PISCATAWAY, New Jersey — Tevin Coleman had the second-best rushing performance in Indiana history, and it still wasn't enough.
Coleman ran for a career-high 307 yards, including a 67-yard touchdown run late in the first half, but Indiana fell to Rutgers 45-23 at High Point Solutions Stadium on Saturday. The only rushing performance that was better from an Indiana player was Anthony Thompson's 377-yard effort in 1989.
"It's a good thing to have, but I really couldn't do it without my team, without my o-line, without my defense getting the ball back and I give it up all to them," Coleman said. "It's a team game."
However, Coleman's team didn't provide enough help.
Gary Nova threw two touchdown passes to Leonte Carroo and Robert Martin ran for three more. Nova and Carroo combined on scoring passes of 34 and 56 yards and Martin tallied on runs of 2, 47 and 1 yards as the Scarlet Knights (6-4, 2-4 Big Ten) snapped a three-game losing streak and sent Indiana (3-7, 0-6) to its fifth straight loss.
While Rutgers became bowl eligible for the ninth time in 10 years, Indiana was eliminated from a chance at bowl eligibility.
"Just pride. Heart. Fighting for each other," receiver Shane Wynn said when asked how the Hoosiers would stay motivated. "We play for an audience of one. We don't play for everybody else. We play for the guys to our left and the guy to our right."
Josh Hicks scored on a 9-yard run after Indiana failed on a fake punt deep in its own territory in the third quarter. The Hoosiers also opened the game by recovering an onside kick.
"We have some of those looks just built in," coach Kevin Wilson said, adding, "There's some times where in the kicking game whether it be a field goal, or a punt or a kick where you have something hot that you can check out and we kind of had it up. It's not a call. It's something built in that we can do and if it's there like we thought it was we let it ride. If it wasn't we shake out of it."
Coleman's touchdown run with 18 seconds left in the half gave the Hoosiers a 13-10 lead, and they upped the margin to 16-10 early in the third quarter when Griffin Oakes kicked a 22-yard field goal. It came after safety Delon Stephenson ran down Coleman at the Rutgers 5 after a 68-yard run.
"I think a couple of plays later it would have been nice to score," Wilson said. "We had a touchdown that we dropped or had a competitive play that one of our young receivers didn't make."
The Scarlet Knights took over after the stop.
Martin capped an 80-yard drive on the ensuing possession with his 47-yard scoring run, the freshman's longest of the season. After a three and out and a 23-yard punt return by Janarion Grant , Nova and Carroo combined from 34 yards out, with the junior receiver breaking a tackle by Tim Bennett at the 18 for a 24-16 lead.
Hicks pushed the lead to 31-16 late in the third quarter when the faked punt went awry after punter Erich Toth dropped the ball as he started to run.
A 28-yard touchdown pass from Zander Diamont to Shane Wynn got the Hoosiers within 31-23, but Rutgers put the game out of reach on Nova's 56-yard pass to Carroo (5 catches for 125 yards) and Martin's 1-yard touchdown run late in the game.