BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana quarterback Tayven Jackson turned a trick play on a mandatory two-point conversion in the fourth overtime into a scoring pass to DeQuece Carter, and Akron’s conversion pass on the ensuing possession fell incomplete as the Hoosiers held on for a 29-27 victory Saturday night.
Cam Camper caught four passes for 103 yards and a touchdown, and Christian Turner ran 13 times for 67 yards and a TD as the Hoosiers (2-2) recovered from blowing a 17-10 lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
“It shouldn’t have been in overtime,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “Really, really frustrating in a lot of ways but proud of our defense. Offense was really, really out of sync and performed poorly but found a way to get that final two-point conversion there with a great call.”
Jackson lined up left as a wide receiver, then took a pitch from Donaven McCulley, rolled right and hit a wide-open Carter for the winning points. After being named the starter prior to last week’s 21-14 loss to Louisville and throwing for 299 yards and a TD in that game, Jackson struggled to an 11-of-26, 190-yard performance against Akron that included one TD pass and one interception.
“Tough night,” Allen said. “Wasn’t his best. We didn’t do a good job protecting him. Growing pains, without question.”
Indiana was outgained 474-282 on a night the teams combined for 15 penalties and five turnovers. Louis Moore shined on defense for the Hoosiers with two interceptions, one of which he returned 22 yards for a TD at the 5:56 mark of the third quarter to give Indiana a 14-10 lead.
Akron (1-3) missed a 32-yard field goal that would have won the game on the final play of regulation. Quarterback DJ Irons threw for 194 yards and ran for 141 yards and two TDs. Lorenzo Lingard carried 13 times for 141 yards, including a 71-yard scoring run that made it 17-17 with 3:34 left in regulation.
Akron opened the first overtime with a 10-yard touchdown run by Irons on a third-and-9 play. Indiana responded with a 12-yard TD catch by Camper. After the Hoosiers went ahead 27-24, Dante Jackson’s 23-yard field goal tied it after the second OT period.
Each team failed to score in the third extra session, which set up the heroics of Jackson and Carter in the fourth.
“Quadruple overtime,” Akron coach Joe Moorehead said. “I am heartbroken and devastated.”
Akron: A 16.5-point underdog, the Zips narrowly missed out on what would have been a signature win for their second-year coach as he attempts to make his mark on a program that dropped to 0-4 all time against Indiana. “The margin of error against a Big Ten opponent is negligible at best,” Moorehead said. “(The near upset) bodes well for where we’ve come and where we’re going the rest of the season.”
Indiana: The Hoosiers’ struggles revealed a number of problems. Their two losses were understandable, considering Ohio State and Louisville are each 4-0. Akron, however, went 2-10 last season and was picked to finish fifth in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division. The offense must improve as the Hoosiers resume Big Ten play.
Akron: The Zips open MAC play next Saturday when they host Buffalo.
Indiana: The Hoosiers play next Saturday at Maryland.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll