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Bowling Green 45, Indiana 42: The More Things Change...

Despite a new defensive coordinator, we saw the same old Hoosier defense yesterday in a brutal 45-42 loss at Bowling Green, as Kevin Wilson's record in close games remains awful. The Hoosiers now must push the reset button on the season. Is there time to right the ship?

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James Knapke becomes the latest unheralded QB to easily pick our defense apart
James Knapke becomes the latest unheralded QB to easily pick our defense apart
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Latin phrase nihil novi sub sole literally means "nothing new under the sun." After yesterday's loss to Bowling Green, it's the perfect phrase to describe IU football. As a result of the loss, Indiana drops to 1-1 on the season. For the past three years, we have been told to be patient with this football team, much like we were told to be patient in the first three years of the Tom Crean era. After a certain time, however, you have to start producing the type of results that are indicative of a steady, rebuilt program. Such results include not losing to a MAC school that is starting its backup QB. In year four, Crean started to produce those results (and now might have to do so again in year seven to keep his job secure). After yesterday, I'm not convinced that Kevin Wilson will get to that point in his fourth season at the helm.

Last week, we were treated to a narrative that the entire Big Ten was a dumpster fire, especially after Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State all lost by multiple touchdowns to Power 5 opponents. We Hoosiers fans were upset about having a bye week so early in the season; however, we could rest assured that we didn't embarrass ourselves on the field unlike our B1G brethren. Surely, we would put an end to the conference suckage in our next game and help to right the B1G ship. Alas, this was not the case yesterday, and the Hoosiers are out of excuses, while Big Ten football continues to burn.

After beating Bowling Green 42-10 in Bloomington last season, the Hoosiers again scored 42 points in the rematch. The only problem? They let the Falcons score 35 more points this time around in Doyt-Perry Stadium. Bowling Green opened the game by scoring a field goal on its first drive. The Hoosiers quickly responded with two touchdowns, first scoring on a quarterback sneak from Nate Sudfeld, then on a touchdown pass to J-Shun Harris, to make it 14-3. The Falcons were able to drive the ball down the field throughout the first half, but the Hoosier defense was able to stop the drives before the end zone. The Falcons settled for three more field goals from Tyler Tate, and the score was 14-12 at halftime.

After the intermission, however, a track meet broke out, much like what we're used to seeing at IU football games under Kevin Wilson. And IU found a squad willing to run with them in BGSU and their coach, Dino Babers, who also employs a fast-paced, no-huddle spread offense. This type of game may be entertaining for the casual fan, but for fans of the teams, all the lead changes can make you want to call a cardiologist. The Falcons and Hoosiers traded nine touchdowns during the second half alone. Tevin Coleman accounted for three of IU's four second-half touchdowns, and these runs were from 28, 46, and 31 yards out respectively. Coleman ended up with 194 yards on the day. However, IU left more potential scores on the table. The Hoosiers did get an interception during the third quarter, but it resulted in a loss on downs. And after a rare defensive stand in the fourth quarter, Coleman coughed up the ball deep in Falcons territory.

Sudfeld scored on another QB sneak at fourth-and-goal with two minutes to go, making the score 42-39 in favor of the Hoosiers. All the Hoosiers had to do from here was get one stop on the Falcons, and they had this game won. Of course, you know what happened next. Bowling Green QB James Knapke calmly led his team down the field, and after two consecutive costly pass interference penalties on the IU secondary, the Falcons had the ball on the Indiana two-yard line. The inevitable touchdown followed shortly, and with nine seconds left on the clock, the Hoosiers did not have enough time to retaliate, despite blocking BGSU's last extra point.

By the way, remember that couple to whom Coach Wilson gave advice? Their marriage got annulled after six months.*

*This may or may not be true.

The Pivotal Play

Knapke went 46-for-73 on the day with 395 yards and 3 touchdowns. On his 73rd pass of the game, he threw to Roger Lewis for a touchdown with nine seconds to go. Game, blouses. Just a reminder: Knapke was Bowling Green's backup until starter Matt Johnson went out to injury in the first game.

The Game Ball Goes To...

I would say Coleman, but that late-game fumble was brutal. I'll give it to Sudfeld, who rebounded from a lackluster first game to go 31-for-41 with 347 yards, a passing touchdown, and two rushing touchdowns. He did more than enough to win the game. Too bad the other side of the ball couldn't help.

Important Statistic

Games where the margin of victory is a touchdown or less, Kevin Wilson era:

9/3/11 - vs. Ball State, Loss, 27-20

9/10/11 - vs. UVA, Loss, 34-31

9/24/11 - at North Texas, Loss, 24-21

10/1/11 - vs. Penn State, Loss, 16-10

11/26/11 - vs. Purdue, Loss, 33-25

9/1/12 - vs. Indiana State, Win, 24-17

9/15/12 - vs. Ball State, Loss, 41-39

10/6/12 - vs. Michigan State, Loss, 31-27

10/13/12 vs. Ohio State, Loss, 52-49

10/20/12 - at Navy, Loss, 31-30

11/3/12 - vs. Iowa, Win, 24-21

9/7/13 - vs. Navy, Loss, 41-35

11/2/13 - vs. Minnesota, Loss, 42-39

9/13/14 - at Bowling Green, Loss, 45-42

That's right, Kevin Wilson is 2-12 in games decided by one-score margins, and one of those was against an FCS team. Sure, there's a lot of luck involved in football games, but this is a very disturbing trend. It seems like we're inventing new ways to lose close games, and this list doesn't inspire much confidence.

Unit Grades

Offense: B+. This was a balanced attack of 582 total yards, but it came up short in most of the key fourth-down moments. And what was up with bringing Chris Covington in in two of those situations? The Falcons knew each time what was going to happen.

Defense: D+. They were horrid in the second half, but at least they kept the Falcons out of the end zone in the first half, so they get points back for that.

Special Teams: D. Aaron Del Grosso missed another field goal, Erich Toth had a rough day punting the ball, and the return teams couldn't get us good field position all day. We did recover and onside kick and block the last extra point, but these hardly make up for the rest of the miscues.

Overall: C-. An unacceptable result, especially after a week off.

Song That Best Describes This Game

John Mellencamp, Authority Song. This one goes out to the two IU defensive backs who had pass interference called against them on the game-winning drive for Bowling Green. In fact, penalties were a huge factor in the final score, as IU was penalized 11 times for 143 yards. Don't fight authority, guys. Authority always wins. This same song applies for certain IU basketball players.

Next Week

At Missouri. The Hoosiers travel to Columbia to face the Tigers, who convincingly won 38-10 over Central Florida on Saturday. I saw Mizzou play last year at Memorial Stadium, where they beat us 45-28, and they are another fast, spread-oriented team, but A LOT more physical than what we saw in the Falcons this week. Guess what, Hoosier fans? We're staring down the throat of 1-2 right now, and it's hard to see us coming out of Columbia with a victory. After the loss yesterday, it's hard to see 5 more winnable games on this schedule. Which is saying something, especially in the disappointing B1G.

Quick Thoughts, Game Links, and Other Miscellany

  • Dino Babers might be an even gutsier playcaller than Wilson. He attempted an onside kick with the lead, went for two when up by 4, and went 2-for-4 on fourth down conversions. If Babers succeeds at BGSU, I wouldn't be surprised to see him at a Power 5 school in a few years.
  • How tough is it to get a consistent kicker? We are definitely missing Mitch Ewald already this year.
  • Helmet choice was the white with red numbers and red stripe. LET US NEVER WEAR THEM AGAIN.
  • The only positive news that came out of this game is that the B1G is STILL a dumpster fire. Candystripes will give you the full update on the B1G's malaise later this week, but here's the general rundown. Iowa lost because Kirk Ferentz tried to ice Iowa State's kicker. Minnesota couldn't get any offense going against TCU. Maryland made a nice second-half comeback but still came up short against a much-improved West Virginia team. LOL Rutgers. Illinois is still Illinois. And need I mention how Purdue did? So take solace, Hoosier fans, because misery loves company.
  • Box Score
  • Tevin Coleman Postgame Quotes
  • David Woods in the Indy Star says this loss is "as bad as it gets"
  • The IDS asks if IU will allow this loss to define them
  • Time is a flat circle
  • This is why we can't have nice things