Indiana coach Kevin Wilson was pleased by the performance of his quarterbacks, including Tre Roberson, as IU defeated Indiana State Thursday.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) -- I haven't heard Lee Corso's reaction to Indiana's 73-35 victory against Indiana State Thursday night.
Corso works at ESPN, but I know what Corso would have done if Indiana won a game like this when he was the Hoosiers' coach in the mid-Seventies -- take a picture of the scoreboard and talk about it endlessly.
After one night of the 2013 college football season, Indiana is the highest-scoring team in the nation. After the Hoosiers led 42-7 four minutes into the second quarter, Indiana was on a pace to score nearly 133 points.
(Corso famously once asked a photographer to snap a picture of him with the scoreboard in the background when the Hoosiers led Ohio State, 7-0.)
"We got some stats that look cool," IU coach Kevin Wilson said. "But I'm sure when we watch the tape we're going to see (some things to correct)."
Nobody's perfect. The Hoosiers settled for 73 after Wilson used three quarterbacks and six true freshmen -- in the first half. In fact, Indiana lost its momentum by fumbling away a kickoff for an Indiana State touchdown late in the first half and throwing an interception for another Sycamores' touchdown to start the second half.
But the outcome was never in question. IU set Memorial Stadium records for points, touchdowns (eight), yards (632, 313 rushing and 319 passing) and mentions by Keith Olbermann, who gave the Hoosiers more than a minute of love on his new show, "Olbermann," on ESPN2. That's more than Olbermann talked about Indiana football during his 5-year run on SportsCenter.
The Hoosiers could have scored 80 but Wilson chose to take a knee with his fourth-team quarterback on IU's final four snaps, starting at the ISU 5-yardline. The Hoosiers even held their poise after Shane Wynn took a vicious, unprotected hit to the head in a third-quarter play that resulted in the ejection of an Indiana State player.
Don't look for the Hoosiers to draw any Top 25 votes next week. It's one game – against a team from the FCS level. But Indiana struggled to put Indiana State away last season before winning, 24-17.
Indiana is faster, stronger, deeper and better.
FAST START –The Hoosiers were ready to play – at least on offense. Mitch Ewald drilled the kickoff to the back of the end zone. IU stopped the Sycamores on three plays. On the Hoosiers' third play Tre Roberson found tight end Ted Bolser on a crossing route across the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown to put IU ahead 7-0 after less than 2 ½ minutes.
They continued to score on five of their first six possessions – in less than 50 seconds per possession.
FRESHMAN ORIENTATION – Wilson emphasized defense in his third recruiting class and he did not wait to work the first-year guys into the rotation. Four true freshmen were on the field during Indiana State's second drive – tackle Darius Latham, linebackers Clyde Newton and T.J. Simmons and safety Antonio Allen. Latham, a mammoth defensive lineman from Indianapolis, contributed a sack and two other tackles. Simmons led IU with nine tackles.
MR. EXCITEMENT – Wynn needs a nickname for the way he returns kicks and catches passes. Somebody can come up with something better than this. But until that happens, Mr. Excitement works because the first three times Wynn touched the football he scored – a 43-yard pass, a 58-yard punt return and a three-yard pass.
The fourth time Wynn touched the ball he was flattened after he was blind-sided while signaling for a fair catch on the punt return. It was the cheapest of cheap shots. Teammate Flo Hardin said that Wynn was joking in the locker room after the game but that team doctors planned to test him for a concussion.
"Of course it upset us," IU cornerback Michael Hunter said. "But it's a football game. You have to control your emotions."
GAMBLING MAN – How much confidence does Wilson have in his high-octane offense?
This much: The Hoosiers went for it on fourth down twice in the first quarter. The first time they were stopped. The second time they needed three yards and halfback Tevin Coleman bounced around the left end and delivered a 34-yard touchdown. Coleman had a superb night, too, finishing with 146 yards on 12 carries. Stephon Houston has led IU in rushing the last two seasons, but Coleman is positioned to take his job and run away with it.
QUARTERBACK ROTATION – Wilson named Roberson the starter about two hours before kickoff. He said that he wanted to start another quarterback but was outvoted by his assistants. Hmmm.
Roberson played the first three series and was followed by Nate Sudfeld. Sudfeld led Indiana to a pair of touchdowns and was followed by Cam Coffman.
Bottom line: None of the three quarterbacks will be redshirted this season. Wilson said he asked Sudfeld and Coffman earlier this week if they wanted to save a year of eligibility. Neither player was interested.
The Hoosiers completed 17 of 30 passes for 319 yards and six touchdowns, even though they did throw two interceptions.
"That's what we expected," Bolser said. "They're three great quarterbacks."
HEALTHY AGAIN -- Roberson won the job in 2012 but suffered a broken left leg in Indiana's second game. He looked fine, throwing several nice passes, eluding the pass rush and bouncing up quickly after a nasty hit.
Roberson did not play after the first quarter. He completed three of six passes for 71 yards and two scores.
Roberson did not return after the first quarter because he suffered a bruise near his rib cage. Wilson said he believes he will be able to play next week, but was not certain which guy would start.
LOUISVILLE CONNECTION – There's only one Louisville high school product on the IU roster – linebacker Flo Hardin, a junior from Ballard. Hardin started at weak-side linebacker.
Hardin made a big play in the first quarter, jarring loose a fumble that led to Indiana's third touchdown.
"Every tackle, I'm going for a strip," Hardin said. "We're always looking for the ball. We're not looking for three and outs. We're looking for one and outs."
LOUISVILLE CONNECTION, PART II – Indiana State also has one player from Louisville – former St. Xavier linebacker George Stone. Although Stone missed the game with an ankle injury he is expected to become a major contributor when he returns next week.
The Sycamores are coached by Mike Sanford, who was Charlie Strong's offensive coordinator until he was fired early in the 2011 season.
NEXT WEEK – Indiana plays the second of five consecutive home games against Navy at 6 p.m. Sept. 7. It will be the season opener for Navy, which defeated the Hoosiers, 31-30, in Annapolis, Md., last season.