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Best of the Aughts, football edition.

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Obviously, this is a different task in football than in basketball.  First, IU won only 39 games from 2000-2009, meaning that a top 10 list will include more than a quarter of IU's wins.  While IU is far from a historical power in football, the Hoosiers' .333 winning percentage from 2000-2009 was the worst since the 1950s.  Still, in between all of the losses, there were some fun moments for IU.  As before, I welcome your disagreements and additions in the comments:

10.  October 12, 2002: Indiana 32, Wisconsin 29 (Bloomington): In Gerry Dinardo's second Big Ten game at IU, the Hoosiers overcame a 29-10 third quarter deficit and upset Wisconsin for the second consecutive year.  Gibran Hamdan passed for 310 yards and 4 touchdowns in the win.  Unfortunately for Dinardo, after his 1-1 Big Ten start, he won only two of his final 22 Big Ten games as IU's coach.

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Gibran Hamdan, shown later with the Buffalo Bills, proved his NFL worthiness against the Badgers.  (via www1.pictures.zimbio.com)

9.  September 17, 2005: Indiana 38 Kentucky 14 (Bloomington): In the last (to date) meeting in the old Bourbon Barrel rivalry, IU ended a 1-9 skid against the Wildcats with a beatdown that left the Hoosiers with an 18-17-1 lead in the series.  Blake Powers threw 4 touchdown passes and Chris Taylor ran for 176 yards. 

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Powers and Taylor led the Hoosiers to a win over the hated Wildcats.  (via graphics.fansonly.com)

8.  October 7, 2006: Indiana 34, Illinois 32 (Champaign):  The 2006 Illini were terrible, but the Hoosiers had not won at Champaign's Memorial Stadium since 1979.  After IU fell behind 25-7, coach Terry Hoeppner exhorted the Hoosiers to come back, and they did, taking the lead at the final gun with an Austin Starr field goal. 

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Austin Starr defeated Illinois with one of his mant clutch kicks.  (via assets.espn.go.com)

7.  September 29, 2007: Indiana 38, Iowa 20 (Iowa City):  In one of the strangest games in IU history, the Hoosiers jumped out to a 21-0 lead, thanks in no small part to a long fumble return by Kellen Lewis.  Lewis justifiably was flagged for his flip into the end zone, but it was the most indelible image of a memorable day.

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Kellen Lewis flips into the end zone during IU's win at Iowa.  (via www.heraldtimesonline.com)

6.  October 28, 2006: Indiana 46, Michigan State 21 (Bloomington): this particular Michigan State team, in the final days of the John L. Smith era, was a mess, but this game makes the cut because of the sheer enjoyment.  I don't recall IU ever putting as thorough a beatdown on a Big Ten team.  IU spotted the Spartans a 7-0 lead but led 44-7 before a couple of garbage time TDs by MSU.

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James Hardy scored 4 touchdowns in a blowout win over Michigan State.  (via blog.cleveland.com)

 

 

5.  October 14, 2006: Indiana 31, Iowa 28 (Bloomington): The Hoosiers trailed the then 15th-ranked Hawkeyes 21-7 before a furious comeback.  James Hardy caught three touchdown passes from Kellen Lewis in the win, which game only a week after the last second win at Illinois.

 

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One of three TDs by James Hardy (via images.blackheartgoldpants.com)

 

4.  October 6, 2001: Indiana 63, Wisconsin 32 (Madison): The Hoosiers jumped out to an improbable 35-0 first quarter lead and a season that began with a home loss to Utah suddenly got interesting, although it was too little, too late for Cam Cameron. I was so thoroughly disillusioned by Cam-ball that when I saw that score update while watching a game in a different stadium, I said to my friend: "I guarantee that they flipped that score.  And if they didn't, we'll still blow it."  Thanks to 6 touchdowns by Levron Williams, the Hoosiers rolled over Wisconsin, the first win over the Badgers since 1992.

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Antwaan Randle El against the Badgers.  (via images.usatoday.com)

3.  November 24, 2001: Indiana 13, Purdue 7 (Bloomington): On a rain-soaked field in Bloomington, IU's defense played well and the offense was good enough, and Cam Cameron, destined for firing, salvaged a bit of pride by winning the Old Oaken Bucket for the first time in five years.  While Cameron's teams were known as all-offense, no-defense, a goal line stand in the fourth quarter saved the day. 

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Few players have deserved it more, Antwaan.  (via home.flash.net)

2.  September 11, 2004: Indiana 30, Oregon 24 (Eugene): Few expected much to come from IU's trip to the Pacific Northwest, but IU took advantage of Duck turnovers to build a 24-0 lead and held on, barely, to win.  The Hoosiers remain the only Big Ten team to win there in the last 30 years, and one of only two non-conference teams (Boise State in 2008 is the other) to win in Eugene in the last 15 years. 

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BenJarvus Green-Ellis and the Hoosiers schocked the college football world.  (via graphics.fansonly.com)


1.  November 17, 2007: Indiana 27, Purdue 24 (Bloomington): How is it possible that I wouldn't want to watch the #1 game on my list?  Given the implications, bowl eligibility for the first time in 13 years, I couldn't list any game higher than this one, but I'm still annoyed that IU, at home, with everything on the line, had a mediocre Purdue team down 24-3 and almost blew it.  Still, Austin Starr won yet another game with his leg, and the Hoosiers were bowl-bound for the first time since 1993.

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Austin Starr celebrates his game-winner.  (via graphics.fansonly.com)

So, that's it.  I hope that the decade of the 2010s is kinder than the last one, but the Hoosiers still provided some memories.  Again, I welcome any criticism, corrections, or additions.

Honorable mention:October 25, 2008: Indiana 21, Northwestern 19 (Bloomington); November 10, 2001: Indiana 37, Michigan State 28 (East Lansing); October 30, 2004: Indiana 30, Minnesota 21 (Bloomington).