BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson finally figured out how to get his offense in sync.
He shuffled his best players in and out of Saturday’s game, got the ball into his playmakers’ hands and just let them go to work.
The result: Three players topped the 100-yard mark, five players scored on touchdown runs and the Hoosiers’ got back into the bowl hunt with a 42-36 victory over Maryland.
“When you get that running game going, that stuff is easy. When you’re playing one dimensional, it’s a lot easier to get defended,” Wilson said. “A lot of things that we did today, we wouldn’t have done last week because of the scheme of the (opposing) defense. Some of the things we did were just part of the nature of what we do within the structure.”
The bottom line is it worked — and if Indiana (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) can keep it rolling they could be headed to a second straight bowl game for the first time since 1990 and 1991.
Devine Redding ran for 130 yards and one score. Tyler Natee, the 270-pound freshman running back, ran 18 times for a career-high 111 yards and a TD. And Diamont, the backup quarterback had 11 carries for 104 yards and two scores as Indiana snapped a three-game losing streak.
For Maryland, it was a frustrating day.
Despite leading 21-16 at halftime and 24-23 with 1:11 left in the third quarter, the Terrapins (5-3, 2-3) couldn’t put away the rugged Hoosiers.
Instead, Mitchell Paige closed out the third quarter with a 15-yard TD run on a reverse and Perry Hills’ fumble led to Natee’s 2-yard plunge that made it 35-24. The Terrapins got within 35-30 late in the game but the 2-point conversion pass failed and Maryland couldn’t get any closer.
“We didn’t tackle well, we didn’t execute,” new Maryland coach DJ Durkin said. “We didn’t play at any sort of standard that would help us win a game.”
Maryland running back Ty Johnson topped the 100-yard mark in the first half, thanks largely to a 66-yard scoring run. He finished with 13 carries for 142 yards. Maryland quarterback Perry Hills ran for two scores and threw for two more on a day he was 22 of 33 for 248 yards with one interception and one lost fumble.
Indiana came up just short of breaking the school record for most yards rushing (455) at Memorial Stadium, set in 2014 against Indiana State. The Hoosiers had 650 yards, 414 on the ground. Quarterback Richard Lagow was 16 of 25 for 207 yards, as the Hoosiers became the second team this season to throw for more than 200 yards against the Terrapins’ defense.
The two offenses combined for 1,167 yards, with 683 yards coming on the ground. Indiana averaged 7.3 yards on 57 carries, while the Terrapins averaged 5.4 yards on 50 carries. And despite all those chances, the Terrapins had the only two turnovers of the game.
Maryland: The Terrapins were hoping to eliminate any suspense about their postseason plans before entering their most rugged stretch of the season — at No. 2 Michigan, home against No. 6 Ohio State and at No. 7 Nebraska. Instead, Maryland came up short and may have to wait until the season finale against Rutgers to finish the job.
Indiana: The Hoosiers’ got a huge boost with the win. They can become bowl-eligible with two wins in their final four games, a stretch that includes a trip to reeling Rutgers and a home date against rival Purdue.
Maryland: Nov. 2 at No. 2 Michigan. It’s the first time the Terrapins will face a ranked team all season and it comes on the road against a team fighting to win the Big Ten title and make the playoffs. There will be nothing easy about this one.
Indiana: Nov. 2 at Rutgers. After a rugged start to the conference season, facing five teams that entered the weekend a combined 24-11 and playing bowl-eligible teams, the Hoosiers finally get a break. They’ll face the two-win Scarlet Knights, the Big Ten’s only winless team in league play.