WHAT. A. GAME. Besides giving every IU fan heart palpitations in the program's most exciting game of the 21st century, WHAT DID WE LEARN?
1. Not only did Indiana belong in this game, they should've won it. They were YARDS away from tying the game up with seconds left against the #1 team in country. Think about that. They were missing their two best players, at the most premium of positions. And they pushed the defending national champs to the literal brink.
2. Jordan Howard's value has never been more apparent. After he went out with an ankle injury in the first half, the flow of the offense was never the same. Yes, they put up some points, but any consistency was difficult to come by. Get well soon, Jordan.
2a. ZANDER. Yes, Nate Sudfeld is the quarterback and there is no controversy there, but holy shit was that fun. Watching him catch flea flickers, break away for a 79(!) yard TD, and attempt to lead a 2-minute drill in the most pressured of situations was truly something to see. And he did it all with a bit of flair too, injecting some energy and personality into an offense that was floundering without its two cornerstones.
3. This team is different than years past. The offense was hobbled today, and outside of 3 backbreaking runs from All-World Ezekiel Elliott that totaled 195 yards, the defense held up their end of the bargain, and then some. Playing without Darius Latham, the IU defense stood up to Cardale Jones and the prolific Ohio State offense, holding them completely in check for most of the game, only to be taken out by Zeke Elliott, the best player on the field and maybe the country, who went all GREEGG JENNNNINGS and put the team on his back, doe.
Indiana has now shown resolve in the past few weeks that was completely absent from the program since 2010. Kevin Wilson was running along the sidelines all game like a madman and his players responded similarly. They played with fire and passion and were objectively fun to watch. The program has truly turned the corner, and by god, let's hope it's here to stay.