A flashback to 2004, Gerry DiNardo and a wild one at Autzen #iufb

Perhaps you’ll recall a September evening a decade ago, back when Gerry DiNardo was the man surveying the Indiana sideline, when the Hoosiers hadn’t known a road victory since the days of Cam Cameron.

On this date in 2004, Indiana pulled off one of its more noticeable upsets in recent memory, beating No. 24 Oregon 30-24 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.

Need a refresher? OK.

The Hoosiers were outgained 495-198, and were held to only 62 yards after halftime. This, after entering the game riding a winless road streak that spanned the previous two seasons.

How’d they do it? Easy. They just took advantage of seven Oregon turnovers.

Indiana jumped out to a 23-0 start at halftime, and used this 98-yard kickoff return by Lance Bennett in the second half to help seal it. The video of Bennett’s return is below.

Since the Oregon upset, Indiana has defeated only two ranked opponents — No. 24 Minnesota later in the 2004 season and No. 15 Iowa in 2006. Both of those wins came at Memorial Stadium.

4 comments

  1. This was a great game. My wife and I were there with a friend and not too many other Hoosiers. Oregon was giving out free t-shirts to their fans – their fan base was young and looked like they would have been loud if the Hoosiers had not put the hurt on them early by taking advantage of a ton of turnovers – memory was they might have fumbled a kick-off and two punts deep in their territory? DiNardo did a nice job of going for the jugular and capitalized on Oregon’s errors. We few Hoosiers were going wild in the early going but late in the game we were sweating it out, hoping to hang on. If you can see the video of the kick-off return for a touchdown, look at the size of the Oregon players – yikes.

    Later we watched SportsCenter (of course) and saw that they did not have the right version of the IU helmet when they pulled the IU helmet out out to signify the winner – I hope we have taken care of that this year – we might surprise a few folks.

    My favorite memory – our friend (an IU grad with few opportunities to see the Hoosiers in person) sat with one of his friends in one of the Oregon luxury boxes – when IU got ahead by a few touchdowns, he pulled an IU flag out of his backpack and started sporting it around like a cape – he was still wearing it post-game down on the field. Great night to be a Hoosier in Eugene.

    Oregon canceled its trip to Bloomington the next year which was a disappointment – I was looking forward to seeing them at Memorial stadium.

  2. Nice David! I was at that game, too. I was dating a girl who was an Oregon grad. I sat surrounded by a sea of green. I couldn’t believe that game. Granted that Oregon team was the worst team they had since ’93 and only finished 5-6. Didn’t matter to me though. Felt good to finally watch the breaks go our way. Totally didn’t expect to even be in that game let alone win it.

    MM, when I read your post, I couldn’t believe that we only beat 2 ranked teams since then. In the ’07 season, I was sure we beat a ranked Iowa team on the road. But you’re right, they weren’t ranked. Actually, interestingly, in our lone bowl season, we didn’t play a single team that was ranked at the time we played them.

    Nice find. Bennett returning that kick return was such a great memory.

  3. Back to back posts from me and I will go back into hiding for a while….for many reasons. I must say in all my time watching IU football this game is one of the top 3-5 I have ever seen and it is my best memory…

    My wife was pregnant with our first child, she actually delivered just days later. I wanted to see the game so badly that I got to Yogi’s 2 hours before kickoff to secure our table. It was a beautiful night and Yogi’s opened the sides in their outside area. I will never forget the crowds or people that kept coming as IU kept scoring. People kept standing in front of my pregnant wife and I had to ask them to move. One drunk guy tried to take the chair she was using to prop her legs up. One of the coolest things ever to be a part of with football at IU was crowds formed outside of Yogi’s…over 200 maybe and middle of the 3rd quarter and end of game they just randomly started singing the fight song. It gave me chills then and still does today. It was a magical night! One day I hope to have more games to tell my kids about. Have a great weekend all! By the way, my daughter who was born days later stopped breathing 3 times within the first hour and I was the only one with her, just me and 2 nurses. I never knew how much you could care for something…someone you did not even know. I was a changed man after that and she is healthy today and has her 10th birthday tomorrow. Thanks for letting me share this!

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