BLOOMINGON – Indiana's chance at a statement-making victory is over. Its hopes that a season-opening five-game home stand would fuel a return to bowl relevance are staggered if not crushed.
Welcome to the aftermath of Saturday night's 45-28 loss to Missouri.
The Hoosiers (2-2) forced three turnovers and still couldn't stop the Tigers' offense. More surprisingly, their potent offense fizzles. A quarterback change from Nate Sudfeld to Tre Roberson wasn't nearly enough.
Missouri (3-0) was too dominant in all phases.
Case in point -- the running game. Missouri rushed for 280 yards. IU rushed for 80.
“This week I was concerned -- could we get the run game going, could we stop their run game,” coach Kevin Wilson said. “That was the difference early, and the game got out of balance because of that.”
The Hoosiers get a bye week before hosting Penn State (3-1) to open Big Ten play.
“Indiana has a really good team,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “(Kevin Wilson) is doing a good job of building this program. They battled back the entire day.”
Sudfeld was 21-for-39 for 229 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Roberson was 8-for-14 for 148 yards and one touchdown.
Receivers Cody Latimer and Shane Wynn came up big. Latimer had a career-high eight catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. He's the first Indiana receiver to record consecutive 100-yard receiving games since James Hardy (the former Elmhurst standout) did it in 2007. Wynn had five catches for 90 yards and a TD. He became the 19th Hoosier to total 100 career catches.
Safety Greg Heban intercepted two passes. He has eight in his career. He also finished with a game-high eight tackles.
Missouri quarterback James Franklin dominated. He was 32-for-47 for 343 yards and two touchdowns. He threw two interceptions. The Tigers had 623 total yards.
“It was us not doing our job as a defense,” IU cornerback Tim Bennett said. “We had to come out swinging. We didn't come out ready to play.”
The first half was an offensive slugfest. Missouri bolted ahead 14-0 on Franklin's 7-yard touchdown pass to Dorial Green-Beckham and Marcus Murphy's 10-yard run. It would have been worse if not for a pair of red zone interceptions by safety Greg Heban, and then IU forcing and recovering a fumble.
Sudfeld found his rhythm in the second quarter. He hit Latimer with a 10-yard TD pass, then his 77-yard pass to Latimer resulted in Tevin Coleman's 2-yard TD run for a 14-14 tie.
Missouri scored the final 14 points of the half for its 28-14 lead. Franklin scored on a 1-yard run. Defensive end Kony Ealy returned his interception of a Sudfeld pass 49 yards for a touchdown.
The teams combined for 627 first-half yards, 93 plays, 19 first downs and five turnovers.
Missouri controlled the third quarter, but only managed a field goal. Still, that was three more points than the Hoosiers got. Trying Roberson at quarterback didn't help. He directed three scoreless possessions.
Roberson came back early in the fourth quarter with a 68-yard TD pass to Wynn early in the fourth quarter to make it 38-20. Roberson added a 1-yard TD run with 10 seconds left.
It wasn't nearly enough.
“We have to put this game behind us,” Roberson said. “We'll get into the bye week, and get ready for Penn State and Big Ten play.”