They were deemed an unworthy bowl opponent for BYU by many. The announcement of their selection to the bowl was booed by BYU fans. "I hope people wonder about inviting Indiana now," said Corso. "Don't forget that a certain amount of humor is not a sign of weakness. We came here to win." So did the Cougars, who after losing two straight must think this bowl isn't such a holiday after all.
BYU gave the Hoosiers several golden opportunities, and luck gave them the right
bounces and the clock. The Hoosiers didn't return the favor.
Marc Wilson threw a bullet so hard and accurately at Indiana's Steve Mitchell that he had no choice but to catch it out of sheer self-defense. Wilson apparently misread the pattern or receiver Lloyd Jones. "He thought I'd cut underneath," said Jones. "But I kept going upfield. I had six if he had put it up."
Corso also can be thankful that time ran out in the first half just as Jones was catching a 39-yard pass at the two-yard line, where he was forced out of bounds.When Corso counts his blessings, he'll want to include the third-quarter fumble of a punt by Doug Francis at the 10-yard line. The ball rolled to the one-yard line, where it was recovered, appropriately enough, by Lucky Wallace. That led to a touchdown and a 28-24 lead.Moments later Tim Wilbur intercepted another Wilson pass and the Hoosiers drove 22 yards for a field goal. Even then not without the aid of BYU's only penalty of the night, a 15-yard personal
foul.But what Corso can be most thankful for is a fluke punt. Johnson's third field goal and Indiana's lone turnover — an interception by Tim Halverson that led to a 15-yard TD pass to Eric Lane — gave BYU a 37-31 lead. The Cougars seemed very much in control, but with eight minutes left were forced to punt. The ball sailed upfield and hit Indiana's Craig Walls on the back on the first bounce. The second bounce landed in the hands of Wilbur, who happened to be running by at the time and kept on running 62 yards for a touchdown. "It was like someone said, 'here,' and gave him the ball," said Corso.So despite gaining 520 yards, compared to Indiana's 354, the Cougars trailed by one point and it was left once more for Wilson to drive the Cougars upfield.Despite the interceptions, Wilson played well, completing 28 of 43 passes for 380 yards, and the offense was never stopped except by its own mistakes. Trouble was, the Hoosiers kept the ball away from Wilson as was their plan.Before the game Corso said, "If it goes into a shootout, we'll get killed. We might come out into a basketball stall." The Hoosiers did just that, keeping the ball 10 minutes more than BYU.
As the box score makes clear, BYU did outgain the Hoosiers significantly, particularly in the air, as has been BYU's tradition. And BYU had a chance to win with a 27 yard field goal, but missed. Overall, a fortuitous day for a football program that hasn't tended to have much luck over the years.
Be sure to check out the video of Tim Wilbur's punt return on the official Holiday Bowl site.