Northwestern 29, Indiana 28

IU wide receiver Tandon Doss hangs his head.

Northwestern kicker Stefan Demos hit a 19-yard field goal with 21 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 29-28 win over Indiana in a game they trailed 28-3 midway through the second quarter.

Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 65 yards and a score. Though he threw three second-half interceptions, the Indiana offense couldn’t convert any of them for touchdowns.

Indiana had a chance to put the game away in the third quarter when it was still up 28-19. The drive started by an Austin Thomas interception that set the Hoosiers up at the Northwestern 23-yard line. The Hoosiers advanced to the 1, and decided to go for it on 4th and goal, but wildcat quarterback Mitchell Evans rolled out to pass and couldn’t find a receiver open. He changed directions, but was tackled at the 2.

Northwestern followed with a 98-yard drive to score on a 51-yard pass from Kafka to wide receiver Andrew Brewer, cutting the deficit to 28-26.

After Demos’ go-ahead field goal, the Hoosiers got the ball with 21 seconds left and no timeouts. They advanced to the Northwestern 42, but opted to attempt a 59-yard field goal by Nick Freeland on the game’s last play. It fell well short to clinch the victory for Northwestern.

Brewer had eight receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. Fellow wide receiver Zeke Markshausen had eight receptions for 94 yards and a score.

Indiana running back Darius Willis rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns, including a 70-yard score on the game’s first play from scrimmage. IU quarterback Ben Chappell also rushed for a touchdown, and cornerback Ray Fisher returned a kick 93 yards for a score.


  1. This makes me sick. I have seen the same stuff since the ’50’s with a few years of exceptions. Just think about it. It is very sad to see this year after year.

  2. Here is what upsets me most. The basketball team, a team destroyed last year, would come out of every loss SO upset that they lost. The fact is, they were never supposed to be in most of the games last year, yet you would never know it from the players. The football team loses, and Lynch and everyone else has the attitude of, oh well, too bad. Maybe next week. It makes me angry. We can’t keep waiting for decent football.

  3. Wow…IU was seemingly on its way to a victory and 1 win away from a bowl game, and then the inevitable – IU’s coaching staff implodes with disaterous calls and decisions, e.g. (1) Coach Lynch faces 4 & Goal with 2 yards to go in the 3rd Quartter, so IU kicks the field goal to go up 31 – 19 and seize the momentum back…oops, not so fast, IU runs the Wildcat losing yards and the easy points; (2) 3rd and 5 midway from the NW 40yl midway through the 4th Quarter and a couple first downs could end the game…opps, not so fast, IU runs Bryan Payton for a 2 yard gain and on 4th down decides to throw the ball down the field instead of the quick slant for 3 yards. We all know what happened after that. Disasterous! IU could have coached their way to a second half victory today to go 5 – 3 and have a very realistic shot at a bowl game. Now the IU player’s confidence will undoubtely be shot, and IU football will once again finish the year with a losing record, probably 4 – 8. Crushing defeat…simply crushing!!

  4. This sucks…Lynch should be fired NOW!!! Blowing a big lead, it’s the same crap year after year after year!! I’m just sick of this.

  5. I was screaming at my television on that 4th and 1 to kick the freaking field goal. What were they thinking? Then we proceeded to burn all of our 2nd half timeouts for no reason. Probably the most gut-wrenching loss I’ve ever experienced as a fan.

  6. Time for a new coach as long as they are willing to pay for good hire, if not then give Lynch another year. If they want to win they need to pay for coach, until then it will be the same old same old.

  7. Poor game management pretty much the whole game. Same ole story same ole dance the olny thng different from week to week is the team on the other side of the ball. One of the easiest ways to tell if you have been outcoached is if the other team makes adjustments and there are no adjustments or all the wrong adjustments by your coach. Anybody ever see that happen with Lynch? Maybe the better question should be has anyone ever seen this NOT happen with Lynch? I will not put out any more money or time when it comes to football until there is a coaching change. Are you listening Mr. Glass? The players are the ones I feel the worst for. There seems to be enough talent but absolutly no leadership. If Lynch cares about them as much as he says he does he should man up and let it be known that he will not return next year so that we can get started on a coaching search tomorrow. For those of you that say support the kids get behind this team well all I can say is the best thing for these kids is for Lynch to not be there next year.

  8. This stinks I lost all hope in this staff. The players I know are giving all that that they got. Evans should’ve gotten into the end zone but tripped over his own man on that fourth and three. But what the hell is going on out there. 28-3 and we let them come back to beat us. We had a lot of chances. Northwestern kept turning it over and we couldn’t get one damn first down. I’m tired of four and outs. Out should go Canada and Lynch.

  9. For the love of God please put us out of our misery and fire Coach Lynch – IU will be “dogs” for the rest of the season meaning we have to upset somebody to win (which has almost zero chance of happening) – AD Glass here’s your choice either come up with money to get a real coach and allow him to hire a great staff or plan on 30k attendance for football games as long as you’re the AD – it’s your decision but don’t plan on anybody coming to watch this excuse for D1 football if you don’t make any changes.

    p.s. send Freitag somewhere else while you’re cleaning up the rest of the mess you were left with

  10. Clarion,

    With all due respect, did you watch the game? If you did, I don’t know how you can blame the blocked punt for the game turning.

    IU is up 28-3. Northwestern goes 75 yards on 10 plays and scores a TD. IU goes 3 & out. NW then goes 84 yards on 10 plays for another TD. IU goes 3 & out and punts. The half ends with IU up 28-17 after NW scored 14 unanswered points.

    2nd half, NW ball, it’s picked. After the pick, IU goes 3 and out. NW then runs 4 plays and punts. IU runs 6 plays and has to punt. THAT is the blocked punt for the safety. The drive AFTER the block, IU picks off NW, 1st down at the NW 22 yard line. 6 plays later, we turn it over on downs at the 2.

    After that stop, the ensuing was a 98 yard TD drive!

    The blocked punt didn’t swing crap, the inability to adjust our offense to their defense did!

  11. The frusterating thing is that IU beat Iowa only 2 seasons ago…this evening, Iowa snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to go 8-0. And tonight Stanford is pummeling ASU and will probably be ranked next week. This IU team does have lots of talent and plenty of playmakers, that is why it’s no longer acceptable to underachieve year after year. If Hep was still with us, dare I say, IU would have beat NW today by at least 2 touchdowns. Sorry Coach Lynch, I can no longer support you unless you find a way to beat either Iowa, Wisc, or Penn St, and then finish off the regular season by BEATING our hated rival Purdue!

  12. No blocked punt IU wins 28-27. You replay the game. Then do the arithmetic. The aggressive 4th down decision was the right decision. There certainly can be discussion about the play called. But any play called could have failed. The blocked punt is where the mistake was made. That’s where your bitchin should be targeted.

  13. Again, we find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I would love to say that I’m surprised…but I’m not.

  14. What, no mention of the poor leadership shown by Nick Polk’s taunting?! Poor blocking, oops, safety, and tackling led to this defeat. It’s just fundementals! Coach Lynch was aggressive in the play-calling and that is what his offense is about! It is college football and it was a great game with lots of excitement and only the ending score is a disappointment to Hoosier fans. What if that kick at the end had been a little longer, it sure was straight!

  15. Wow, really? You are correct, no blocked punt IU wins the game. I can agree on that. Your statement was the game turned on that block punt, I disagree.

    As for the 4th down call, kick the field goal on 4th down and the score is 31-29, IU still wins. Though I would have went for the TD, it sure as heck wouldn’t have been Evans at QB.

    The mistakes were made on the bench and way before the blocked punt or that 4th down play.

    Saying the safety swung the momentum of the game is either looking for an excuse to pin it on other than the real issue or just plain ignorance.

    The NW drive immediately following the safety, they lost 5 yards on an illegal formation penalty. Middleton batted down a pass on the next play, then Thomas picked the ball and returned it to around the NW 22 yard line.

    Where is the turning of the game in their favor?

    IU failed to score on the 4th down play. The NW drive after that, IU had them 3rd & 7, gave up a 9 yard pass route, then had them 3rd & 9 and gave up a 14 yard route. Two plays later Council got burnt for a 51 yard TD. Is that the coaches fault? YES! Why is that? Because everyone knows Council is horrible and yet he still plays and gets beat like a rented mule weekly!

    After that score, there was 12:33 left in the game and IU had the lead. What did they dial up? Six straight passing plays that netted 14 yards and burned a whopping 1:33 off the clock. 3 running plays would have ended in a punt but burned another 35-40 seconds off.

    Call it the punt if you want, but that game was lost by the coaching staff and them showing yet again they can’t adjust.

  16. Mike P.

    Did you replay the game on my suggestion? I think you are trying your best to make it sound as if I said “momentum” instead of “turned”. You didn’t but it is close. It was just a thought. Ok I’ll try the same target again. The blocked punt from the missed assignment did not have the impact at the time it happened as was realized at the end of the game. I don’t believe the Hoosiers felt that wounded with the two point safety because T.Thomas’s recovery saved a NW TD. So a mental trade off for IU (bad break-then-good break). As proved in there next defensive stand. But NW felt they drew blood. Hence the turn. Kafka finding wings on his cleats was some proof. That little thing of one man’s not being blocked has to be the biggest mistake of the day. One missed block gives up two points and IU is 4-4 instead of 5-3. The 4th down go-for-it was a decision in time which doesn’t allow us to know what would have happened if a decision had been made. Maybe made the field goal, maybe not. Same with the timeouts. All are intangibles that may go pro/con or can also be neutral. It is not possible to substantiate an intangible even after the action (at least I can’t with confidence and accuracy), might as well toss a coin. But the man who could not handle his responsibility on that punt is responsible for playing the most substantial role in deciding the final score. That was the beginning of the turn. No we didn’t know it then but it is the arithmetic now. It’s that point you start wishing there was less time on the clock It was decisive for the game because it occurred over such a short time frame. That short time frame also doesn’t allow me to add any more pertinent facts, leaving me with only numerous adjectives and “what ifs” which would be wasted wind. Which I despise wasting or listening to. One ESPN is enough.

    Your thoughts were factually accurate and interesting to ponder. I hope I’ve done the same. But I fear your disdain for Coach Lynch would be too large to overcome after a win let alone a loss.

    Yes, I support Coach Lynch for many reasons. (Maybe a topic we will discuss sometime.) The end result of every game and season is owned by the HC. No doubt. Also no doubt Coach lynch agrees. The clock may be ticking but I think there is positive progress when you consider 07 when our offense was a 2 trick pony and last year when there was a pony it was an anomaly. It also looks like there is development in the defense over the same time. Some recruits of both Coach Hoeppner and Coach Lynch are becoming play makers. The recruiting roads are lengthening and broadening. My perception is it’s half full and slowly rising.

  17. The blocked punt certainly did not help, neither did giving up the field goal try, but at the end of the game NW masterfully played the clock, field position and worked for the winning field goal. They played well-coached football. If they had needed a touchdown, they would have played differently and very likely gotten it–unless there had been yet another pick.

    Mike P is correct, the lack of production from the offense after 28-3 is the cause for the loss. Our play calling in critical situations apparently was not very good as judged by the results achieved.

    I personally like the wildcat in some situations, and the extra-heavy formation was a good wrinkle when they first showed it, and it gained yards. But when we REALLY had to have a play-it wasn’t there.

    By contrast, go back and look at how many big-plays the NW offense made down the stretch. The delay handoff for the first down against the grain late in the fourth was a tremendous call for them, and well executed.

    They had plays ready for IU. The other way around apparently not so.

    Sadly, no Phoenix this year.

    These last 3 games really worry me now, especially PURDUE–I was up there for that butt-whipping we got last year. Oh man I don’t want that again, and especially not at our place.

    JPat did you go up? GFDave? Where you guys at on this?

  18. Clarion,

    I happen to like a lot of what Lynch does, his recruiting, and how he prepares for a game. Except for Purdue last year and Virginia this year, I won’t say that he is not prepared going into a game. That is evident by the numbers alone.

    This team has scored 189 points this year, 124 of them come in the first half. The half time adjustments have led to this years team scoring a measly 13 points in the 3rd qtr of all games to this point. They have been shut out of 11 quarters this year, 5 of those 11 are in the 3rd quarter.

    When it happens in 1 or 2 games, you can point to player execution. When it is more than half the games you have played to this point, it is no longer the players.

    Take away the block punt and it is a 28-27 game. Take away Council getting burnt for a 51 yard TD and the safety is no longer an issue. Like you said, it is all arithmetic at this point.

    There are a lot of single plays in that game you can go back to. On their last drive, 4th & 3, they decide to go for it and get 6 yards underneath to Brewer. A stop there is a turnover on downs and we get to play the field position game. Or the 3rd & 7 play that KevinK mentioned. The final outcome of this game hinges on a lot more than just the safety, cause honestly they played for the field goal to win the game, and I have no doubt if they needed 6 instead of 3 that they would have got it.

    Lynch is on the hot seat, and I think his future is very much in the balance. If they get beat up at Iowa this weekend, I think the screams for his dismissal will be deafening. Myself, I would reserve judgment on what I believe his fate should be until 11/22.

  19. KevinK, I was there with my wife and kids. We had a blast and for once I did not let what happen on the field ruin a great time. Thoughts from me are:

    1. Our O line cannot run block for plays between the tackles, we need to pitch or hand off and stretch the it so Willis can run to the outside.
    2. Willis is good but young and he should start and play majority of every game to get better.
    3. Council is just awful and he knows it, that is half the problem.
    4. Lynch should have a set of situational plays like every coach should, to run and not have to take timeouts to figure out a play. He and the staff looked like they had NO idea what to do, it was sad really.
    5. The wildcat should not be run anymore unless there are more plays put in to run out of it, teams with good coaches can plan to easily for it.
    6. Lynch got outcoached by young Pat Fitzgerald, especially in the second half!
    7. Like Madden says, Put the points on the board, IU should have kicked a field goal up so many and doing so well. That killed the momentum if you ask me and then the crowd got into it big time.
    8. This NW game will decide if Lynch is at IU next year, I think.
    9. I feel really bad for Doss, he plays so hard.
    10. I wonder if Chap will start next year, after watching the game at NW I am questioning him a little. You just have to be able to take your team down the field and lead them to a score but in his defense the coaching staff did not help him much.
    11. I feel bad for Doss, he plays hard!
    12. Tons of IU fans there!
    13. We were beat by a less talented team, especially in the skills positions with less speed and size, period!
    14. The stadium was small and old but campus was beautiful on the water.
    15. People in Evanston were very nice. We will go back!

  20. M.P.

    I won’t build a phony defense for the second half numbers. Coach lynch has to be working overtime evaluating a remedy. The next three games will make practicing those remedies harder to evaluate. I still hold to my thoughts with the two point safety. But after more thinking about the Wild Mitch. For it to be relevant it needs more wrinkles to be a consistent play maker and sometimes game breaker. Saturday it was too vanilla to be viable. It seems to me it should be a total option offense from the pistol so Evans can succeed with more tactical x and o scheming but using it about the same amount of times a game as presently done. I believe it that will give us a baseline to involve it more in the offense starting next year and going forward. It is most advantageous for the feet of the QB’s we have coming through the program Kiel, EWB and Hughes. All being good fits. I have no info but I hope that is what Coach Lynch and Canada are planning. Using it about 30-40% of the total play counts I can envision how exciting it would be to watch and how disruptive it could be to defend. Maybe steal some of Paul Johnson’s x’s and o’s.

    I agree 11/22 is the most weighted date going forward from a fans point of view. But I’ll add this caveat. I’ll bet a shooting star to a Rocky Mountain oyster AD Glass has already made his decision. I’ve enjoyed it – talk again later.

  21. Clarion,

    Did you see in Korman’s article where Ray Fisher said they made no half time adjustments to the defense even though NW had torched them for 160 yards in the 2nd quarter?

    I will say this, I had hope at half time when IU was still up 28-17 that the boys could come out and put it away. I lost all that hope when Lynch said the game was shaping up to be a shoot out when coming out of the locker room at half time.

    Thanks for the back and forth.

  22. Two points to add to the conversation (which ironically would’ve been enough to win the game.)

    If strictly looking at the math, either not giving up a safety or a kicking a field goal would’ve given us enough points to win.

    However, we all know that Northwestern would’ve gone for a TD at the end of the game instead of a field goal, so there is no way to say we would’ve won in either case. All we know is that they would’ve needed to go for a TD to win. Its an impossible riddle to solve. All I can promise is that the score would not have been 29-28 and that there would’ve been more pressure on NW if they came down the field needing a TD.

    I do think that the 59 yard field goal attempt was ridiculous. Yeah, a hail mary is unlikely at best, but a 59 yarder from a guy who Lynch said he had never seen kick a 59 yarder even in practice seems like a pretty bad bet. I feel bad for the kid because he gave it his best, just no way he was hitting that kick, tail-wind or not. In the end, if we had our time outs we would’ve had something like a minute to go when we got the ball back because we would’ve stopped the clock on NW when they had the ball on the last set of downs.

    Of course, I am also a Dolphins fan, so I got the rare pleasure of watching a team fall apart twice this weekend.

  23. Mike,

    I just read the Korman piece. I hope the co-D-coordinators were suffering from flu to cause that reasoning. I wouldn’t be unhappy if some of these assistants positions are evaluated to be upgraded with more skilled human resources. Might make more difference than one would think.

    Me too.

  24. IU football is nothin’ but a train wreck…Bill Lynch has coached his last season of Hoosier football…He’s Casey Jones on his farewell journey.

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