Indiana keeps bowl hopes alive with 41-0 win over Rutgers

Indiana running back Morgan Ellison (27) runs during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Rutgers, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Richard Lagow threw two touchdown passes Saturday, and Morgan Ellison ran for two more scores as Indiana shut out Rutgers 41-0.

The Hoosiers (5-6, 2-6 Big Ten) have won two straight to move within one victory of becoming bowl-eligible for the third straight season and they posted their first Senior Day shutout since 1958 despite a 1-hour, 47-minute lightning delay late in the third quarter.

“That’s what they deserved,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “They’ve given so much to our program. They’ve sacrificed so much, they believed when they came here to help us re-establish some things.”

Rutgers (4-7, 3-5) has lost two in a row and has lost by 20 or more points four times this season.

Indiana made it look easy, too, on a blustery day that devolved into a driving rainstorm.

Ellison capped the Hoosiers’ first possession with a 6-yard scoring run and Lagow hooked up with a wide-open Ian Thomas on a 57-yard TD pass to make it 14-0 less than seven minutes into the game.

Griffin Oakes made field goals of 26 and 20 yards to give the Hoosiers a 20-0 halftime lead, and then the Hoosiers continued to pour it on in the second half.

One play after Lagow was picked off at the Rutgers 31-yard line, Greg Gooch came up with a strip-sack that gave the ball right back to Lagow at the Scarlet Knights 24. Three plays later, he found Luke Timian for a 20-yard TD pass.

Ellison sealed it with a 1-yard scoring run with 4:19 left in the third.

Then with 2:31 left in the third, the referees spotted lightning near Memorial Stadium. Both teams were sent to the locker and the small crowd was told to seek shelter.

Many fans headed home and when the game resumed only a couple hundred returned to their seats.

But Rutgers still failed to mount any kind of challenge.

“They whipped us on both sides of the ball and the result is what it is,” Rutgers coach Chris Ash said. “We didn’t play very well and that’s on me.”

Lagow finished 17 of 28 for 236 yards with one interception, Thomas caught four passes for 93 yards while Ellison and Cole Gest each rushed for more than 100 yards. Ellison ran 15 times for 149 yards and Gest added 23 carries for 104 yards and one TD.

Rutgers was outgained 503-186 in total yards as Indiana pitched its second shutout of the season. It’s the first time since 1993 that the Hoosiers have had multiple shutouts in one season.

THE TAKEAWAY

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have achieved plenty in Ash’s second season. They’ve tied the school record for Big Ten wins in a season and are one of six Big Ten teams to follow a winless conference season with four league wins. But this dreadful performance will almost certainly keep Rutgers home for the holidays.

Indiana: A brutal schedule put the Hoosiers’ postseason hopes in serious jeopardy. But dominant performances the last two weeks put them back in contention. And this was easily their most impressive win of the season.

UP NEXT

Rutgers: Returns home next Saturday to face Michigan State.

Indiana: Visits Purdue next Saturday, looking for a school record fifth consecutive win against their in-state rival.