Another look at the Ohio State loss


I’m not sure there are many places more beautiful than Bloomington in the fall. I’ve only been here for a few months, and I’m still trying to make this place feel like home, but there is something about the way the season splashes its colors around this rustic college town that can sometimes make you feel like anything is possible.

On this most recent October Saturday night, with the country’s No. 8 team visiting, the play on the field at Memorial Stadium was anything but beautiful. But for at least a few moments in a game against Ohio State, the Indiana football team again gave enough reasons to believe that maybe the Hoosiers aren’t too far away from competing consistently in the Big Ten, that anything is possible.

It will be Nate Sudfeld who’s credited for giving Indiana a spark after leading back-to-back scoring drives in the final few minutes of the Hoosiers’ 52-49 loss to the Buckeyes. Rightfully so. Sudfeld completed 6 of 10 passes for 77 yards and again showed a propensity for giving Indiana big plays when it needs them most.

But there were others, too, who made this game — the final score, especially — seem much closer than it truly was. One, of course, was Nick Stoner. His save of an onside kick — after Sudfeld connected with Duwyce Wilson for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 1:40 remaining on the clock — cannot be overlooked. It was almost to be expected from one of the team’s best athletes as he jumped through the sideline to bat that ball back into play as his foot began to meet the chalk. It set up Sudfeld and the Hoosier offense at the Ohio State 48, where they drove to the end zone on five plays — culminating with a 25-yard shovel pass from Sudfeld to Stephen Houston with 1:05 remaining in the game. Cody Latimer’s end-around, two-point conversion made it the three-point game that it stood to be.

Don’t miss Greg Heban, either. He led Indiana with nine tackles, but it was his diving interception of Braxton Miller in the end zone early in the third quarter that kept this game from getting truly out of reach. It was a poor decision to throw by Miller, who absorbed a hit as he began his release. But Heban made the catch and stopped a Buckeye drive that took them 41 yards to the Indiana 4-yard line. Ohio State led 31-17 at the time and a touchdown there likely would have made it a 21-point lead. It could have been enough to break the Indiana spirit.

It should also be noted that Heban broke up a pass in the end zone on an OSU third-and-six from the Indiana 18 late in the first half. It probably prevented a touchdown, and Buckeye kicker Drew Basil followed with a missed, 35-yard kick with Indiana leading 14-10 at the time.

Others, too, had memorable marks on this one. It was the first career three-touchdown game for Houston, and Shane Wynn followed Heban’s interception with a 76-yard touchdown reception from Cameron Coffman that stands as Indiana’s longest score of the season. Also, as columnist Andy Graham wrote, Indiana’s 49 points are the most it has ever scored against a top 10 team. It was also the most it has scored against Ohio State.

But Kevin Wilson doesn’t seem like a man who loses himself in numbers. He’s a man that will point to the unseen things in a football game — things that the casual observer may not notice.

For a few brief moments on Saturday night, as Sudfeld and the Indiana offense made something remarkable happen, Wilson ran onto the field and threw his fist into the air. It was a fleeting moment, one that could be lost to the casual observer as fans filed through the exits and time continued to tick away. But it was also something — if even for a moment — that made it seem like everyone in crimson believed anything was possible.

Again, I send a big congratulations true east to Baltimore, where our friend Chris Korman tied the knot this weekend. Dustin will be back this week.

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84 comments:

  • Laffy says:

    You just got a lot of fans stating the truth: not many places more beautiful than Bloomington in the fall.

    It’s spectacular.

  • John from Beyond says:

    We put 49 points on Ohio State and scared them badly. You can’t complain about that! This season is reminding me a lot of year 3 of the Crean era: not a big change in the wins column, but you can see more close games and improvement happening.

  • Debbie says:

    We gave up 52. We did that because of missed tackle after missed tackle. 3 missed tackles led to OSU’s last TD. Without that score we win. Tackle someone once in awhile and we win a few more games. The D up front is solid enough. Let the opponents past the line, and we’re in trouble. Just wrap them up. Also, sometimes just slow down the offense. When we go 3 and out, the D has got to be tired. Our D has to be wiped out by the end of the game with as much time they spend on the field. I don’t mind the uptempo offense, but sometimes slower is better.

  • Wang Wang says:

    They could have scored 300+ if they had wanted. Urban just tried to help his friend “Hunger Bowl” Kevin.

  • Podunker says:

    Three comments:

    #1 It must be a sign of the apocalypse, but for once I agree with Debbie. IU still can’t tackle worth a damn. On numerous plays last night, you could tell several of IU’s defenders really did not want to make contact with the Ohio State player. IU needs more guys that like to hit, and know how to tackle, regardless of the size of the opposing players.

    #2 You can tell by the relatively few comments posted about last night’s game that it is already basketball season for most Hoosier fans. And that’s a shame, because as it’s turning out, the hardest part of IU’s football schedule appears to be behind us, and looking at the remaining schedule, it appears IU has a chance to win a few more football games this year. Not saying we’ll win them all, or any of them for that matter, but Navy, Illinois, Iowa and Purdue are winnable games. Maybe even Penn State, but we have to hope that their thin roster gets further depleted over the next five weeks if we’re to have a chance of winning in Happy Valley.

    #3 Is it time to name Sudfeld the starter? He seems to be very effective in leading IU to touchdowns. Maybe Wilson was just giving the freshman the garbage time and he was playing against OSU’s second or third defense, but he seems to be highly effective in leading the offense.

  • Dunbar says:

    Definitely time for Sudfeld. Coffman is going to get someone killed. He was not helped by drops (so sad what’s happened to Wilson; halfway thru the season he is still petrified of getting hurt again), but he waits so long to throw the ball and I’ve never seen so many 1-yard checkdowns to a tight end in my life. Arm strength is the issue, since neither quarterback is mobile (Coffman seems like he should be, but is afraid to run). Coffman’s arm reminds me so much of Jay Rodgers, and any IU fan who remembers Jay knows that’s not a good thing.

  • slojoe says:

    I like the direction the football team is going. They have bought into what Wilson is selling and are taking on his persona — i.e., they just don’t give up and keep on trying.
    Yes, we have a lot of problems especially on defense, but I see things are turning around.
    As for Sudfield remember that Wilson doesn’t like starting freshmen quarterbacks, and he didn’t start Tre right away last year. I suspect that Sudfield will get his chance to start soon.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    I agree that some of the defensive backs (not all, but a couple, seem to have made contact-avoidance)an art. Defensive line play is indeed impressive and played mano-a-mano with OSU. They really did put pressure on the OSU quarterback. Linebacker play is both good at times and, on occasion inconsistent. Heban is a good player who plays with heart and gusto (though he too can make a occasional mistake, mistakes in his case appear to be a matter of commission, not omission or avoidance. Brian Williams has had good moments….and some bad when he seems to get lost. Antonio Marshall seems to play with gusto, his mistakes coming in 1v1 coverage but, overall, a solid upgrade over Kenny Mullens. The comment by Debbi and Podunker about sloppy tackling, particularly in our ‘third’ line defenders (beyond linebackers) is a fair one. Too many missed, one-armed and closed-eyes tackle attempts and diving at the runner from four feet away does not replace squaring up and hitting. It cost us point…several.

    I think there is more than solid evidence that this team is growing solidly week to week, not only as a whole but individually. It seems to me the decisions made by CKW are thoughtful and sound; he (KW) remains the best authority to decide who should play in each position and when to make the proper changes with a view to his game-day and the longer span vision; without regards to our generally uneducated ‘impressions’. I’m totally content with the idea that we have one hell of a staff, a strong, tough, talented and intelligent, clear-headed leader who is giving us a chance to rejoin the B1G with a competitive team in an environment of pride and hard-work. The rest will take care of itself over his tenure. Good job for having the clarity to make the choice, Glass. KW is earning his support and you ours.

    One impression (which is likely to be baseless as it may seem appropriate to the observer); though it wasn’t too hard to figure out that there were others who may have thought that Saturday was not a good moment to promote Hoosier basketball (as much as we love it). I do believe Coach Crean and his introductions should have deferred or been carried out in a ‘more respectful way'(towards the belief in the IU football program) despite the attention to ‘Indiana’s first practice’ and the ESPN carnival. Should we not also celebrate our other nationally re-known programs such as soccer when we have a chance to do so on a national stage?

    It does feel good to sense we are making significant progress and gaining on our goals for the football program.

  • Geoff says:

    Tsao – that second to last paragraph doesn’t make sense… It’s English, but who the hell can make out your point. Are you saying basketball shouldn’t have allowed ESPN to promote them because it’s football season? Are you asking why didn’t Crean point out what a great soccer program we have? What does Friday night’s practice have to do with Saturday? Did IU do a basketball promotion at the football game?

  • slojoe says:

    I think that Tsao is referring to the fact that Crean and the team were at the game and introduced to the crowd.

    Crean has vocally supported all of IU’s programs especially on twitter including both men’s and women’s soccer. I don’t really see how this can be anything but a positive for the football team. They’re trying to come back just like the basketball team did though their comeback is a much tougher road. So having the basket- ball team show up for their game would seem to be a big show of support.

  • Dunbar says:

    Geoff, it’s Tsao. It’s not going to make sense. You are not allowed to mention bball until after IU has lost the Bucket game. You should know this by now. No matter that the BTN calls the shots on who they interview. Crean should have punched J Leman in the face and pointed in the direction of whoever the hell the soccer coach is.

  • Hoosier Carlton says:

    Basketball IS Indiana. Crean is Lord of the Ineffable. You can’t mention Indiana without bringing up BB. U should have learned that by now.

  • Chet says:

    CKW recruited players are, at best, sophomores and/or JUCOs. Yet, we have seen a lot of growth. They do seem to ‘play up’ to the opposition. I hope the same sort of effort is put forth against PU.

    Implying Meyer held the score down and put OSU within an onside kick of losing the game is certainly the most asinine thing I’m likely to hear today (and it is an NFL game day).

    Sudfield might be the guy, I don’t know. Certainly, nothing on the field has shown a great deal of separation between the two. So many variables between starting the game and finishing one. It’s hard to say. I think we still have to go by coach’s assessment and the guy does know a little bit about quarterbacks.

    I’m pretty sure CTC had little to nothing to do with the network wanting to interview him within a day of the opening of practice. The BTN wanted him for an interview and Fred Glass OKed it. He did the best he could to minimize basketball operations during football season.

    All in all a pretty amazing effort. Too bad it happened late at night. If it were a 12:00 game it would have been the talk of the town.

    I’m pretty excited to have a stalker. Now I know how Brad Pitt feels.

  • Geoff says:

    And how Clarion feels…

  • HoosierFan12 says:

    I agree with some of you that the team has shown growth game after game, I think we should win against Navy this coming week and that should give much needed encouragement to the team. Especially going into a less tougher stretch. In other news, did you guys hear about the Iowa decommitment of 4-star defensive end David Kenney? Him and other good recruits were at the game on Saturday. It would be huge if he landed at IU!

  • Chet says:

    For obvious reasons the Brad Pitt comparison strikes closer to home.

  • Chet says:

    HoosierFan12, any more info on that?

  • Rico Chet says:

    Now I know how Brad Pitt feels.

    Yeah, we should call you Arm Pitt.

  • Chet says:

    It’s a different spelling.

    Perhaps Ar’reem.

  • Laffy says:

    TT is going to bitch 24/7 about Crean no matter WHAT while acting like Bobby was Jesus’ brother.

    Yawn.

  • Higgi says:

    Coach Wilson…once again I will implore you to start Nate Sudfeld next week @ Navy. Coffman has some talent and is workman-like at QB, however, Sudfeld is a special talent and whenever he steps on the field the team seems to raise the level of their play. NATE SUDFELD should be the STARTER for this up-and-coming IU team…start Sudfeld and IU will actually win a couple more games this year, guaranteed.

  • TsaoTsuG says:

    Upon rereading that paragraph (I wrote), sounds pretty dumb to me as well. I was actually trying to react to reports that a great part of the Hoosier crowd ‘disappears’ at half time, turning the stands into a pro-Buckeye crowd. Sorry.

    Crean should and does get IU a lot of good exposure. The 2012 almost magically became the retelling of the “Hoosiers” saga at the collegiate level.

    On whether I should accept that IU will forever be a one barn town, don’t think I’d ever accept that. The historical Hoosier experience as a national (and international) power in several sports (basketball, Swimming, Soccer, track and field…)is something I take a lot of pride in. I also think it is a good answer for many anti-Hoosiers who think we are fundamentally unsophisticated hicks obsessed with being a xerox copy of Kentucky.

    Football will soon rise to be a proud part of the whole program and will(continue to) sustain other nationally ranked sports at IU as well.

  • Rico Chet says:

    You asked for it, Chet.

  • Geoff says:

    Who thinks that Tsao? I have lived in a lot of places where I told people I was a Hoosier and been in a lot of conversations as a Hoosier fan and I haven’t heard that from anyone (except UK fans in comments sections, and who cares what they say/think).

    Anyone with any level of education, sophistication, or culture knows that IU is a top notch university and not a breeding ground for the Future Hicks of America. And for those who don’t have a level of sophistication, education, or culture to understand that, why would you care about their opinion on those things?

    I feel like there are a lot of overly-sensitive Hoosiers out there? Or a maybe just a couple really vocal ones.

  • Chet says:

    Rico, I hope you understand that I was kidding about the “W” remark. I am amused that you spend so much time fascinated with me. Obviously, it’s not reciprocated as I have an extremely entertaining life.

    I do enjoy seeing the amount of time you spend dwelling upon me. Please don’t stop. It’s a great source of amusement in my home. Better than a lot of the stuff on cable (actually it’s DirecTV).

Comments are closed.

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