The Hoosiers went into Iowa looking to put an end to their four-game losing streak. They weren’t able to get the win, losing to the Hawkeyes 45-24, but they did leave with full confidence in true-freshman quarterback Tre Roberson.
Getting his first collegiate start in a hostile environment, Roberson effectively moved the offense throughout the game and looked poised in doing so. Celebrating his 19th birthday, the 2010 Indiana Mr. Football completed 16-of-24 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed the ball 15 times for 82 yards, with a long of 34 yards.
“There was some positives but way more negatives,” Coach Wilson said.
Indiana has been outscored 145-41 over the last three games, losses to Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa.
So now we’ve seen Edward Wright-Baker, Dusty Kiel and Roberson each start games this season and it’s clear — Roberson is the guy. He looks very familiar to previous quarterbacks Kellen Lewis and a slower Antwaan Randle El. He had some zip on his passes unlike Wright-Baker and Kiel, plus he can avoid pressure with his feet. He looked comfortable in the position and he got the IU in the best position possible.
At 1-7, IU fails to become bowl eligible for the fourth straight year. But this year was more about change…a change in coach, system and approach. And more than anything a change in culture.
Remember, this is Kevin Wilson’s first head coaching gig so he has made some mistakes throughout the season. Like when to be bold, when to settle for points and who to play. This is not a short or easy process and one that will have some growing pains.
Look at the impact players — Roberson, Stephen Houston, Kofi Hughes, Matt Perez, Shane Wynn, Jamonne Chester and Cody Latimer are all underclassmen. The secondary got torn apart but they are also mostly comprised of new guys.
And how about Collin Rahrig, a walk-on redshirt-freshman who filled in nicely for senior center Will Matte who missed his first game of the year with a knee injury. Wilson was only able to sign a handful of his guys this year, being named head coach in December. Players who fit his system will help tremendously.
Indiana didn’t turn the ball over for just the second time all year — the only other turnover-free game was the season opener against Ball State. Coach Wilson was proud of that stat but followed up by stressing that they didn’t force any either. Penalties however, are a consistent problem that got the Hoosiers in some holes. They already set a new school record earlier in the year with 20. Against Iowa, IU was flagged for 12 penalties totaling 114 yards.
They were 6-8 on third down, and that’s progress. The young defense on the other hand, was unable to get stops and get off the field which is nothing new, therefore the story today was Roberson solidifying his bid to be Indiana’s starting quarterback.
He deserves to play the remainder of the season which would thankfully end the frustrating carousel at quarterback. Wilson has yet to name his top guy, and has consistently said the guy who started just played better in practice that week. After today and what little practice I’ve seen, Roberson is the guy…not just this year but for years to come.
Roberson led Lawrence Central High School, a non-football school, to the state finals in his senior year. And maybe with time, he can lead Indiana, a basketball school, to a bowl game.