The Hoosiers' return to postseason play was an important outcome on its own, but IU was dominated by Oklahoma State, which should provide the team with plenty of offseason motivation. Here's the box score. Anyone who watched the game knows that the final score doesn't really reflect the full extent of OSU's dominance.
IU moved the ball respectably on the first drive but settled for a field goal. The next time IU managed a first down, the score was already 21-3. IU had a decent drive but failed on the fourth down conversion and the game essentially was over at that point. I thoughy an early killer play was the facemask on Tracy Porter, which turned a 7 yard loss on second down into an OSU first down when IU still led 3-0. Certainly, OSU was a better team and likely would have won anyway, but any kind of a stop early on might have taken the pressure off the offense. Still, as bad as the IU defense was, it's hard to explain IU's lack of success against what during the regular season was a terrible OSU pass defense.
If this is James Hardy's last game as a Hoosier, he should be proud of his outstanding career, but nothing about his final game will make any sort of highlight reel. Hardy missed some catchable balls early that might have changed the direction of the game.
The statistics were deceptively close. OSU outgained IU 513-399. OSU had the advantage in yards per play, 6.2 to 5.2. IU ran the ball effectively, although that mostly was a result of some long Lewis scrambles. IU won the turnover battle 2-0, which further highlights the Cowboys' dominance. In the first half, IU gained 156 yards and OSU 327. That really tells the story more than the final stats.
I really have to wonder how in the world OSU lost six games. Zac Robinson is an amazing talent, and freshman receiver Dez Bryant, who I didn't even mention in any preview post, is going to be a star.
This was a good season. Because of the offseason turmoil involving the absence and eventual death of Terry Hoeppner, most pundits picked the Hoosiers to finish at or near the bottom of the standings. Certainly, IU played a favorable schedule, but managed to win seven games and produce the first winning season since 1994 and first bowl since 1993. IU sold the vast majority of its ticket allotment and it was great to see the sizable group of fans that followed the Hoosiers to Arizona. Hopefully, in terms of player development, recruiting, and fan support, 2007 and the Insight Bowl will be a first step for IU's program.