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Thursday, June 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Absence makes the Hoosier heart grow stronger

Ignorance is bliss for the Hoosiers. 

While Thomas Gray certainly didn’t have the IU football team on his mind when he wrote his much-referenced poem in 1742, his words ring true in the Hoosiers’ 2009 Big Ten season.

Like last week’s matchup with Michigan, a lack of familiarity will be in play when the Hoosiers take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday night – but that might be a good thing.

The Hoosiers have not met with the Buckeyes since 2006. The team was in the same situation last weekend when they faced Michigan for the first in three years.

Against the Wolverines, IU refused to accept its jilted history and was one score away from pulling off a victory in a place it hasn’t won more than 40 years.

This time, the Hoosiers return home to face an even tougher opponent, but Bloomington hasn’t been a safe haven for the Hoosiers when Ohio State is on the schedule. 

IU has won just three times in 26 matchups at home, and the last victory at Memorial Stadium came in 1988. 

IU coach Bill Lynch was an assistant, quarterback Ben Chappell was a redshirted player and running back Darius Willis was still in high school the last time the Hoosiers squared off with Ohio State – the same situation the team faced before they entered Michigan Stadium last Saturday.

History barely repeated itself last week, and Lynch is confident in the chances to turn it around against the Buckeyes.

“I have been saying it since last spring,” Lynch said. “This is going to be a good football team. We have to prove it on the field on Saturday.”

Proof of their improvement has been where the Hoosiers have fallen flat this year.  
When they had a chance to prove it against weaker opponents, they nearly slipped and won by a combined score of 80-53 – not exactly enough to ensure fans of progress. 

Then, with Big Ten season started and the world against them, the Hoosiers had Michigan up against the ropes but couldn’t land one last punch. 

While the lone blemish on IU’s record would usually be proof that the Hoosiers will be cellar dwellers again, it’s had the opposite effect around Bloomington.  
The Hoosiers showed supreme heart in Ann Arbor, Mich., and it was cause to throw the history books out the window. 

Instead of pessimism about Ohio State rolling into town, student section tickets, all 11,000 of them, have sold out, and a Facebook group of more than 1,000 people was formed calling for all fans to wear white to the game. 

When the North End Zone facility is officially unveiled Saturday night, the Hoosiers should expect a strong, energetic backing. There is a bowl-team buzz humming around Bloomington, and an upset against the No. 9 team in the nation would begin a postseason-themed celebration.

It’s unlikely, but a victory would prove the Hoosiers not only as a bowl team this year, but also for years to come. If the Hoosiers suffer a blowout, as expected, it would point toward the Michigan game being a one-hit wonder.

The Hoosiers will look to dispel any of those thoughts Saturday, and they have the same internal factors working for them as they did last time.

Their backs are firmly pressed against the wall, they don’t have a single player with in-game experience against their opponent, and they have nothing to lose but the game. 

They know nothing of what to expect, but maybe these Hoosiers like it that way.   

Prediction:
IU 20 – OSU 38

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