Indiana football coach Tom Allen is not out for moral victories, just regular ones.
After suffering its first loss of the season at Big Ten power Ohio State, the No. 12 Hoosiers (4-1, 4-1 Big 12) will look to bounce back on Saturday when they host Maryland (2-1, 2-1) at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.
Indiana rallied from down 28 points in the second half, but fell short in a 42-35 loss to the No. 3 Buckeyes. Starting quarterback Michael Penix passed for a career-high 491 yards and five touchdowns in the loss, while senior receiver Ty Fryfogle had 7 catches for 218 yards and three TDs to earn Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second straight week.
Shortly after the loss, in an impassioned postgame speech, Allen implored his team to stay together.
"Even though we did not accomplish our goal on Saturday, that does not alter the process that we go through to recreate what we want on game day, which is a win at the end of the day," Allen said. "So, bottom line is that we are still in that quest for four quarters of our best football. Has not happened yet and it is going to happen. And our goal is it happens on Saturday against Maryland."
Fryfogle has emerged as the most productive wide receiver in the Big Ten, with 31 catches for 642 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. Defensively, Indiana forced three more takeaways against Ohio State. The Hoosiers have a league-high 13 interceptions on the season and are tied with Northwestern for the conference lead in takeaways (15).
"We've been giving good disguises, showing a coverage here and there, and then switching it up," said Indiana safety Jamar Johnson, who had two interceptions last week against Ohio State. "Also, in the offseason and preseason we were catching jugs, doing a lot of ball drills."
Maryland will be playing its first game since beating Penn State 35-19 on Nov. 7. The Terrapins canceled their last two games against Ohio State and Michigan State due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.
Maryland head coach Mike Locksley, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, will coach the team virtually this week but, pending testing results, plans to return to the team and coach from the sidelines on Saturday. Locksley said the Terrapins managed to stay sharp mentally and physically through the two-week pause.
"To see those guys show back up with the right kind of mindset and attitude, going into a great opportunity like Indiana, shows that we're making steps and progress as a program," Locksley said.
The Terrapins have been led this season by transfer quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, a transfer from Alabama. Tagovailoa, the younger brother of former Alabama and current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, has passed for 676 yards over his last two games, the most for a Maryland quarterback since Scott Milanovich passed for 692 yards in back-to-back games in 1994.
Tagovailoa also has been effective escaping the pocket with 56 yards rushing and two rushing scores this season.
"Anytime a quarterback can beat you with his arm and his legs it is a big concern and so you got to do a tremendous job of containing him," Allen said.
--Field Level Media