Indiana Not Happy With Offensive Line Performance in Season-Opener

Indiana's offensive line struggled throughout the game against Penn State, and Tom Allen was disappointed by it, but he knows there's room to improve.
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — With 2:30 to go in Indiana's season-opener against Penn State, the Hoosiers had the ball down 21-20.

On the first play of the drive, Penn State defensive end Shaka Toney blew by Caleb Jones and sacked Michael Penix Jr. for a 5-yard loss.

The next play, Toney did the exact same thing, this time sacking Penix for a loss of 6 yards.

On third down, Toney got a QB hurry on Penix to force an incompletion. After a fourth down incompletion, Penn State had the ball, up one, with 1:47 left. Indiana's drive summary was four plays for minus-11 yards in 43 seconds.

Luckily, the Hoosiers let Penn State score and eventually made the comeback to win by one in overtime, but the struggles of the offensive line on that specific possession were a concern throughout the entire game.

Tom Allen made it known during his Monday media availability following the game.

"I was disappointed in our offensive line," Allen said. "I am just going to call what it is. I just did not think we played as well as I believe we can."

Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) watches his pass while being tackled during the second half of the game at Memorial Stadium.

Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) watches his pass while being tackled during the second half of the game at Memorial Stadium.

Indiana's offense struggled to find a rhythm for a majority of the game.

All of that isn't on the offensive line. Penix missed some throws, some receivers dropped a couple, but overall, the line struggled.

Stevie Scott, despite having two rushing touchdowns, only averaged 2.9 yards per carry. He finished the game with 20 carries for 57 yards.

"I was disappointed in that and I think it affected our whole offense and just the whole execution," Allen said.

Indiana has undergone a number of changes to the front five this season. Harry Crider is the new starter at center. Bedford and Caleb Jones swapped sides — Bedford is playing right tackle and Jones is playing left tackle.

At left guard, Mike Katic got his first collegiate start Saturday, and Mackenzie Nworah started at right guard.

So there was a lot of new pieces to integrate and the continuity still needs to be formed.

The team knows they struggled on Saturday, but it was just the first game of the season, and there's plenty of time to improve.

"I just wanted to point it out and I am not going to say anything that's just not true," Allen said. "We talked about it as a staff. We are very open and honest with each other so those are things we have to fix."

Offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan said the offense as a whole didn't execute as well as he has seen them in fall camp.

He took the blame for that, but he was happy with how they played at the end of the fourth quarter and overtime, stepping up when they needed to.

That was what Allen was happy with, too, overcoming adversity and coming out on top with the win. As many heard him say in the locker room after the game, he believes the best is yet to come for the Indiana Hoosiers.

"We did a lot of things wrong as well but just really encouraged by the ability to focus when it counted the most and make those plays," Allen said. "That kind of summarizes all the different things of a game like that that are different than you expected. A lot of situations were created and we got to work through them as a team."

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