able to have some continuity there,” Allen said. “I know we’ve obviously had some back and forth with that throughout the course of the season, as we have two young guys that we know are trying to grow and develop, and as we figure out what their strengths are as well. We just want to see them play consistently and build it around them.”

Jackson has started five of the games and has completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 914 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. Sorsby has gotten into four games, starting the season opener against Ohio State, and has completed just 51.7 percent of his throws for 294 yards, two touchdowns and no picks, adding 81 rushing yards.

Coach Greg Schiano and Rutgers are left preparing for both quarterbacks.

“They both can throw it very well,” Schiano said. “They are both athletic. I don’t know, it’s going to be a challenge whoever lines up back there. But knowing who starts the game, that will be the guy, then we’ve just got to be ready for both.”

Rutgers (5-2, 2-2) is coming off a 27-24 comeback victory at home over Michigan State. Rutgers scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter thanks in part to a fumble return TD and a botched Spartan kick return.

Scarlet Knights running back Kyle Monangai continues to put together a strong campaign. After piling up 148 yards and a go-ahead 21-yard touchdown run against the Spartans, Monangai leads the Big Ten in rushing (635 yards).

Schiano likened Monangai to program legends Ray Rice and Brian Leonard, all power backs who run “downhill.”

“What I think Kyle is a great representation of is this is his fourth year in the program,” Schiano said. “He’s developed year after year. He’s gotten stronger. He’s gotten better as a football player. He’s matured and now he’s a grown man playing running back.”

The Hoosiers are 5-4 in the all-time series since Rutgers joined them in the Big Ten East Division. Rutgers has taken the past two meetings after Indiana rattled off five straight victories.

–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 14, 2023; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines tight end Colston Loveland (18) runs the ball in the first half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Michigan destroys Indiana

J.J. McCarthy passed for 222 yards and three touchdowns and No. 2 Michigan pounded Indiana 52-7 at soggy Ann Arbor, Mich. on Saturday afternoon.

McCarthy completed 14 of 17 passes for Michigan (7-0, 4-0), while Blake Corum gained 52 rushing yards on 13 carries and scored twice. Colston Loveland caught three passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Michigan has won 27 of the last 28 meetings with Indiana (2-4, 0-3).

Jaylin Lucas caught five passes for 56 yards and a touchdown for the Hoosiers.

Michigan scored three second-quarter touchdowns to take a 21-7 halftime advantage.

The Hoosiers dominated the first quarter, as McCarthy was sacked three times. Indiana’s offense used some trickery to strike first.

Brendan Sorsby tossed a lateral to wide receiver Donaven McCulley, who found Lucas wide open along the left side for a 44-yard score.

Michigan answered with a 77-yard drive that Corum completed with a 1-yard plunge with 11:19 remaining in the half. McCarthy completed four passes of 13 yards or more during the drive.

McCarthy led the Wolverines down the field on an 87-yard drive to give them the lead. On 4th-and-goal, he found Roman Wilson wide open in the end zone with 3:24 remaining in the half. Tyler Morris had receptions of 23 and 14 yards during that possession.

Corum’s second 1-yard scoring run came with 11 seconds left in the half. That 46-yard drive was set up by McCarthy’s 16-yard pass to Donovan Edwards.

McCarthy used his feet and arm to deliver the Wolverines’ fourth touchdown early in the second half. He scrambled to his right and found Loveland wide open at the Indiana 30. Loveland raced untouched into the end zone for a 28-7 lead.

McCarthy connected with freshman Semaj Morgan on a 7-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-7 midway through the third quarter.

James Turner made a 28-yard field goal following a Hoosiers turnover to extend the Wolverines’ lead to 31 points.

Edwards scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth.

–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