Indiana dominates Eastern in 52-0 win

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Indiana dominates Eastern in 52-0 win

Eastern quarterback Johnathan Brantley tries to escape pressure in Eastern's 52-0 loss to Indiana on Saturday. Brantley was sacked twice in the game.

Eastern quarterback Johnathan Brantley tries to escape pressure in Eastern's 52-0 loss to Indiana on Saturday. Brantley was sacked twice in the game.

Adam Tumino

Eastern quarterback Johnathan Brantley tries to escape pressure in Eastern's 52-0 loss to Indiana on Saturday. Brantley was sacked twice in the game.

Adam Tumino

Adam Tumino

Eastern quarterback Johnathan Brantley tries to escape pressure in Eastern's 52-0 loss to Indiana on Saturday. Brantley was sacked twice in the game.

JJ Bullock, Editor-in-Chief

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind- The game was never really in question.

From the first drive of the game, in which Indiana marched down the field for a game-opening touchdown, to the final moments of what would end up a 52-0 Indiana win, the Eastern football team never really seemed to have a chance against a dominant Hoosier team Saturday.

Indiana tallied 555 yards of offense to Eastern’s 116.

441 of Indiana’s yards came through the air where the Hoosier’s quarterbacks had their pick of open receivers throughout the game.

Indiana bullied Eastern up front on both sides of the ball for four quarters.

The Indiana defensive line spent four quarters pouring through Eastern’s offensive line, which started three freshmen on Saturday, and the Hoosier’s defensive line wreaked havoc in the Eastern backfield all game long.

Indiana’s defense finished the game with two sacks and eight total tackles for loss.

Indiana’s receivers often caught passes while standing on islands of their own, and the Hoosier’s pass rushers were free to run at quarterback Johnathan Brantley at will; no matter how the game gets diced up, Indiana owned every aspect of the game.

“Not our best day,” Eastern head coach Adam Cushing said after the game. “It is one thing to get beat, and we just left a lot of plays out there and that is what we talked about. When you play a good opponent like this you have got to make the plays and we didn’t make the plays. You have to give them credit, they made a lot of great plays, they have got some really good playmakers and that is a really good football team.”

Cushing said his team was understandably disappointed after the loss, but what was important now is that the team learned from it and prepares to move on for Saturday’s game against Illinois State.

“Football is a vehicle for learning about life, sometimes you get knocked down to the mat and ‘how are we going to respond to it?’” Cushing said. “We have all of our goals in front of us still and it’s a matter of us coming back. I told all of our players to send their position coach a text when they wake up tomorrow morning and say they are excited for the next week of football and get ready to go to play in a big rivalry. We have a big game in front of us.”

The Hoosier’s first score of the game came just 3:55 into the first quarter when quarterback Michael Penix Jr. connected with Miles Marshall for a 10-yard score.

Eastern got the ball back, ran three plays and punted.

Indiana responded with another score, marching down the field with ease for a drive that went nine plays and 68 yards in just 4:28.

This cycle repeated itself for much of the first half: Eastern runs three plays, often for negative yards, punts and Indiana scores.

Indiana was up 35-0 by the end of the first half and did not relent in the second half.

When all was said and done the Panthers were left with their first shutout loss since September of 2015 and their second-lowest yardage total in program history.

“I don’t think we won very often up front today that’s the reality,” Cushing said. “I think that goes back to the other side being really good, well coached certainly, but also their strength and conditioning program is in a great place. They have gotten their guys where they need to be and we’re not quite there yet, but we have got to just make those plays. We have got to bow up when we get the opportunity.”

The quality of Eastern’s opponent was almost universally recognized, the Panthers knew the type of challenge a Big Ten team would present to them on Saturday.

But Eastern still felt it left a lot of plays it could have capitalized on out on the field.

“We can control a lot, it was a great team out there, I give them their props,” said Eastern defensive tackle Terrell Greer. “But we also did make mistakes and probably didn’t play up to our potential. So we have to make sure next week that we have a better week going into Illinois State and make sure we are ready.”

Offensive tackle Cole Hoover shared a similar sentiment to Cushing and Greer in that yes, Indiana was a good football team, but Eastern made mistakes and ultimately needs to learn from them ahead of Saturday’s matchup with Illinois State.

“We have got to kind of realize the things that we mess up and the things that we have trouble with, Illinois State is probably going to try and capitalize on them, so we have to learn from those and get better as a unit week by week,” Hoover said. “These guys have played two games now, getting ready for week three, so we’re going to get another week better and we can correct the mistakes we made today and learn from them.”

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]