This is not the same Indiana offense that battled Ohio State to the very end last season, in a 34-27 loss to the Buckeyes... It’s better.
In 2015, when Ohio State visited the Hoosiers, Jordan Howard was the nation’s leading rusher at the time. This season, their highly touted junior college transfer at quarterback, Richard Lagow, is currently 16th in the country in passing yards per game, at 319.5 yds/game.
Lagow was ranked the third-best pro-style quarterback in junior college last season, out of Cisco College (Plano, TX) and has the size and arm of a NFL-ready quarterback. He stands at 6’6”, 240 lbs, has excellent arm strength and fits Indiana’s up-tempo style. He was also able to join the Hoosiers and beat out Zander Diamont — who spent two years in Indiana’s offensive system and performed pretty well on the ground against the Buckeyes last season. Lagow has the tools, the scheme fit and the supporting cast to be great at Indiana, but he also can be shaky at times.
The perfect example of his shakiness was the Hoosier’s only loss of the season, coming against Wake Forest. Lagow threw for an incredible 496 yards on only 28 completions, yet he threw five interceptions. But if there is one silver lining in that 33-28 loss to the Deacons, it was that his coach, Kevin Wilson, continued to have the utmost confidence in his signal-caller, and never thought to bench him.
“Nah,” Wilson said, when asked if he wanted to bench Lagow during an interception-riddled afternoon. “He was making plays.”
Here’s a big-time throw that Lagow made against Ball State:
Lagow read the inside blitz, showed poise in the pocket to trust his blockers and put just enough air underneath the throw to hit Nick Westbrook for a 43-yard pitch-and-catch. That was an excellent deep-ball throw from the JUCO transfer.
In that five interception game against Wake Forest, Lagow continued to sling the rock:
The Wake Forest defense bit on play-action, and the quarterback loaded up and attacked single coverage on the outside. Once again, he showed his touch on the deep-ball, when he placed the ball perfectly on his receiver’s fingertips for a big gain.
Lagow showed how clutch he was, in their upset victory over Michigan State:
Once again, Lagow faced an interior rush, as Michigan State sent the house on a blitz. He stayed poised in the pocket, took a huge shot from a Spartan linebacker and lofted the pass over an outstretched defender’s finger tips for 6. That’s a big-time throw against a big-time opponent, in a huge spot.
Making him pay
This aerial attack is legitimate and this will be a huge test for the Ohio State secondary. Lagow will throw into double-coverage — since he has extreme confidence in his arm strength — which could give Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley, Malik Hooker and the rest of the secondary a chance to make plays on the football
He looks like the typical big-armed quarterback — such as Cardale Jones -- who makes a ton of plays vertically, but sometimes puts too much velocity on the ball in the short-to-intermediate part of the field. Hooker, who has Ed Reed-esque range, will be put to the test, since Lagow throws such a perfect deep-ball.
Even if Lagow makes a mistake or two, expect his coach to tell him to keep slingin’, even against one of the best secondary’s in the country.