When it comes to the events that transpired on the night of September 23rd, 2023 in Bloomington, I’d love to be able to say it’s all so surprising and out of the blue.
But the decline made that impossible.
Indiana went from the talk of the country back in 2020, knocking off Big Ten powerhouses left and right, all the way to where we found them now at the mercy of a MAC team fresh off a 2-10 season whose only win in 2023 was by a field goal against some FCS team I learned about just now for the very first time.
The 2-10 and 4-8 seasons, rather surprisingly, didn’t include some pantsing from a Group of Five opponent. But they definitely set the stage for whatever happened in Memorial Stadium last night.
Indiana, by all accounts, did not deserve to win that football game.
The football hoosiers were outgained by Akron 474-282, outrushed 263-92. On three trips to the endzone, they came away with 10 total points. Two of those occasions brought them all the way to the Zips’ one yard-line in some cruel twist of fate to remind everyone watching of the failed game-tying conversion against Louisville.
Tayven Jackson was constantly running for his life, having to throw the ball away with near-constant pressure in his face throughout the night. When completions happened they went beyond the sticks just about every time.
The offensive play-calling boggled the mind. Third-and-longs became the norm, an expected outcome of every single possession. When the ball did get to playmakers you could bet it’d be torn away from them on the next call.
With eight minutes to go in the second quarter, Indiana was stuffed on fourth-and-1 on the goal line with a chance to go up 14-0 and fully seize the momentum.
Jaylin Lucas was as open as a receiver can possibly be in an overtime sudden death possession that instead ended in an interception.
And yet, somehow, following a touchdown play from the very depths of Walt Bell’s bag and a defensive stop, Indiana got the win.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to feel good about here. Indiana looked thoroughly unprepared to play this game tonight and as you can see by every listed instance should have lost it. Sheer luck kept Indiana at 2-2 on the season. That’s not going to be good enough in the Big Ten, where there is far, far better play in the trenches than whatever that was we all saw.
Indiana is extremely lucky it escaped the spotlight with Ohio State’s last second win over Notre Dame in mind.
This is the kind of game that demands answers. What on Earth was that play-calling? What’s the thought process? How do you let this happen, at home, to a team with five total wins in the past three seasons? Why are we here in year seven??????
It’s completely unacceptable.
This is a Big Ten football program, look the part for once.