Court’s In Session: Hoosiers in trouble without Sudfeld

Here’s what we learned from Saturday’s IU football game against Iowa: Nate Sudfeld is important.

That could be an understatement after the Hoosiers lost 45-29 to the Hawkeyes in Iowa City in a game where the nation’s leading rusher Tevin Coleman ran for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

Really the only thing we learned from Saturday’s game is that Chris Covington is not a good enough quarterback to lead IU to any wins in the Big Ten. We knew the defense was shaky. We knew the receiving core has been up and down. We knew Coleman was good.

Covington, who was converted from linebacker in preseason practice, went 3-for-12 and threw for 31 yards and two interceptions after he took over for Sudfeld, who went down in the second quarter with a separated shoulder. There is no definite timetable for Sudfeld’s return as he could be out anywhere from a few practices to several games.

Purely a running quarterback, Covington struggled mightily throwing the football, and Iowa was able to stack the box play after play with only a couple runs by Coleman to keep  the Hoosiers in the game.

IU could use a guy like Tre Roberson right about now.

But the Hoosiers no longer have the luxury of a good second quarterback, and unless they burn Zander Diamont’s redshirt and see what he can do, they won’t for the remainder of the season. Covington has potential as a runner, maybe a guy that could compete for a running back or a position on defense next season , but he doesn’t belong under center.

While Nate Sudfeld is not an outstanding quarterback, he is more than good enough to help this team win Big Ten football games—Covington is not.

If Sudfeld is forced to miss time, and I suspect he will at least miss this week’s game against Michigan State, IU should burn Diamont’s redshirt and get him on the field. He has more potential at the position and sure gives the Hoosiers a better chance at an upset of the Spartans.

There are two players who IU absolutely could not lose to injury— Sudfeld and Coleman. And I do not want an injured Sudfeld on the field against the conference’s best and ferocious Michigan State defense that takes pleasure in tormenting opposing quarterbacks. Take your chances with someone else and heal up over the bye week to be ready for a struggling Michigan team that IU can beat.

There are more people at fault than Covington of course, it’s tough to put too much blame on a freshman backup quarterback. The defense was awful in the first half, allowing 38 points, and 28 alone in the first quarter. The offensive line looked bad in pass protection. The receivers forgot how to catch a football.

It’s a loss that this team can bounce back from, the Hoosiers have played Michigan State tough in recent years, and there is always potential for a major upset. However, IU needs to sort out its backup quarterback position because Kevin Wilson can’t throw in a guy like Covington where he is set up to fail.

Maybe Coleman can throw the ball too.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewVcourt and listen to him on “The War Room” Fridays from 6-7pm