Thursday, January 10, 2013
Best and worst of 2012: Indiana
By Adam Rittenberg
Our series examining the best and worst moments of 2012 for each Big Ten team rolls on with the Indiana Hoosiers ...
Best moment: A B1G milestone
Indiana failed to win more than one Big Ten game between 2008-10 and went 0-8 in league play in 2011. The Hoosiers hadn't won consecutive league contests since the 2007 season. Kevin Wilson's squad achieved both goals this season, ending its Big Ten drought against Illinois on Oct. 27 and following it up by outlasting Iowa 27-24 on Nov. 3 in a game where the Hoosiers trailed 14-0. IU scored 24 points or more for the 10th consecutive game this season and even showed a bit of life on defense. The wins suddenly vaulted Indiana into the race for the Leaders division title because front-runners Ohio State and Penn State both were ineligible. After years of irrelevancy, Indiana football became a fairly hot topic around college football as Wilson's team found itself in position to skip a few steps on its road to respectability and make the short trip to Indianapolis on Dec. 1.
Worst moment: Reality check against Wisconsin
The most anticipated game in recent IU history turned out like so many others. A win against Wisconsin would put Indiana in prime position to represent the Leaders division in the Big Ten championship, especially because the Badgers had such a tough finish to the season (Ohio State, Penn State). Instead, Wisconsin provided a rough reality check for Indiana, thumping the Hoosiers 62-14 and setting a team record with 564 rushing yards. The rushing total marked the third highest in the Big Ten in the modern era, and Wisconsin nearly set a team record with 8.8 yards per attempt. Indiana's typically dangerous offense struggled with errors, and the defense never had an answer for Montee Ball, James White and the Wisconsin attack. "We didn't play good D, we didn't play good O," Wilson said. "We just kind of got spanked." Wisconsin clinched a spot in the Big Ten championship game, while Indiana clinched another losing season and went on to finish 4-8.