BLOOMINGTON – The defense clamped down, the offense revved up and Indiana got a crucial 42-10 win against Bowling Green on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Other than a badly protected punt that turned into a block and a Falcons touchdown, the Hoosiers (2-1) were in sync on all levels against Bowling Green (2-1). A Falcons squad that averaged 37.5 points in its first two games was held to 409 yards by an IU defense that gave up 35 points and 444 rushing yards to Navy a week ago. The Hoosiers offense dominated again, with 601 total yards and three skill players with more than 100 yards to their names.
Sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld got the first start of his career Saturday and was 17-for-26 on throws for 335 yards and two touchdowns. His primary target was junior wide receiver Cody Latimer, who entering the matchup had five catches for 73 yards over two games.
The 6-foot-3 deep threat, who led IU in receiving last season, broke out for 137 yards and a touchdown on six catches against the Falcons.
The defense played far above expectations after being dismantled by the Midshipmen in Week 2. IU had seven pass breakups between junior cornerback Tim Bennett and redshirt sophomore corner Michael Hunter. The Hoosiers held Bowling Green to 8 of 20 on third down conversions and gave up just 3.8 yards per rushing attempt to a team that averaged 226 yards per game entering Saturday.
Beyond the numbers, this was a game IU needed to win to make its route to a bowl game easier. The Hoosiers, ahead of a game against Missouri and a tough conference slate, did just that and made a statement with a convincing bounce-back win.
It didn't start well for the Hoosiers, who failed to convert two fourth down opportunities at the goal line and trailed 10-7 with 11:06 left in the second quarter. But the Hoosiers offense started to click, its defense remained stout and IU reeled off 35 unanswered points against the Falcons.
This wasn't a mediocre opponent, either. Bowling Green opened the season 2-0 with wins against Tulsa and Kent State. Both teams had 11 wins in 2012.