BLOOMINGTON – Indiana got the victory it had to have, the defensive presence it needed to establish.
The Hoosiers (2-1), delivering perhaps the most complete all-around performance of the coach Kevin Wilson era, beat Bowling Green 42-10 Saturday to bounce back from the Navy defeat.
"It was a good win,” Wilson said. “Bowling Green plays really good defense and are mature on offense.
“I thought it was a team we matched up against well, but I was proud of how we responded. We weren't great in all phases, but we were pretty good the board.”
IU has scored 150 points in its first three games. That's a school record for three straight games, breaking the mark of 141 set in 1917.
Sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld took advantage of his first career start by throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns. It's the second straight game he's thrown for more than 300 yards. Against Navy last week, he came off the bench for 363 yards and four TDs.
“Their quarterback is a stud,” Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson said. “They have really good receivers. We couldn't cover them. We didn't get much pressure on the quarterback. We gave that kid time and he put the ball on the money and their receivers beat us.”
The Hoosiers had a pair of 100-yard rushers with Tevin Coleman (129 yards) and Stephen Houston (155). That was the first time the Hoosiers had done that since 2003, when BenJarvus Green-Ellis (136 yards) and Brian Lewis (128) did it against Northwestern.
Receiver Cody Latimer had six catches for a career-high 137 yards and a 33-yard touchdown.
The defense, which was ripped for 444 rushing yards last week by Navy, responded by holding Bowling Green (2-1) to less than 400 total yards and no offensive touchdowns. It was the first time IU hadn't allowed an opponent to score an offensive touchdown since 2008 against Murray State.
“It was nice to see the defensive players do what they practiced,” Wilson said. “The coaches gave them a good game plan and it was nice to see them come out and play well."
Added Clawson: “We got beat bad. We got whipped in every aspect of the game.”
IU could have dominated the first quarter. Instead, it faced an improbable 7-7 tie.
The Hoosiers drove inside the 5-yard line on their first possession, then tried to power it in. Three runs and an incomplete pass resulted in minus-four yards, no points and Bowling Green's ball.
IU scored on its next possession with Coleman's 1-yard run. The drive was set up by Sudfeld's 48-yard pass to Shane Wynn.
The Hoosiers appeared to hit a big play on their next series when Kofi Hughes made a great sideline catch. But officials ruled he failed to maintain possession and called it incomplete. Then punter Eric Toth's kick was blocked and returned 56 yards for a touchdown by Bowling Green's Paul Senn for a 7-7 tie.
IU again failed to score inside the Bowling Green 5-yard line. The Falcons took a 10-7 lead on Tyler Tate's 45-yard field goal.
Sudfeld brought the Hoosiers back. His 20-yard completion to Nick Stoner on a third-and-17 was followed by Coleman's 43-yard touchdown run and a 14-10 Indiana lead. Sudfeld's 8-yard TD pass to Hughes made it 21-10 at halftime.
IU dominated the second half. Coleman's 40-yard run set up Sudfeld's 33-yard TD pass to Latimer and a 28-10 lead five minutes into the third quarter. Sudfeld added a 1-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter. Tre Roberson scored on a 3-yard run a few minutes later for the 42-10 finale.
The victory sets up Indiana for a SEC battle with Missouri (2-0) next Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
“It's good to be 2-1,” Wilson said, “but we have a big challenge coming in next week with Missouri."