By CHRIS GOFF Associated Press
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Tayven Jackson completed 18 of 21 passes for 236 yards and added a 10-yard touchdown run in his first career start, and Indiana racked up 558 yards of total offense Friday night in a 41-7 rout of visiting Indiana State.
Jaylin Lucas finished with 10 carries for 88 yards and four catches for 39 yards. His pair of 25-yard TD runs opened the scoring in the first quarter. Jackson’s scamper up the middle made it 21-0 at the end of the period, and the Hoosiers (1-1) were never threatened the rest of the way.
Afterward, coach Tom Allen declined to say if Jackson, the former four-star recruit who transferred to his home state after one season as Tennessee’s third-string passer, would remain the Hoosiers’ starter.
With veteran quarterback Dexter Williams sidelined by a torn knee ligament, Jackson has battled fellow freshman Brendan Sorsby for the job since fall camp. Sorsby started last week’s season opener, a 23-3 loss to Ohio State. Allen decided to give Jackson his turn to start, although both played again. Sorsby was 9 of 16 for 108 yards.
“It would have been ideal to name one coming out of fall camp,” Allen said. “I trusted my gut. I felt like we needed live game play to make a fair assessment. Two games where they both played a lot of football. As a staff this week, we got to make a decision.”
The Sycamores (0-2) were held to 93 total yards, scoring their only points on Maddix Blackwell’s 75-yard fumble return in the second quarter that cut the deficit to 21-7. The Hoosiers got a 28-yard field goal from Chris Freeman just before halftime.
Christian Turner and Josh Henderson had short scoring runs in the second half and Nicolas Radicic capped it with a 21-yard field goal.
On a night Indiana’s top wide receiver, Cam Camper, left due to injury, Omar Cooper Jr. finished with seven catches for 101 yards. Allen declined to offer a postgame update on Camper, who had three catches for 37 yards. Camper suffered a torn knee ligament last October and missed the rest of the season.
“A good feeling,” Cooper said. “I was able to get in a groove. I just want to be the best receiver I can be for myself.”
The point total was Indiana’s highest since a 56-14 defeat of Idaho on Sept. 11, 2021. The Hoosiers improved to 7-0 all time against Indiana State, an FCS program.
“Give Indiana credit,” Sycamores coach Curt Mallory said. “They played really well on defense. They’re going to win some games and maybe quite a few.”
Indiana State: The moribund offensive performance undoubtedly made for a bittersweet night for Mallory. His late father, Bill, remains Indiana’s all-time leader in coaching victories after leading the Hoosiers to six bowl games between 1986 and 1993. Now in his seventh season as Indiana State coach, Mallory fell to 0-6 against FBS opponents.
Indiana: For a program that had gone 6-20 in its previous 26 contests, any win is a good win. A win with above-average quarterback play is even better. Given the way Jackson played, it might be his job to lose. He showed he’s capable of playing within offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s system, making big plays and affecting games with his ability to run.
Indiana State: The Sycamores face another in-state rival when they play at Ball State Sept. 16.
Indiana: The Hoosiers continue the nonconference portion of their schedule against Louisville on Sept. 16 at a neutral site, in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium.