Indiana Daily Student

Sports commentary: Cameron shouldn't blame the referees for N.C State loss

First-half thoughts were about throwing low blows at those who showed no support for the football team Saturday.\n The press box has its perks, but I can't feel the game up there, so I usually sit in the stands. At halftime, I left my uncomfortable steel stadium seat for the press box because the lackluster crowd of barely 30,000 gave nothing to feel.\nBut after IU blew a 15-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, I realized the crowd was not the only thing Memorial Stadium had missing. The Hoosiers' defense also forgot to show up as IU lost 41-38 to North Carolina State.\nAfter the game, coach Cam Cameron cowardly blamed the loss on the referees. He said his team "played well enough to win the football game on the scoreboard" and that "the football game was flat taken from Indiana University."\nSure, there were a few questionable calls. A delayed holding call against IU late in the game was definitely suspect by the Atlantic Coast Conference officiating crew. With IU leading 38-33 with less than two minutes left in the game, the Wolfpack threw an incomplete pass on 4th and 8, which appeared to be the end of their hopes. But then a flag landed, giving them a second shot and eventually the win. \nBut still, Cameron needs to take a hard look in the mirror to see who is really to blame for this loss.\nHis offense and junior quarterback Antwaan Randle El did play well enough to win and probably could have scored a few more times, but how can you point fingers at a squad that puts up 38 points? Cameron can blame the refs all he wants, but how can you really expect to win when your defense allows 474 total yards and lets Philip Rivers, a freshman quarterback, exploit your secondary as if he were Johnny Cochran?\nEven in the first half, where on paper it looks like IU's defense shined, North Carolina State was only stubbing its toe. Give the Hoosiers' defense credit on the Wolfpack's first two drives, but from there it's down hill. On North Carolina State's third drive, a fumbled snap and a 10-yard holding call forced North Carolina State to punt.\nAfter Randle El made an errant pitch that North Carolina State recovered on IU's 13-yard line, the Wolfpack spoiled their fourth drive with a four-yard loss when their running back, Ray Robinson, slipped on the wet grass, Rivers fumbled a snap and then their tight end Willie Wright, who was wide open, also slipped just before Rivers could find him in the endzone. The drive resulted in a field goal.\nOn North Carolina State's next drive, the Wolfpack kicked another field goal after driving 80 yards and then scored a touchdown in their final possession of the half. \nIn the second half, North Carolina State trounced the Hoosiers' defense for 268 passing yards and 53 rushing yards and 28 points as the Wolfpack scored on four of their seven drives. Not exactly the defense that said it could be the most improved squad in college football.\nThroughout Saturday's game, North Carolina State picked apart the defense too easily with either short screen passes to their running back, 10-yard passes to their tight end or bombs to wide receiver Koren Robinson. Six times, IU allowed passing plays of 25 yards or more and that just cannot be acceptable to IU's secondary.\nThe biggest burner was with 54 seconds left in the game when Koren Robinson was able to outrun IU's secondary and get behind them for a 47-yard touchdown. Ahead 38-34 and you know NC State's looking for a big play, how does IU let that happen? Within the next week, I hope to talk to IU's defensive coordinator James Bell and a number of IU's players to answer this question.\nAs upset I was at the lack of fan support for IU's first game, the Hoosiers do need to show they can compete at a higher level before fans can be expected to fill the stands. \nSenior captain Paul Mandina stressed fans to not to lose faith at a press conference after the loss, and I do believe there is a possibility to turn things around. But the Hoosiers will have to show me something Saturday against Kentucky, which has another talented offense. Another loss like Saturday's and the Hoosiers can scrap the season and any idea of a bowl.

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