Written By Sammy Jacobs (@sammyj108)
With the bowl season just a few days away, and while the Hoosiers will not be bowling there are still plenty of very solid games to watch, now is a perfect time to look back at the 2013 regular season for the Hoosiers.
1. The Offense- While inconsistent at times the 2013 Hoosiers offense was a record setter. Indiana averaged 38.4 points and 508.5 yards per game. Sophomore Tevin Coleman finished just 42 yards short of becoming the first Hoosier back to crack the 1,000-yard mark since 2001. He definitely would have if not for the ankle injury he suffered in the fourth quarter of the Illinois game. Junior Cody Latimer became the first IU receiver to break the 1,000-yard receiving milestone since James Hardy in 2007. The outlook for 2014 is good despite the Hoosiers losing running back Stephen Houston (790 rush yards), Kofi Hughes (739 receiving yards), and Ted Bolser (six touchdowns), also the Hoosiers have not figured out their quarterback situation.
2. Three B1G Wins- Kevin Wilson continued the upward trend for IU football. The Hoosiers notched three Big Ten wins for the first time since 2007. Indiana knocked off Penn State for the first time ever, 44-24, and beat bottom feeders Illinois and Purdue. While none of the three teams were great and two of them combined for just one Big Ten win, these games still held some significance for the Hoosier program.
3. Young Defenders- The Hoosiers defense was awful this season, however there are reasons to be very hopeful for the future. Those reasons are freshmen Darius Latham, Raphael Green III, TJ Simmons, Marcus Oliver, Clyde Newton, Antonio Allen, and Rashard Fant. Fant redshirted this year and is lauded as the Hoosiers’ best cover corner. Back to the guys on the field, TJ Simmons, who looks like the real deal finishing fourth on the team in tackles with 68 and manning the position of middle linebacker and also was named to the All-Freshman Big Ten teams by ESPN.com and the Big Ten Network. Raphael Green won Freshman Player of the Week honors for his effort against Ohio State and both Oliver and Newtown filled in great when they were needed. Safety Antonio Allen, who was lost for the season in the Michigan game, should fill in for the departed Greg Heban.
1. The Defense- As good as the offense was the defense was that bad. The Hoosiers gave up a whopping 38.8 points and 527.9 yards per game. While they played well at times there were too many explosion plays let up and let mediocre offenses move the ball at will. In conference play the Hoosiers allowed 41.9 points and 560.2 yards per game. That was historically awful and could cost Doug Mallory his job as defensive coordinator.
2. Ohio State and Wisconsin Games- While nobody outside of the coaches and players believed that the Hoosiers would go on the road and knock off either of these two teams, the performance of the Hoosiers offense was down right bad in both games. Indiana managed 17 points total between the two games and was shut out for six of the eight quarters. The weather played huge roles in both games. Against Wisconsin Nate Sudfeld looked like he has never thrown or handled a wet ball in his life, bobbling several snaps and losing a fumble. In the snow against the Buckeyes, Sudfeld missed several open receivers and looked shaken up by the poor weather.
3. Scheduling- Fred Glass and Indiana athletics made it a point to upgrade the Hoosiers’ football schedules in order to boost attendance at Memorial Stadium. The strategy backfired as the Hoosiers lost two early home games and never sold out a game at home this season. Instead of playing winnable games they Hoosiers scheduled games against Navy and Missouri. The scheduling philosophy has to change because those two games don’t sell tickets unless IU is winning. They are not rivals and they are not big enough names that bring fans into Bloomington. Instead of renewing the rivalry with Kentucky or even playing a MAC school like Ball State who bring fans to Bloomington, Glass schedules a triple option team and a very good Missouri team. These games make zero sense. If you want to draw fans from opposing teams in and care only about gate receipts and money instead of getting bowl eligible, than IU might as well schedule Notre Dame and go travel to a big SEC school.
1. Missouri and Navy Games- These games will be overshadowed because of the last second loss to Minnesota, but the Hoosiers put themselves in a tough spot with early season losses to Missouri and Navy. As it turned out the Missouri loss was not that bad as the Tigers made it all the way to the SEC championship game. The ugliest loss of the season must be the one to Navy. Indiana looked like they had no idea what the triple option was and the Hoosier offense was doomed by a slow start. Navy ran the ball 70 times for 444 yards and did not punt the ball once.
2. Attendance- This speaks for itself and anyone who was either at or watched Indiana home games on TV know what I am talking about. The attendance at IU football games is concerning. The number of tickets sold averaged over 40,000 a game again but the real attendance was probably around half of that and even less after half time. Its reasonable to say that Hoosier fans are just sick of falling short of expectations and trust me I get it, but let’s be real the culture surrounding the football program stinks. Tailgating, if you can call it that, is the top priority of the student fans and the fact that Memorial Stadium allows pass outs at half time is mind boggling, especially for an athletic director obsessed with turning a profit. The Hoosiers failed to sell out a game at home for the third year in a row. It is 100% understandable why fans don’t show up. The only way to get fans from the parking lot into the stadium is for the Hoosiers to win games.
3. Minnesota- In what Hoosier fans will remember as the game that cost IU a bowl berth, Indiana had their hearts ripped out in a crushing loss. The Hoosiers had battled back to take a 39-35 lead after trailing 35-13, and then the Gophers went ahead 42-39. The Hoosiers drove down inside the Gopher 15-yard line and were posed to at least tie the game when the train went off the rails. Nate Sudfeld's pass went backwards and Tevin Coleman failed to jump on the fumble and just like that the game was over. Leaving only questions of why was that play called? Why didn't Coleman fall on the ball? And did that really just happen? This is the kind of loss that the Hoosier faithful have come too familiar with and is the reputation of the program. The Hoosiers could have let this loss affect them and just packed it in the last 4 games, however to their credit Indiana went 2-2 over the final four games and reclaimed the Old Oaken Bucket.
In sum, the 2013 season was a roller coaster filled with great program wins and soul crushing losses. 2014 cannot come soon enough for this Hoosier program that face an easier non-conference schedule and another influx of young talent. Until then it will be interesting to see what changes will come to the program and if the Hoosiers can fix the issues that plagued them in 2013.