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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Last fresh start

Hoosiers get chance to start over with conference opener

IU had its season opener three weeks ago against North Carolina State. The Hoosiers had their home opener last week vs. Utah. Tomorrow, they'll play their Big Ten opener.\nAnd get their last shot at a fresh start.\nShould the Hoosiers lose, there are no more new beginnings to look forward to. The players know that means this game vs. Ohio State is a big one.\n"We've got some stuff to prove," tight end Kris Dielman said. "It's a new season. The first three games, that's one thing. When you start the Big Ten, it's a totally different season."\nThis new season begins with two teams coming off tough losses. IU lost to Utah last weekend, and Ohio State dropped out of the rankings after losing 13-6 to UCLA. The Buckeyes were 21st in the AP poll before the game.\nWhile IU struggled with defense and kicking in its loss last week, the Buckeyes had trouble moving the ball. They gained 166 yards of total offense and were 1-of-14 on third down conversions.\nIU coach Cam Cameron, however, said he doesn't buy into the ineffectiveness of Ohio State's offense.\n"They are going to do nothing but get better offensively," said Cameron, who's started 0-2 for the second straight season. "I don't think their offensive performance is anything indicative of what they\'ll be. I think UCLA really, from what I can see, has just a tremendous defense." \nOhio State quarterback Steve Bellisari struggled against the UCLA defense, completing just five passes, but he'll face an IU defense that allowed Utah quarterback Lance Rice to go 21-of-29 -- with no interceptions.\nCameron said most of IU's defensive mistakes against Utah were mental, notably the mistakes of the linebackers. His top two linebackers, Justin Smith and Devin Schaffer, might not get a chance to correct those mistakes this weekend; both are hampered by injuries.\nStill, cornerback Sharrod Wallace said the Hoosiers are ready.\n"Utah is a physical team, and that's how the Big Ten is -- physical teams, big guys," he said. "So I think that was a good tune-up game to get us prepared for Ohio State."\nThe Hoosiers will need all the preparation they can get heading into their Big Ten opener.\nIn their past 10 conference openers, they're 2-8. The Buckeyes are 8-2 and beat IU 38-7 the last time the teams played, in 1998.\nCameron hopes to buck the trend tomorrow, and he knows the game gives his team a chance to not only win the conference opener, but perhaps salvage a season before it gets too far in the wrong direction.\n"Irrespective of what happened last week, or a couple of weeks before that, we are afforded a great opportunity," he said. "National TV, to play a very good football team, in Memorial Stadium, in the kind of environment that we want to try to create here on a weekly basis.\n"If we can't get excited about this game, then I don't know what you can get excited about"

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