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Nebraska 27, Indiana 22: Three things

Time for a little quick reaction after a frustrating and heartbreaking Homecoming loss for the Hoosiers.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time this season, Indiana had plenty of opportunities in a close, painful loss at home. With the Hoosiers falling to 3-3 on the season, here’s some quick and immediate thoughts on today’s loss.

More questionable decision-making by Kevin Wilson.

It’s not to say the game would have played out the same way, but Kevin Wilson passed up two opportunities for 40-ish yard field goals — one on the first drive of the game and one in the third quarter while trailing 17-8 and really in need of some points. He seemed to finally trust his defense and punted a couple times when, in the past, he never would have considered it. But for some reason, he couldn’t bring himself to put 3 points on the board and trust his defense enough to think a couple field goals could go a long way.

Throw in the decision to give Zander Diamont extensive playing time and it’s hard not to want to hang this loss squarely on Kevin Wilson. (Pay attention to CQ this week, as I promise there will be more on playing Diamont.)

The defense was outstanding again.

The Indiana defense gave up 20 points. The two field goals Nebraska kicked were the result of hard-earned, grind it out drives. The two touchdowns were results of flukes. The first Huskers touchdown was sparked by some real circus-like shit when Indiana had a good shot at an interception and the ball bounced around and literally fell into the lap of a Husker receiver lying flat on his back. The second touchdown was on a nice play by Tommy Armstrong to scramble and find a receiver that turned into a 72-yard race to the endzone because two Hoosier defenders ran into each other while attempting to make a tackle.

Takeaway the pick-6 that made the game 17-0 early on and one of the flukes and we’re talking about how Indiana thoroughly outplayed a top-ten team. Instead, typical Indiana heartbreak.

A questionable call that we need to discuss

Look, the (non)fumble was not clear in live action or on replay. But the issue Indiana fans should take with the sequence is that the two closest referees called it a fumble on the field and were overruled by an official who was much further from the play. It’s not clear which official made the call that the runner was down, and for that reason, the Big Ten needs to offer a public explanation of what exactly happened.

Generally, when we call for the conference to give an explanation as to what happened, it’s the result of hyperbolic complaining and biased fandom. But in this case, where in addition to a distant official overruling the two officials on top of the play you have an official who, just minutes earlier told the medical staff that he couldn’t see, was lightheaded, and needed eyedrops, the legitimacy of the call has to be questioned unless the conference explains who made the call and we can get a look at the vantage point that official had. If it was the official who couldn’t see, well...

Per usual, we’ll have much more in the coming days.