Saturday, October 29, 2011
Halftime: Northwestern 38, Indiana 21
By Adam Rittenberg
It's not a typo. That's a halftime score.
You shouldn't be too surprised after watching Indiana and Northwestern play defense this season.
As expected, it has been an offensive shootout so far in Bloomington, and Northwestern has gotten the better of the Hoosiers, who started seven freshmen on defense. Northwestern scored on its first six first-half possessions, reaching the end zone five times, and piled up 405 yards.
The Wildcats have received brilliant performances from quarterback Dan Persa, quarterback/receiver Kain Colter and superback Drake Dunsmore against the overmatched Indiana defense. Persa has completed 12 of 15 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns, and Colter has three receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown pass to Jeremy Ebert. Dunsmore, essentially a tight end, must have set some type of record with three touchdown receptions in the second quarter.
We've seen this all year from Northwestern, which isn't 2-5 because of its offense. Indiana has had no answer for the high-tempo spread attack.
The Hoosiers have moved the ball well at times, as freshman quarterback Tre Roberson continues to provide a spark. Indiana has done it without senior receiver Damarlo Belcher, who is suspended for violating team roles. But the Big Ten's most penalized team continues to be plagued by the yellow hanky, as Indiana received six penalties for 85 yards. And the defense? Ugh. After failing to slow down Iowa last week, Indiana has been shredded.
The big story in the second half is whether Northwestern can hold a lead. The Wildcats squandered halftime leads in losses to Illinois and Michigan. They get the ball first.