It isn’t difficult to see what it takes for Indiana to win this season, coach Bill Lynch said Tuesday. In the games the Hoosiers have won, they have taken care of the ball well, they’ve gotten ahead early, they’ve made more sacks and given up fewer, and they’ve had some success in running the ball and stopping the run.
“These are the things we’ve found with the football team that make the difference between winning and losing,” Lynch said.
The biggest factor, Lynch said, has been turnovers. Indiana had made seven fewer turnovers than its opponents in its five wins, he said, and four more than its opponents in its five losses.
IU (5-3, 2-3)scored more points against Penn State in Saturday’s 36-31 loss than the Nittany Lions had given up all season, but four lost fumbles did the Hoosiers in.
“We’re doing some things well,” Lynch said. “You can’t turn the ball over.”
As a result, IU will be emphasizing ball security in practice this week, although that’s not much of a chance because it’s been a point of emphasis since fall camp.
Lynch said IU will face a Wisconsin team (6-2, 2-2) Saturday at noon that’s similar to what the Hoosiers have seen the past two weeks against Michigan State and Penn State — a big, physical opponent.
Wisconsin blew out the Hoosiers last season as the Badgers scored touchdowns on five consecutive possessions in the first half, resulting in a 35-0 lead at halftime. P.J. Hill had 129 yards rushing and quarterback John Stocco used a lot of play-action passing to complete 15-of-17 passes for 304 yards.
“I’d assume they’ll try to run on us,” Lynch said. “They’ve had some success with that.”
IU wide receiver James Hardy spoke after Lynch at the weekly Tuesday press conference at Memorial Stadium. He said the Hoosiers won’t have any trouble rebounding from Saturday’s loss.
“We’re trying to get three in a row going into the Purdue game,” Hardy said. “In our minds, we shouldn’t lose any more games.”
INJURY NOTES: Lynch said he expects tight end Nick Sexton (head injury) and offensive lineman Charlie Emerson (ankle, knee and shoulder) to be ready to play this week after missing the Penn State game. He said running back Demetrius McCray (foot) will do some running on the practice field today, but is not expected to play Saturday.