BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Tiawan Mullen just told D.K. Bonhomme to do his job.
Bonhomme had seen this play earlier in the game, and he tackled Taulia Tagovailoa, but this time, the Maryland tight end was wider on his alignment, which means he wasn't going to try to take Bonhomme out.
So the sophomore linebacker was zoned in on Tagovailoa keeping the ball again and trying to run it himself to get the Terrapins away from their end zone.
Once the ball was snapped, Bonhomme exploded into the backfield and, as he expected, Tagovailoa kept the ball and Bonhomme brought him down for a four-yard loss and a safety.
He did his job.
"I knew it was going to be a bluff and the quarterback was gonna keep it," Bonhomme said. "So it was my opportunity to make a play, and I just took it."
It was the first safety in Bonhomme's career. Not just his Indiana career, but the first safety he has ever recorded in his life.
It came at a big moment, too, as Indiana was only leading Maryland 7-3 at the time, and Bonhomme not only made it 9-3, but he also got Indiana's offense the ball back, which snowballed into a 17-3 advantage.
"I thought that safety D.K. had was really at a critical point in the game," defensive coordinator Kane Wommack said. "It really changed the momentum."
Bonhomme has been used in a number of ways so far this season. He's listed as a linebacker, which he has played a decent amount, but he's also been lining up on the defensive line more as of late.
Bonhomme has a 6-foot-3 frame and weighs 235 pounds. Just watch defensive lineman James Head Jr. describe the stature of Bonhomme.
"D.K.'s development has been critical to our success," head coach Tom Allen said Monday. "And I think it will continue to be as the season goes on."
Bonhomme was born in Haiti, then moved to Montreal at 5 years old and Ottawa at 15 years old.
The football field is wider in Canada by 12 yards, so Bonhomme is used to making plays in space and quickly doing so because there was more ground to cover growing up.
Bonhomme transferred to play high school football at Clearwater Academy International in Florida, which is where Indiana spotted him.
"Moving down to Florida, it also helped me because everything was just faster," Bonhomme said. "You are closer to the defensive line. We only played a yard off the ball in Canada, so it helped me."
Bonhomme learned Indiana's playbook as a linebacker, and he is used to dropping back in coverage.
The biggest adjustment for Bonhomme seeing some action on the defensive line is just his hand placement, lining up in a two-point stance and rushing the quarterback more than normal.
His coaches have helped him fix his technique, and as well as he's played this season, he still sees room for improvement.
"They believe in me," Bonhomme said. "They're hard on me because they know it's not my position and I need to be better."
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