Indiana was considered a heavy underdog to No. 3 Ohio State despite entering Saturday’s game with an undefeated 4-0 record and a No. 9 ranking. Many analysts believed the Hoosiers wouldn’t even stand a chance on the field with the Buckeyes.
Head coach Tom Allen has heard all the doubters this year. He made sure to make that known after the game.
“People have their opinions,” Allen said. “(They) didn’t think we belonged on the same field with Ohio State. I didn’t really agree with that, but until you prove it on the field, it doesn’t really matter what I think.”
Proud of our fight!! I love this team. pic.twitter.com/K4PHDkPnmv
— Coach Tom Allen (@CoachAllenIU) November 21, 2020
Allen and his squad certainly proved they belong on a top-10 stage today.
Though they fell to Ohio State 42-35 earlier this afternoon, Indiana was able to hang around with the championship-contender Buckeyes all day long.
The Hoosiers’ aerial attack was virtually unstoppable. Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. had another outstanding game, throwing for a staggering 491 yards and five touchdowns on the Ohio State defense.
Despite giving up 42 points, the IU defense also had a fairly strong showing. The Hoosiers held Justin Fields to by far the worst game of his career. The Indiana secondary was able to pick off the Heisman-contender QB three times — doubling his career total of three interceptions.
Down 21 to start the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers nearly completed a dramatic comeback — scoring 14 unanswered points in the final period. Allen and his offense had the ball and a chance to tie in the closing minutes.
“It’s a really good football team we played. They substantially elevated the level of play from the other teams we’ve played so far, in so many different ways,” Allen told reporters after the loss. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve never had a fourth-quarter game with these guys.”
Their 4-0 start is the best the Hoosiers have seen since 2015. Indiana has clearly jumped into another tier of Big Ten skill this year.
“There’s no question the (talent) gap has been closed,” Allen said. “We’re not there yet, they still have a lot of elite players that make it very, very challenging. But we’re working hard to continue to close that, and that’s part of recruiting and player development.”
Allen will look to continue leading his team in the right direction. Next up, Indiana plays two tough Big Ten opponents in Maryland and No. 10 Wisconsin.