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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Post Hardy, football still looking for answers to offensive quandries

IU quarterback Kellen Lewis throws downfield during a game verses Minnesota on Saturday in Minneapolis. Lewis passed for 167 yards in IU's 16-7 loss.

When asked Wednesday what was the secret behind the IU football team’s recent dominance against Iowa, coach Bill Lynch didn’t even have to pause.

“James Hardy,” he said grinning.

Hardy’s 114 yards and touchdown led the Hoosiers to a 38-20 road win against Iowa last year.

In the campaign before, Hardy’s three touchdowns helped IU edge the Hawkeyes 31-28.

“He really played well against Iowa,” Lynch said of his former wideout.

Unfortunately for the stumbling Hoosiers, who are on a three-game skid, Hardy now suits up in the NFL, and lately IU’s offense has been lethargic.

Led by their duo of quarterbacks at Minnesota last week, the Hoosiers struggled to create any sort of threat, tallying more punts than points in a 16-7 loss.

In total, IU was 1-for-10 on third downs and held the ball more than 15 minutes less than the Golden Gophers.

“Offensively, we did not play well enough,” Lynch said to the media Tuesday. “I think that was really from start to finish. And I think possession downs were a big factor there, and I think we were 10 percent.”

Junior quarterback Kellen Lewis said the team’s mentality of late accounts for its offensive inefficiency.

“I think right now we have a lack of confidence,” he said.

“It’s something we had a lot more last year. We have to come in with that same hunger from last year.”

The Hoosiers might need an excess of swagger as they welcome a tough Iowa defense that has allowed an average of just 11.2 points per game so far this season.

“That to me is a trademark of Iowa football – they play great defense,” Lynch said. “They always are very, very good in scoring defense and rush defense. They’ve got a great scheme and very good players and they play hard.

“But things that I think are staples of Iowa defense, they don’t give up big plays, they’re very tough to run on and, as a result of not giving up big plays, they don’t give up a lot of points. They force a lot of field goal attempts. This team is very much the same.”

Iowa not giving up big plays might be concerning for a Hoosier team whose last three touchdowns, spread over two games, have come on plays over 75 yards – all to Marcus Thigpen.

One can never knock long scores, but Austin Starr not having a field goal attempt in the last two games is evidence of apparent offensive inconsistency, which Lynch addressed.

“We have got to get better, but I’m certainly not down on this football team,” he said. “And I think we have done some things well. We are just not sitting with a record that we had hoped to have at this point.”

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