Sundae Scoop: Beating Penn State a Big Deal

An anecdotal excerpt from Andy Graham’s Sunday column on IU’s first-ever football win over Penn State:

Mark Deal has always seemed an optimistic Hoosier, even amidst his immersion in an often harrowing Hoosier football history, because he and his family have also seen Hoosier success. His father, Mutt, captained IU’s 1945 unbeaten Big Ten champions. His brother Mike played on the 1967 Rose Bowl team. Now an assistant athletic director for alumni relations, Deal has personally been involved with IU football for the better part of a half century.

So there was perhaps no more appropriate person than Deal, from a historical perspective, to exchange a massive hug with IU athletic director Fred Glass at midfield after the final seconds had elapsed on a historic day.

Deal hugged Glass, then turned and with a beaming smile, said simply: “Huge.”

It is. And it might even stay that way as the years pass.

Oct. 5, 2013. Hoosier fans may want to mark the date.


  1. I don’t if this win says as much about us as it does about PSU. Dustin may take offense to this because it’s his school but this isn’t your typical PSU team. Had they not lost to Central Florida then I’d say it’s a big deal but this win starts to make up for the hole we put ourselves in with loses to Navy & Mizzou.

    We win next week @MSU then we can start marking up calendars.

  2. Penn State is going to beat Michigan next week. They’re pissed off, stoked, and at home. When they beat Blue, that should say something about them, alright….and US. With our win against MSU, that should say even more. I can’t wait for Saturday. Is it Saturday, yet? Oh….WHEN will it be SATURDAY?

  3. It may not be typical, but it’s still a team that has plenty ability to field talent equal and above an Indiana program with nothing comparable in its football legacy.

    It’s still a Penn State program that is not in the family of bottom-dwellers. They had a young QB that made some bad judgments and typical freshman nerves/mistakes. It’s still a very good team that has the depth to quickly benefit a faster slope of improvement.

    Hoosiers deserve some recognition..Even the top teams in the conference will be challenged @ MSU..That’s hardly a fair measure to claim as a must win for Indiana to determine/gauge improvement.

    From my limited perspective, I see a Hoosier football team that is enjoying the game and a finally believing in their improving talent and their steadfast, positive vibe coach. If others can’t feel it in the bones, I dare say they don’t want to…Maybe a bunch of Jack Trudeaus that enjoy having the customary weaker sibling to ridicule and keep down.

  4. Aruss, There is nothing weak about UCF, ask Spurrier and his gamecocks. O’Leary has the Knights playing well. You can claim they are overachievers but they play a hell of a game of FB.

  5. You might want to swing over to the Biletnikoff Award site and vote for Cody Latimer. It is a fan vote driven award for the outstanding college receiver in the nation.

  6. Did as you advised, HC- “vote early and often,” as has been said here in Chgo. Actually, the award is not completely “fan driven.” As I understand it, the fan vote counts for one among the others of the selection committee.

  7. Jeremy, thank you for mentioning one of the greatest Hoosiers, Mark Deal. He truly exemplifies the spirit of Hoosier Pride as he is the Universities biggest fan and works very hard to accomplish IU’s mission. Thousands have benefitted from his work, most important IU. Thank you Mark Deal!!

  8. Spoke to several friends and IU fans after Saturday’s win. I was surprised at the lack of excitement.

    My brother-in-law, the former All American at TN, former five-year NFL player and former football coach was not impressed. He really like CKW, but referred to PSU’s depletion due to the NCAA sanctions and said, “why would the best football players want to play for PSU these days? Penn Sate football is going to be down for the next two or three years.”

    My friend from IU who attended every home football game and most of the away games with me when we were at IU was also less than impressed Saturday. He said, “well, this is a PSU that has been gutted by the NCAA. If we beat Michigan State next week, then I’ll begin to get excited.”

    It seems the malaise affecting some Hoosier fans runs deeper than I thought. As my friend commented, “the way we lost to Navy was embarrassing. I’m not sure which IU team will show up from week to week. Come on, we’ve seen this before.”

    I thought Saturday’s victory was big. Not huge, but big. If for no other reason than the performance of IU’s defense. But it appears that many Hoosier fans are putting an asterisks next to the win and are yet to be convinced that things are turning around. Will winning five games this year get people to believe or does IU need to win six and go to a bowl game? What’s it going to take?

  9. A couple of my friends(one a senior professor at the IU Shcool of Business) feel the same way about IU hoops. “This is not Penn State or Purdue,” they insist. “Since when did Indiana Basketball measure success on getting annihilated in a Sweet 16 game?” They remain cautiously optimistic, but fear that Indiana is simply becoming an NBA camp for a couple talents with high ceilings and the coaching requiring deep NCAA runs is just not there.

  10. Facts won’t impress anyone who posts on this site, but PSU was ranked #33 BEFORE the IU victory (now #55), MSU is ranked #29 as of 10/7 on the USA Today 1-125 rankings, Missouri is ranked #24, Navy is ranked #47 (hard to justify that Western KY is ranked #78, after beating Navy), Bowling Green #44 (after the IU loss this is questionable) and IU was #66, but after the PSU victory we are now #54. So IU is playing just like a team between #40-#60. Some good games, some weak games. We have a VERY good offense and a weak but improving defense. Oh St (#4), MI (#17) are probably just too good for IU this season, but WI (#28) and MSU #29 are definitely “upset win” opportunities. IL #68, MN #71, and Purdue #95 are strong win possibilities. That is 6-6 to 8-4 territory for the year. However, since “it’s Indiana” no win is a given! But if you were the AD (Fred Glass is good) and had predicted that after the 5th game in Coach Wilson’s 3rd year IU would rank ahead of these football programs: PSU (#55), Iowa (#57), Vandy (#61), TN (#62), West VA (#63), MS St (#64), NC St (#67), IL (#68), MN (#71), Boston College (#73), UNC (#75), Duke (#77), U VA (#80), Cin (#85), and PURDUE (#95): you would have been called “Nuts”! Good job IU! Beat Purdue!

  11. Interesting information, BeatPurdue. But those rankings mean nothing at this stage in the season. It’s the rankings at the end of the season that matter. For example, I do not think IU is a better football team than TN or West Virginia. Where does Maryland stand after that blowout they suffered to FL St Saturday?

    I’ll be satisfied if IU wins five football games this year (a sign of progress), pleased if they win six, and over the moon if they win seven. The loss to Navy really hurt IU. We can overcome it with more wins, but it really took some of the wind out of our sails this season. But right now, I’m guessing Glass is wondering how he can get more than 42,500 people to watch IU play football at Memorial Stadium.

  12. I often wonder if other college football programs can pack in more crowds simply because they’re closer or embedded in major metropolitan areas….? What in the hell else is their to do in Columbus, Ohio on a Saturday afternoon?

    The Ann Arbor Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes all of Washtenaw County, which had a population of 344,791 as of 2010(courtesy; Wikipedia)

    The population of Bloomington was 80,405 at the 2010 census.

    And it can’t help Bloomington to have an NFL franchise in Indy. Alma mater or no alma mater…I doubt many will do a home IU game and then spend the time and money to attend a Colts game on Sunday. Huge population centers can spread the wealth. Trying to build a legitimate football program with no storied history/legacy/tradition coupled with the absence of stronger population numbers that are often present in other college football markets will always be a challenge at IU not necessarily based on simple function of winning or losing.

    I would drastically slash ticket prices for students and students that are recent grads. I would offer incentives for those willing to make the trip down from Indy. Stop spending on fireworks and offer students and the fans willing to travel some solid promotions and savings.

    And it doesn’t help when basketball and preseason basketball events keep getting pushed earlier on the calendar. There is too much overlap. Basketball goes clear into late March. It does not need to be taking stage, dominating local press, in early October before the IU football program has barely sniffed its Big 10 schedule.

  13. Columbus, OH: The population of the city was 787,033 at the 2010 census. That’s 10x the figures for Bloomington and there’s no hour drive to get from Columbus to the OSU stadium.

    No professional baseball, basketball, or football in Columbus. Big surprise that OSU can fill a college football stadium with 100,000 fans on any given weekend? Why would that surprise anyone?

  14. And those that are claiming going up and winning in East Lansing should be the current yardstick of measuring improvement are delusional. MSU is a very good football team. There isn’t a Big 10 team that won’t be thoroughly challenged in their house.

  15. Podunker, you are usually better than that. Maryland is now #38 after FSU killed them. Navy was a tough loss because we all could see a way to win that game, “one stop”! Out of 9 drives no stop until the last drive when time ran out. But Navy is a quality team. It plays in bowl games each year and wins about half. They are close to #47, if not “actually” #47. These rankings are the only types of judgments that do have meaning now. They use real data to make objective comparisons. Yes they are imperfect. They get better, more accurate, as more data is included as the season progresses. But after each game you are your record, no better and no worse. For Indiana, we are doing pretty good right now. It is up to Coach Wilson and the players to keep getting better and keep getting RESULTS, i.e. “wins” on the field!

  16. Usually better than what? What part of my opinion, as expressed in #12, was not up to my usual standards?

    Navy is a quality program,especially given the limitations imposed on their recruiting and academic standards. And because of those limitations, they should not be able to set rushing records or score at will against any Big Ten team, especially on the Big Ten team’s home field. And a loss to Western Kentucky, the injury to Navy’s quarterback early in the game notwithstanding, made IU’s loss to Navy all the more painful. Every Big Ten team should be better than West Kentucky.

    As one TV commentator said during IU’s loss to Missouri, “in order for IU to build their program, or have a chance to go to bowl games, they have to win their non-conference games, especially those played at home.” That was my point.

  17. And that same commentator would have predicted, even a depleted PSU, to not embarrass the Nittany Lions.

    You don’t judge seasons on one or two games(especially early season games with a very young team).

    Who in their right mind would have ever predicted a basketball team ranked preseason #1, and for much of the season a top-5, to struggle with a James Madison team.

    No Big 10 basketball team should struggle with James Madison(I don’t care what phenom player in their backcourt). Other than that match-up, we were exponentially more athletic and more experienced at every position on the floor. And this was the NCAA tournament where you should be most prepared(not an early season contest where the cobwebs are present).

    You can find those types of loose criticisms in a narrow bottle for any team at any point in the season in any conference across the country. Unexpected worthiness from an underrated/underdog opponent is what makes sports a joy to watch. I’m sure there’s plenty of general football fans outside die-hard Indiana crowd that were surprised by the Penn State game and the potency displayed by IU’s offense. I would imagine that many will be rooting from their living rooms when IU goes up to Michigan State. Have fun with this. Enjoy a team that looks at the cusp of being a true contender in the conference. Hope that our opponents listen to the Podunkers of the world(and his esteemed friends with knowledge of football bursting out their temples)..Hope that they take our team as lightly and doubt are staff.

    Our fine young Hoosiers tasting the first signs of change in mindset likely bond even stronger when they hear of fairweather fans doubting their coaches. Let’s hope they are rallying around Mallory because of much of this unfair criticism so early in this program’s genesis.

    Nothing inexcusable has happened on the Memorial football field in this young season…Complete hogwash. And there has been more to get excited about than has been witnessed at the gridiron graveyard in twenty years.

    We don’t need fairweather fans. There are plenty across the nation outside our tight Indiana circle that want Hoosier football to start shocking the world. It could be one of the greatest stories of redefining and reinventing a sports program in a century. Even if some of our own fans can’t get on board that level of turnaround a David finally taking punch for punch the Goliaths that so humiliated us for decades, find positive vibes in knowing the nation is cheering for those cool-a$$ chrome helmets…When IU turns the corner and takes down teams like Michigan, OSU, will nothing short of the USA hockey team finally taking down the Soviet Union in 1980. This is the building of something very special in sports. This is the story of ‘Miracle on Gridiron’ unfolding before our eyes.

    Enjoy it like every fan across the nation is cheering for the biggest underdog in the history of college football. We all know we should have been kicked out of Division 1 years ago. What a great story that we just kicked Penn State’s sorry and sad butt. Everyone has their day. This is IU Football’s day.

    Hope Mallory brings THE speech.

  18. And that same commentator would have predicted that[IU], even [against] a depleted PSU, to not embarrass the Nittany Lions.

  19. HforH, I like your enthusiasm. I’m right there with you…been lovin’ every big play IU makes for years, now I’m starting to enjoy big games. Soon it will be entire big seasons, and (who knows?) maybe even eras!

  20. PO, I am not quite sure about your statement about IU not being as good as WV. You mentioned the Terrapins got demolished by FSU but 2 games previous to that Maryland demolished WV 37-0. Also WKU I doubt is better than IU but they are better than Navy when the Maestro couldn’t play.

  21. BeatPurdue, it’s amazing how easily you discount MSU and Wisconsin based on their ranking and count them as upset win opportunities yet consider UM too good for IU.

    Both the UW and especially the MSU defenses are far superior to that of UM’s, and in fact I would say IU’s offense will have more of an opportunity to beat UM than either UW or MSU.

    I am certain that IU will not face a defense as big, fast, athletic, physical and experienced as MSU’s. Don’t expect IU to light up the Spartan secondary like it did PSU’s depleted team. If Navy and Missouri were able to keep your vaunted offense under wraps enough to come away with wins, imagine how much more difficult it will be for them when they are facing the #1 defense in the nation.

    Good luck this weekend. MSU will be ready.

  22. S4e, Also you remember the Green men have not played this year against an aerial offense like IU’s. Tit for tat. Navy and Mizzou both have offenses that gobbled up yardage and clock and keep IU’s O off the field. MSU possesses no such O. Enjoy.

  23. HC, the Iowa game was the first one where MSU had its first team OL. The MSU rushing game finally enjoyed not having to face 8 in the box as the MSU passing game lit up the Iowa secondary. If IU sells out to stop the run, Cook and his receivers will have a field day against the IU secondary. Pick your poison.

    MSU is a pro-style, run based, control the clock offense that should find the IU defense to its liking. IU will soon discover what MSU does possess on offense and it will still be too much for your defense to handle.

    The MSU defense made the necessary adjustments at halftime in last year’s game to shut the IU offense down and hold them to under 40 yards in the second half. This years defense is better.

    It takes a combination of offense, defense and special teams to win a football game. MSU excells on defense and special teams, and has an offense that is finally coming together. IU excells in only one category, offense, but against Navy and Missouri that wasn’t enough and now they will be facing the top defense in the country.

    I like MSU’s chances in this one.

  24. Spartan, how did I discount MSU (or WI for that matter)? I don’t see either team as being as strong as MI. The polls support my opinion. I just see them on TV every once in a while. They do not look like good, complete teams. MI is not great but it does look like a good, complete team. MI beat ND and MSU lost. MSU played well and beat Iowa, IU played better and beat PSU. Most observers believe that PSU is/was better than Iowa. The very term “up-set” implies that the other team is probably better but not so much better that if IU plays great and MSU (or WI) doesn’t, IU can “steal” a win. When MI plays MSU, I will “bet” on MI. If MI plays WI, I will “bet” on MI (I use “bet” because I mean win, no point spreads allowed). You are a Spartan fan, you should say “not so fast…”. I still have 83 reasons to want to beat WI!

  25. I agree Narduzzi has a damn good D. But the Hawkeyes are as marginal a test as was PSU. The Green O is still as big a Q as IU’s D.

  26. I think it was the first time in my life where I heard the announcer say “solid”, “defense”, and “Indiana” all in the same sentence….shocking. Now if they can only gain some consistency and quit being bipolar. C’mon Hoosiers, beat those Spartans!!

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