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Saturday, May 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

A promising but frustrating October

The Hoosiers competed in five roller coaster games in October, the most of any month.

In 31 days, the Hoosiers went from bowl contender to Big Ten bottom feeder. They went from making the officials work to getting worked by officials.  

October, for better or worse, defines every college football team, and the Hoosiers have carved out their own definition.  

Let’s take a look at the crazy month and what it means for the future of the program.  

Hoosiers in October

Record – 1- 4

Points scored/game – 20

Points allowed/game – 33

Rush yards/game – 92.2

Pass yards/game – 226.4

Rush yards allowed/game – 188

Pass yards allowed/game – 274.2

Player of the month

Tandon Doss, sophomore wide receiver
October stats: 33 rec., 377 yards, 2 TD; 6 car., 41 yards

Doss was expected to breakout as the team’s best playmaker eventually, but no one expected him to be in the conversation for the Big Ten’s best receiver.  

He exploded in a victory against Illinois, hauling in seven catches for 130 yards and a touchdown, and he had at least five receptions in each October game. Doss was also a threat in the running game, taking at least one carry in each game this past month.  

Doss and fellow receiver Damarlo Belcher are set to form a one-two punch for years to come, and when highly-touted freshman receiver Duwyce Wilson hits the field, Doss will continue to find open holes in the passing game.  

He may not be the fastest receiver in the Big Ten, but he might be the quickest. With soft hands and superb route running, Doss should be playing on Sundays in a year or two.  

Disappointment of the month

Demetrius McCray, senior running back
October stats: 14 car., 48 yards, 0 TD

The disappointment doesn’t stem from McCray’s production on the field, but his lack of being there at all.  

After rushing for a career-high 134 yards and a touchdown against Western Michigan in September, McCray disappeared from the Hoosier backfield. The emergence of freshman Darius Willis and the use of Wildcat formation has trimmed the running back committee to a one-man show.  

It’s a spot Willis has definitely earned, but what’s interesting is how little McCray has been used, even as a complement back. He had three games in October with no carries, and only had more than one when filling in for an injured Willis at Virginia.

McCray won’t be returning to the team next year, so, hopefully, November gives him a chance for a better swan song.

Game of the month

IU loses to Iowa, 42-24

Storylines: Second-half meltdown, officiating, upset bid.

The final day of the month gave the Hoosiers a game to remember, but it’s one they’d like to forget.  

IU had just come off a heartbreaker in Evanston, blowing a 25-point lead in a 29-28 loss. But that could have been forgotten if the Hoosiers could have knocked off a top-10 team on the road.

They came so close.

The Hoosiers took a 21-7 lead into halftime against Iowa and were in complete control throughout much of the third quarter. But as the game went on, the Hoosiers’ misfortune snowballed.  

In between the plays were several calls against the Hoosiers that turned the tide. Somehow, the officials didn’t know that one foot in the end zone equals touchdown, you can’t have a helmet-to-helmet hit with a shoulder or that Iowa offensive lineman are capable of holding, too.  In the end, Iowa exploited the Hoosiers’ inability to close out a game, but it also showed IU coach Bill Lynch’s knack to game plan – if only for a half.  

The Hoosiers will have to develop a killer instinct to be consistent winners, and thanks to Athletic Director Fred Glass’ vote of confidence for Lynch late in October, they’ll have at least two more years to get there.  

October grade


While a 1-4 record would usually be grounds for failing marks, the Hoosiers had some signs of promise in October. They showed, in most spots, they have the talent to match up with every team in the conference.  

But the defensive secondary was burned an awful lot in each of the team’s four losses, and both sides of the ball were far better in the first half of games than the second. The inconsistency turned wins into losses and put them in an unfavorable position for a bowl bid.

Bright spots like Doss and Willis on offense and defensive linemen Larry Black and Adam Replogle on the on the other side of the ball give the Hoosiers hope for the future, but not all is roses for IU.

The list of seniors is startling, especially defensively. Both starting safeties in Nick Polk and Austin Thomas, the leading tackler in Matt Mayberry and their leading return man in Ray Fisher are all in their last year.

And, most importantly, defensive ends Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton are also seniors. The Hoosiers will have a tough time replacing all of them after the season.

For now, the seniors and the rest of the squad, after underperforming in October, will need at least two wins in November to play a 13th game.

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