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Three Things: Ole Miss 26, Indiana 20

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That’s that

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Mississippi vs Indiana Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that sucked.

We’ll dive into more football things in the coming days. For now, here are Three Things:

After all of ~that~, you can’t do ~this~

The anger was justified, the frustration well-placed. But you cannot spend a month huffing and puffing, then … lose to Lane Kiffin and D.J. Durkin. Saturday was a bad look for a program that found itself in a tough spot to begin with. Win, and no one really cares. Oh, you beat a depleted Ole Miss team in the Bloomin’ Onion bowl — the bowl you were supposed to be too good for? Cool. Lose, and, well, you look like fools. But the Hoosiers didn’t just lose. They lost in demoralizing, impotent fashion. They laid an egg. Didn’t show up. Bad playcalling, bad execution, and bad energy all around. Talk about an unsatisfying season finale. After the postseason snubs from the College Football Playoff committee and the Big Ten, it was great to see IU attach extra meaning to this game. But all the talk, the tweets — everything — felt hollow when it came to nut-cutting time. This didn’t look like an angry team with something to prove. This team just looked flat.

Indiana’s defense had a great season, but it was very bad on Saturday

Ole Miss’ tempo had a lot to do with that, disrupting IU’s ability to get set and orchestrate the deception that has made Kane Wommack’s group so good this fall. The Hoosiers were on their heels all afternoon, yielding 493 yards of offense, 6.2 yards per play and 11.2 yards per completion. Matt Corral was really good, and IU never figured out a way to disrupt his rhythm. From the earliest moments Saturday, Ole Miss was the aggressor. And for an Indiana team that built its defensive reputation through blitzes and takeaways, Corral never really gave them an inch to make their mark.

The offense was a mess

Whether it was the screen passes that didn’t work, the drops, the bad blocking, the overreliance on a quarterback with a separated shoulder, or the abandonment of the running game, Saturday’s offensive effort was a total dud. Offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan had some nice moments during his first season calling the shots, but it’s hard to think of a more dispiriting way to sign off. Once again, it should be repeated: Ole Miss has one of the worst defenses in the country. Really, really bad stuff over there. And yet Indiana, in far too many situations, couldn’t get out of its own way. Sheridan let an injured quarterback throw the ball 45 times, while Stevie Scott demonstrated an ability to barrel his way forward seemingly at will against one of the worst defenses in the country. It’s cliche to yell about coaches and their lack of in-game adjustments, but man, that really felt like the case on Saturday.

One more thing

All that said, it was still nice to get one more Saturday afternoon in front of the television watching Tom Allen and the boys do their thing … even if that thing wasn’t quite to the standard. During an awful year and a stressful fall, Indiana football provided a brief, but blissful escape each weekend. It was appreciated.

Now, start counting down the days until Saturday, Sept. 4. Iowa’s on deck.

Hi, Gary!