Indiana sticking with QB Lagow despite 0-3 skid

Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow (21) looks to throw as he is pressured by Michigan State defensive end Demetrius Cooper (98) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, in Bloomington, Ind. (Darron Cummings/AP Photo)
Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow (21) looks to throw as he is pressured by Michigan State defensive end Demetrius Cooper (98) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, in Bloomington, Ind. (Darron Cummings/AP Photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana, mired in a three-game skid, is sticking with quarterback Richard Lagow.

“He’s the guy,” coach Kevin Wilson said Monday when asked if Indiana would open up practice snaps for other quarterbacks.

Lagow has been inconsistent at best and worse than that recently as the Hoosiers (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) have fallen behind by double digits in the first halves of each loss. Indiana trailed 24-3 at intermission against Northwestern and lost 24-14.

“The offense’s inability to get going early really hurt the defense,” Wilson said. “I don’t think our defense had the time to make the adjustments. We get a quick three-and-out, they score, then we go quick three-and-out and they score again.”

Maryland (5-2, 2-2) visits Indiana on Saturday. The Terrapins have outscored opponents 54-14 in the first quarter and 133-66 in the opening half.

This Indiana team doesn’t resemble any from Wilson’s recent past, when the Hoosiers were known for scoring in bunches but giving up even more than that on defense. This year’s defense is allowing 377.6 yards per game, 131.9 fewer than last year — the largest improvement in the nation.

But Indiana is just 96th out of 126 schools in scoring at 24.1 points per game. Lagow, a redshirt junior in his first season as a starter, has completed 147 of 246 passes (59.8 percent) for 1,975 yards with 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Hoosiers are 118th in that latter category.

Sophomore wide receiver Nick Westbrook, who caught 10 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown against Northwestern, suggests Indiana will spread the ball around to get more players involved. And he insists it’s the little things that have held back the Hoosiers.

“One of the plays was when Rich missed me on a speedout, and it was a little thing on my part,” Westbrook said. “I was a yard or two too deep. It looks like Rich threw a bad ball, but it’s really my fault. It’s a little thing that I have to pay attention to and be disciplined about.”

Indiana began October at 3-1 with a 24-21 overtime upset of No. 17 Michigan State. But the remaining games loom large for the Hoosiers: If Indiana can defeat Maryland, games at Rutgers (2-6, 0-5) and Purdue (3-4, 1-3) offer the opportunity to return to a bowl game for a second consecutive year, which hasn’t happened since 1990-91.

“Yeah, obviously, we want to get the ball rolling,” said senior guard Dan Feeney, who returned Saturday from a four-game absence with a concussion. “We beat Michigan State and then have lost the next three. It’s obviously not where we want to be. We’ve got to strike fire and get the ball rolling in some way, shape or form.”

Junior defensive end Greg Gooch says his teammates are upset about their current situation.

“Oh, there is some anger built up,” he said. “I feel like every game is a must win. Every game is critical.”

Note: The Nov. 5 Indiana at Rutgers game will have a noon kickoff and be televised on the Big Ten Network.