PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Indiana finally found a way to beat Rutgers despite itself.
Devine Redding gave Indiana the lead with a 34-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and caught Richard Lagow’s third touchdown pass of the game in the fourth as the error-prone Hoosiers rallied for a 33-27 win over Rutgers Saturday.
This was an ugly game for Indiana (5-4, 3-3 Big Ten). The Hoosiers turned it over four times — with two leading to touchdowns — and missed three field goals and two extra points in handing Rutgers (2-7, 0-6) its sixth straight loss.
"The turnovers were bad," Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. "We had four. You’re lucky to win on the road with that. You’re really lucky to win with the kicking errors we had on the PAT and field goal teams, we’re very fortunate to win. But kids played hard. Defense was awesome. A bunch of three and outs. Our defense really played well. I was proud of those guys."
The Indiana defense held Rutgers without a first down for seven straight series after the Scarlet Knights converted a fumble on the second half kickoff into a 24-13 lead.
Lagow, who was 28 of 40 for 394 yards and two interceptions, ignited the comeback with a 40-yard TD toss to Camion Patrick.
The redshirt junior said the key for him was to just keep throwing after his second pick.
"You can’t linger on it, so after the second one you kind of just hit a point where you just say (forget) it," Lagow said after Indiana beat Rutgers for the first time in three games. "You got to bounce back."
Lagow, who had hit Ricky Jones for a 36-yard score in the first quarter, led a two-play, 53-yard drive to give the Hoosiers a 26-24 lead with 2:01 left in the third quarter. He hit Luke Timian for 19 yards on the first play, and Redding covered the final 34 almost untouched for the lead.
After gaining a season-high 414 yards rushing in a win over Maryland last week, Indiana was limited to 147 yards on the ground. Ninety-three came on the touchdown runs by Redding and Zander Diamont (59). The other 42 carries netted 54 yards, but the passing game stepped up with 420 yards, giving the Hoosiers 567 in total offense.
Rutgers coach Chris Ash feels his team is getting closer to winning.
"A lot of people think we’re a long ways off. We’re not," Ash said. "You look at the Big Ten, take out the Ohio State, Michigan games, but you look at Iowa, you look at Illinois, you look at Minnesota, you look at Indiana. That’s four games that we were really competitive in. Three of those teams will be going to bowl games probably and we’re right there with them."
Gio Rescigno, who went 19 of 36 for 258 yards, threw a 68-yard scoring pass to Andre Patton and scored on a one-yard run for Rutgers. The latter gave the Scarlet Knights a 24-13 lead in the opening minute of the second half. Darnell Davis also scored on a 75-yard fumble return.
Rutgers led 17-13 at halftime — its first lead after 30 minutes since Sept. 17 against New Mexico. It took advantage of a fumble on the second-half kickoff to expand the lead.
Indiana’s defense shut down Rutgers the rest of the way.
David Bonagura added a second field goal for the Scarlet Knights in the closing seconds, but the Hoosiers recovered the ensuing kickoff to ice it.
Indiana jumped to a 13-10 first-quarter lead on Diamont’s run and Jones’ catch and run. Rescigno touchdown pass to Patton and Bonagura’s first field goal made it close.
Rutgers forced three second-quarter turnovers with Davis scoring after a Diamont fumble to put the Scarlet Knights ahead.
Indiana: The Hoosiers need to win one of their final three games — Penn State, Michigan or Purdue — to become bowl eligible.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are officially not going anywhere in Chris Ash’s first season as coach.
Indiana: Returns home to play Penn State Saturday.