Indiana Football: Are the Wheels Falling off?


What goes up must come down. Expectations, once high for Indiana football, has become low once again.

The Indiana bandwagon was full on homecoming, but was quickly emptied after a celebration of football, friends and alumni became a sudden aftershock.

At 4-0, a campaign to bring ESPN College Gameday to Bloomington, a near upset of the defending national champs, a record-breaking game from Nate Sudfeld as he made his return to injury. Kevin Wilson and company had all of this — and at the end of the 4th quarter against Rutgers they are all afterthoughts.

-= Related: #HoosierHysteria is October 24th =-

After the undefeated start, three straight losses… This is Indiana football. Year end and year out it seems like the Hoosiers bring us hope and then crush it mid-season. Indiana fans come to accept this every year.

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This was difficult to accept after the Hoosiers gave up a 25-point lead to a team that has been in the news, for not winning or accomplishments, but kicking players off due to off the field issues. It wasn’t Rutgers who they lost to, oh no. They lost to themselves.

After building a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter, then allowing Rutgers to retake the lead 27-24 in the final minute of the first half, Indiana scored four straight touchdowns to take the seemingly safe lead.

Kyle Federico connected on a 26-yard field goal as time expired on Saturday to break a 52–52 tie and improve the Scarlet Knights to 3–3 on the year, capping a run of 28 unanswered points. The comeback began with 2:06 remaining in the third with a 43-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Laviano to Leonte Carroo.

“It’s adjustments, it’s guys making plays,” Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said after the game. “I think it’s just a matter of continuing to compete and it’s not easy to do. It takes tough-minded people, and I think we have that.”

Oct 17, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; IMandatory Credit: Matt Kryger-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest, IU did not lose because of certain made by coach Flood, the Hoosiers lost because they became selfish. They started smiling after they went up 52-27. Everything they had gained earlier in the season started to slowly fade away.

A record day for Sudfeld (464 yards) became invisible after back-to-back drives that resulted in interceptions. The Scarlet Knights scored touchdowns after both of Sudfeld’s picks.

A defense that was surprising many fans became a ghost. The Scarlet Knights converted 12 third-downs on 20 attempts. Back-up running back Robert Martin has six (6) touchdowns in two career games against the Hoosiers.

“In this day and age of college football, you need to keep playing,” Wilson said. “Unfortunately, they kept playing. We did not. I just saw some smiles I didn’t like.”

This was coming… IU has demonstrated an inability to stay focused when it has the lead. The Hoosiers led in the third quarter against Southern Illinois, Florida International, Western Kentucky and Wake Forest. Each one of these opponents battled back and nearly accomplished in exploiting the weakness that Rutgers blew open.

Indiana must come together in the thick of the Big Ten schedule. The Hoosiers face opponents with a combined record of 19-2 in the next three weeks.

Postseason aspirations were a real thing for Indiana just two weeks ago. I don’t know if they exist now. Just like 2007, The Purdue game at the end of the season may determine if Indiana is in a bowl game.

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