Welcome to the final home edition of our Throwback series as we take a glance at the Hoosiers final game at The Rock in 2012. The fanfare coming into the game was as high as it has been in the last 20 years in Bloomington. ESPN2 was in town to televise the game and the game carried postseason implications for both teams, adding to the atmosphere was the forecast that was supposed to be in the 70s.
Opponent: Wisconsin Badgers
Location: Saturday November 10th /12pm/ Memorial Stadium/ (Bloomington, Indiana)
Why They Played: The Hoosiers battle the Badgers every year now that they are both part of the Leaders Division.
What The Game Meant:
Coming into the game the Hoosiers could end the day controlling their own destiny in the Leaders Division if they could pull of an upset of Wisconsin. This was deemed by some to be the biggest Hoosier football game since 2007 and was a cause for excitement. Lately the Hoosiers have been blow out in the series by a score of 204 to 41 over the last three seasons and have not been victorious against the Badgers since 2002.
Top Offensive Performers:
Ted Bolser, TE, Indiana- To say that one individual had a top offensive performance in this game is like being the tallest midget, however Bolser put forth a respectable effort catching three passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Montee Ball, James White, Melvin Gordan, RBs, Wisconsin- The three headed running monster rolled up 455 of the 564 rushing yards for the Badgers, while accounting for six touchdowns. It was like watching a practice where the runners were not allowed to be taken down, as Indiana defenders dove and flopped on the ground as all three of the runners flew by on their way to pay dirt.
Top Defensive Performers
Indiana- I cannot name a top defensive performer on a team that looked like butter to Wisconsin’s hot knife. It was an embarrassing way to end the 2012 home schedule and brought the Hoosiers back to Earth.
Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin- The All-Everything linebacker stuffed the Hoosiers offense all day, recording eight tackles and recovering a fumble. There were a lot of solid performances on a defense that held the Hoosiers to just 294 total yards, but Borland showed he was the heart and soul of this unit.
Special Team Performance:
When an average special teams performance is the high water mark of the game something went horribly wrong. Kicker Mitch Ewald did not get to attempt a field goal but hit both of his extra points, while punter Erich Toth averaged a weak 38.6 yards on eight total kicks. Even the Hoosiers return game could not get going as they only averaged 18 yards on five returns.
Wisconsin shattered the school record for most rushing yards in a single and annihilated the Memorial Stadium rushing record by over 100 yards. The Hoosiers just had no answer for the power of the Wisconsin offense.
The Hoosiers had just scored a touchdown with under three minutes to go in the first half to pull within 10 and had the Badgers stuck in a 3rd and very long situation with 24 seconds left in the half when James White broke off a 69-yard touchdown scamper and from that point on the Badgers never looked back.
I Knew it was over when…
Montee Ball scored on Wisconsin’s first drive of the second half to make the score 31-7.
Players of the Game
Indiana Weather – Once again when a game is this lopsided it is tough to pick out a bright spot, so I am just going to list that the weather was Indiana’s player of the game. All Hoosier fans have sat through some blow outs in brutal weather, this was not the case as the sun shone and temperatures were in the 70s on this early November Saturday it was pleasant to sit and soak up some rays.
Wisconsin- Montee Ball, Running Back- The touchdown machine lived up to the hype as he rushed for a game high 198 yards and three touchdowns. He made the Hoosiers defense look like a JV team all day.
What I took away from the game
This was by far the worst and most humbling performance of the 2012 season for the Hoosiers. Expectations were sky-high coming in and some fans were talking Rose Bowl. Indiana came in on a hot streak but looked like they were affected by the lack of a big crowd on senior day and a game that would be broadcast on ESPN2. I don’t blame the students for not buying into the hype coming into the game and it turned out that staying in the grass lots was probably the best idea they had all day, but to not go into the stadium for a half of a game with postseason implications is downright awful, yet typical. The loss left the Hoosiers needing to win out on the road to get bowl eligible.