Indiana mauled by Wisconsin again

WHAT HAPPENED: Wisconsin outgained Indiana 676-224 and rushed for 554 yards in a 51-3 shellacking of the Hoosiers in front of 77,849 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.

The Hoosiers fell behind 14-0 in the first three minutes of the game thanks to an interception followed by a 93-yard run by Wisconsin senior tailback James White, then a Stephen Houston fumble and a 1-yard score by Badgers tailback Melvin Gordon. The Badgers had a 30-0 lead by the time Indiana put a point on the board and the Hoosiers never really got going in any phase of the game.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: White was one of three Wisconsin running backs who broke 100 yards, as he picked up 205 on 20 carries. His 93-yard score to start the game was the longest in Wisconsin history and also the longest by an Indiana opponent.

Gordon was actually more efficient, rushing for 146 yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries. Third-stringer Corey Clement also broke 100 with 108 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns on 11 carries.

Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis didn’t catch a single pass, but rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns on three carries. Those two scores came on well-blocked and very surprising reverses, which went for 32 and 49 yards. Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave threw just 15 passes and completed seven of them, but three went to tight end Jacob Pedersen for 92 yards.

The Wisconsin defense was solid all around, but led by All-Big Ten linebacker Chris Borland, who recorded 10 tackles, including 1.5 for loss.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: As gaudy of numbers as Wisconsin’s offense put up, the much maligned Indiana defense actually had its moments.

The Hoosiers caused three punts and forced the Badgers to settle for three field goals. They allowed the Badgers to convert on just three of 10 third-down attempts, though Wisconsin did pick up one fourth down. Defensive end Nick Mangieri and linebacker Clyde Newton combined on a sack and the Hoosiers registered five tackles for loss.

But when the Hoosiers got beat, they got beat big. Wisconsin recorded nine plays for 25 yards or more which accounted for 420 of the Badgers’ 676 yards of total offense. On the other 56 plays, the Badgers averaged 4.5 yards per play.

As IU coach Kevin Wilson pointed out, some of reason for the big plays was Wisconsin’s offense. The Badgers’ massive offensive line was outstanding as always, but tailbacks hit holes, and the wide receivers and tight ends blocked down field. The reverses to Abbrederis were outstanding play calls, and something Wisconsin had not yet shown on film, so they absolutely froze the Hoosiers in their tracks.

But the Hoosiers still had a problem with far too many missed assignments. Tackling at the point of attack wasn’t as big of an issue as it has been in other games, but on numerous occasions the Hoosiers simply didn’t have a defender in the gap where he was supposed to be. That was especially true in the first play, when there was simply no linebacker filling the gap behind the right side of the line and White was barely touched as he went the distance. On a huge play-action pass to Pedersen in the first half, linebacker T.J. Simmons stopped covering his man. The Hoosiers got beat off the edge on numerous occasions and many times simply didn’t have a player where he needed to be when he needed to be there.

The fact that the offense truly sputtered out for the first time all season made things significantly worse. The passing game was off down to the shotgun snap, as both Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson failed to catch one and lost the ball on critical downs. Sudfeld completed just nine of 22 passes for 99 yards and one interception. Robeson was 3-for-8 for 23 yards. Neither seemed on point and they missed receivers even when they were open.

The loss of Tevin Coleman was significant in the run game, which produced just 102 yards. The Hoosiers would have had somewhere in the order of 130 if not for two botched snaps, and tailbacks Stephen Houston and D’Angelo Roberts ran mostly well, but Indiana did not have a home run threat to speak of to serve as an answer for White. They were also dealing with an even more depleted offensive line than usual with right guard Jacob Bailey out with a knee injury suffered this week.

All of that combined made for Indiana’s worst offensive performance on the season by a long shot. It was the first time since a 55-3 loss to Michigan State in 2011 that the Hoosiers failed to score at least 14 points and the first time this season they failed to score at lest 28. It was the first time this season the Hoosiers failed to put up at least 350 yards of total offense and just the second that they failed to reach 470. It was the first time they didn’t pass for at least 250 yards.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: In every other game this season, the Hoosiers have at least been somewhat competitive and made the game entertaining. They hadn’t lost a game by more than 17 points and again, had scored at least 28 in every game. This game, of course, was nothing like that, as the Hoosiers were behind 14-0 before they even settled into the game and never got their normally potent offense going at all.

It was disheartening for a team that doesn’t have time to get disheartened. They have now used up all of their mulligans in their pursuit of bowl eligibility and the only way they’ll have a postseason is to upset the No. 3 team in the country on its own field when the Hoosiers play Ohio State in the Horseshoe next week.

Just as problematically, Saturday’s game shows a lack of progress. Wisconsin has been better in recent years than it is this year, and yet the Hoosiers came no closer at all to competing with them at all. They have lost each of their last three games to Wisconsin by at least 48 points. Again. at least 48 points. That, still, is how wide the gap is between the Hoosiers and one of the Big Ten’s elite programs.

WHO SAID WHAT: Kevin Wilson

“I kind of felt coming in it would be a difficult challenge. I think the weather, I don’t think it has anything to do with how well they played, but it made a little tougher for us to get some passing game going as efficient as you want. You’ve gotta lean on your running game. We’re OK at that, but that’s a little tougher sledding for us.”

On the offense

“Wisconsin’s very, very good. We’ve got a few guys nicked up. I thought D’Angelo played well. I thought Stephen was capable and played well. But again, Wisconsin like a lot of very good defenses, solid players, really good across the board. Structure of their defense very very good. They know how to cheat and get the extra hats in there. When you’re not an overpowering offense in the run game, you’ve gotta be pretty efficient in the pass game. We were just a little bit off with timing. The wind’s a part of that. The rain’s a part of that. But the defense is a part of that. Much like Michigan State, very, very competitive. You look at their defensive numbers, they’re not far off Michigan State.”

On the bad snaps

“Our freshman guy, it was Wes’s second start. Collin was available today. We practiced at the end, but we thought from where he was, he would be better served down the stretch if we didn’t overdo it. Just a little bit of a windball. A couple of really good D-linemen in front of you. It’s a little bit of it.”

On Defense

“I really felt we had too many missed assignments and missed tackles at the end of last week’s game. There were some missed tackles in some game today. Structure of the defense, when you talk about structure, everybody understands where they’re supposed to be. That’s the beauty of Wisconsin. Those kids understand their defense, their structure, where their eyes are supposed to be, where’s my gap? And how to cheat and be very, very sound at what you’re doing. When it’s a pass, ‘I see it. My eyes are in coverage. I’m on the right guy.’ When it’s run, I’ve got my run fit. I’m an extra guy. For us, we have too many (missed assignments). A little bit of that right now is some of the youthfulness with all of the freshmen. A couple of times today, whether it be the communication from the linebackers to the D-linemen, our D-linemen hearing it or not hearing it. We got some guys going the wrong way. To me outside of ability and youthfulness, the real deal is just missed assignments. Those are things I think are correctible. We’ll keep looking at that here in these two weeks with these guys, because other than Heban, everybody’s back.”

On the Delay of Game

“Tre didn’t see the clock on that one.”

On the 93-yard run by White

“It looked like they blocked it well. We were in a base defense. The first two drives, we had a turnover, they popped a long run. Turnover. From there, defense played pretty solid. 600-yards plus for them, 200 for us.”

Greg Heban

“Like coach said, I think we were a little too casual at the beginning. He brought it up in warm-ups. We didn’t have as good and a crisp of a warm-up as we usually do. That kind of transferred into the first few minutes of the game.”

On the 93-yard run

“I think they had one of their running backs sway. I don’t know if it was a ‘backer or a lineman that wasn’t in their gap. Against Wisconsin, if you’re not gap sound, they’re going to expose you.

On missed assignments

“I think we definitely limited our missed assignments. We have in the past couple of weeks. There was a stretch there after those first two touchdowns, a stretch where the defense was playing pretty well. Getting third down stops, getting three and outs, it still comes down to the same things, missed assignments and missed tackles that we have to keep improving on.”



  1. until they recruit guys who can play defense IU football will always suck! I will not buy into this is their year for a bowl game again until they actually tackle somebody when it counts. Wilson is doing the job the right way but unless he can find players who can tackle and a defensive coordinator who knows what they are doing things will remain the same. this is just embarrassing to keep watching the same thing every week and even worse watching the elite teams just destroy them. I can only imagine how bad it will be at Ohio State. and if you think the bucket game will be a easy win think again. IU’s defense will make their offense look like all americans that game.

  2. I actually like Coach Wilson. After following IU football 5 decades, I can relate to the perennial optimism that it will get better anytime now. That’s basically the history of IU football – the next coach, the next recruiting class, the next season will be the one that see’s the breakthrough. Yadda, yadda yadda! I’ve all but given up on that mantra though. This Wisconsin game is just another in a long stream of predictable broken dreams for Hoosier fans. To watch good football, I now have to follow my son’s Boise State team and wait for Hoosier basketball to start.

  3. Listening to Coach Wilson’s “assessment” soundz like a man searching for excuses.At this point in the season,if a player is missing tackles or not in position TO make a tackle…he couldnt tackle when he got on campus and makes a person wonder WHAT Coach saw in that player to make hin think he ever could learn OR want to learn. “Matador” defense is a psychological issue that has “bled” into the physical performance…I suggest those psychological elements of the “matador” defense were there at the start and Staff misread their recruits

  4. HCKW: “From there, DEFENSE PLAYED PRETTY SOLID, 600 yards for them 200 for us.”

    First you missed another 76 yards for them. Second – your opinion of solid defense is very telling. God forbid if we had played poorly.

    HCKW: “Tre didn’t see the clock ( on delay of game penalty ).

    No. YOU and your staff didn’t see the clock. And you and your staff haven’t taught the players to look at the clock. For a team that normally gets a play off in 10 seconds – do you know long it must feel like to stand there – not in a huddle – for 35-40 seconds? Nobody on the staff or players think – hmmmm – this is important – we’re at the one foot line – man this is taking a real long time – maybe I’ll look at the play clock. Ridiculous.

    Anybody want $1.5 million a year to learn on the job.

    Our Defense played pretty solid. Reread that 10 times.
    51 points – 676 yards given up. SOLID.

    He must of hit his head on the “rock”.

  5. Seriously? Wilson said the defense played solid? If that’s the case, the man is cracking up, and needs to be loaded in the happy wagon.

  6. From the Star-Press:

    “Exposure translated to Wisconsin’s 676 yards of total offense, second-highest in school history. That kept Indiana on pace to obliterate the all-time Big Ten record for futility in total defense. Six conference opponents have averaged 582.5 yards against Indiana, or 60 yards a game more than Northwestern allowed in 1981.”

  7. Certainly a significant step backwards for the IU FB program, unfortunately on both sides of the ball. Expected a blow out and that’s what we got.

    There have been a lot of comments on this board about the situation with our defense. I agree that building a consistent defense in the B1G is challenging. However, we certainly could have done better. We are three years into this and our guys still are out of position too many plays, our tackling is inconsistent at best and all too often just plain sloppy. I know we are under strength but our talent level isn’t so bad that adequate coaching could not have made a positive difference. I also realize that dismissing Coach Mallory is not the complete answer just as dismissing Coach Lynch was not the sole answer. Nevertheless, I think we need an upgrade here and I trust the Coach Wilson and AD Glass will make the right decision on the defensive coaching staff.

  8. The quality and level of play on the defensive side the ball is so bad, it cannot be excused at all.

    We don’t have guys that are any slower or smaller than other teams in the middle of the pack statistically. After really watching carefully the last few games, I see the coaching failures. Scheme is there, but that isn’t the entire picture. They also seem to fail to recognize how to utilize the individuals that they have and put them in position to be successful. Guys are out of position because our coaches are putting them there.

    Here’s an example of scheme plus personnel: we were down 20 – 0 in the game, we had Wisc 4 and 1 at 45 or so. A team that had been blowing us off the line all day was going to 100% run the football on 4th down. However, we lined up in a 4-3 with our linebackers playing 4-5 yards off the ball. White, of course, found the hole and was through it before the linebacker could even get there. They gained 3 yards and the next 1st down play, Aberdeen ran the reverse untouched for the score. Lawrence Taylor couldn’t have stopped White from that position on 4th down.

    I really feel for these kids. They are not being properly prepared, nor put in position to make plays.

  9. I do not stand alone in my criticism of IU’s defense. And although I support Wilson, each time he makes those ridiculous comments (as referenced above), a small piece of my support is eroded away. The word “solid” should never have been mentioned in reference to IU’s defense, at any time this year, but especially not after the debacle in Madison. Solid is not a relative term. Swiss cheese is not solid. Tissue paper is not solid, Giving up 600 yards is not solid. For such a smart man, that was a very stupid thing to say. Statements like that allow people, even his supporters, to question whether Wilson has lost his perspective while providing his critics ammunition to use in mocking him.

    I wonder if he looked Glass in the eye and said, “hey boss, I think from there, our defense played pretty solid.” If so, I’d love to know what Glass said in response.

  10. Most telling was KW’s comment (at about 2:00) that the “beauty” of the UWDefense is that the UW players understand the structure of their system, “where their eyes are supposed to be. . . .” I should think so, THIS IS THE TENTH GAME OF THE SEASON! Such “beauty” should be normal by now for most teams. But I guess it would appear beautiful after watching the ugliness of THIRTY+ GAMES OF BLOWN ASSIGNMENTS as orchestrated by Mallory and company.

  11. Is davis Tsao’s alter-ego…or has Tsao just finally given up the good fight?

    Tsao- Harv misses you. Know you’re trying to make a statement based on the heavy-handed threats at censorship, but please reconsider. This blog is not the same since the absence of Chet and now even slipping away more from its uniqueness with your extended protest. Always loved to hear both your tales and the fact that your internal engines were based on hope and optimism….and balance.

    I’m sure Geoff also misses you.

  12. You’re right, it’s not the same. It’s much better. Why don’t you and Tsao just exchange email addresses so you can agree with each others comments in a private forum and spare the rest of us from having to pass over all those redundant posts expressing your agreement with each other’s opinions. As they say, when two people in any enterprise always agree, one of them is unnecessary.

    It’s nice to read other people’s comments for a change.

  13. Hell, let em post. But, then again, passing over their posts is dangerously stressful, extremely time demanding, and physically exhausting.

  14. Has Tsao been censored?

    Dustin- Sorta weird how he disappeared after you sent me that email. Do you have any thoughts to why he just went cold turkey? Lord, I hope he hasn’t kicked the bucket…Hope he didn’t choke on a huge sausage from Frank ‘n’ Dawgs..

    Weren’t we all going to get together and smoke cigars on train trip across this great country? Weren’t we all supposed to be brothers and forgive each other our blogging sins and one day get together Nick’s when the Hoosiers make the Final Four?

    I still dream it possible…JPat laughing and smashing beer glasses with Tsao..Husky Tom and Goeff sharing their tales of Northwest and Northeast coastal living ..Chet and his wife pulling up on their matching Triumphs.. Double Down, Clarion, Podunker all dressed in vintage Hoosier attire. Reggie pulling up in his dad’s Escalade and proudly saying grace before we rip into our sub sandwiches and pizzas. We toast Dustin as he comes through the doors with Andy and Jeremy in our own misfit Thanksgiving a family of Hoosiers a Scoop table..

    Where did it all go south? Maybe it ended when we stopped sharing pizza recipes and tales of vacations? Can’t we only talk sports so long? I hoped the dream was possible and instead the words were hollow and the hopes are gone. Now we simply hate because our differences and our flawlessness to never be wrong and to never forgive.

    I felt Chet and Tsao and many here my brothers..I felt Husky many lonely days a best friend. I’m sad are sports so important that those foolish delusions of mine did end.

  15. Wilson is proving himself to be Bill Lynch part deux.

    Solid defense? Coming from Oklahoma where they actually play defense I’m surprised he uttered such a statement. What was he doing all those years in Norman, sleeping when the offense wasn’t on the field?

    Sorry folks, but three years of absolutely no quantifiable improvement on the defensive side of the ball is a telling point when it comes to Kevin Wilson and his staff. IU may not be the most gifted team talent wise, but the fact that the players show no improvement in fundamentals and technique falls squarely on the coaching staff and reflects their own inability to coach at this level. Our 4-stars defensive recuits will never develop if subjected to this coaching. Just a sad truth.

    Rinse, wash, repeat. Who would have guessed, another failed coaching hire.

  16. Waitingforwins. Agree 100% about the failure of the staff to teach defensive fundamentals. Not even close, however, to writing off Wilson, But if he keeps Mallory for 2014 that’s going to change.

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