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Saturday, May 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

IU fails to handle adversity again

If the Hoosiers are consistent with anything this year, it’s being inconsistent. 

In a 42-24 loss at Iowa, the Hoosiers, for the second consecutive week, saw a comfortable lead disappear and a previously dominated game lost. Again, the game featured an unstoppable IU team in the first half and a group of patsies in the second. 

As icy winds oscillated through Kinnick Stadium, so, too, did the game’s momentum. With a 14-point lead at the half and Iowa’s home crowd voicing its displeasure, the Hoosiers had an upset and a detractor-silencing win in their hands.

The second half, which has been the Hoosiers’ poison pill all season, was a different story once again.

In past cave-ins, IU coach Bill Lynch stressed how there wasn’t one play that turned the tide. On Saturday, the turning point was obvious to all.

With a 21-7 lead and the ball on the Hawkeyes’ two-yard line, junior quarterback Ben Chappell threw a pass that hit just about everything except his intended receiver, eventually ending up in Iowa safety Tyler Sash’s hands for a pick-six. 

Chappell, lying face-down more than half the field behind a celebrating Iowa team, served as the perfect symbol for the Hoosiers’ performance from then on. 

IU put only one field goal on the board in response, but even that would have been enough to win if the defense continued to lock down the way it had in the first half. 

For one quarter, it did answer the call. Throughout the third, every Iowa possession ended in an interception, as Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed as many passes to his own guys (four) as he did to Hoosier defenders.

Yet the number four, so favorable to them in that quarter, would prove to be the Hoosiers’ greatest enemy. 

IU was trampled 28-0 in the fourth quarter. Iowa went 4-4 on third downs, with the Hoosiers going 0-4, and Chappell, the man donning the number, threw for just 57 yards and two more interceptions to close out the collapse.

As the Hoosiers jogged off the field, their fifth loss in six games added yet another chapter to the their book on how to not deal with adversity. 

After their first defeat in Michigan, a game everyone thought they should have won, the Hoosiers came out flat against Ohio State. When Virginia began piling on the points early in the following contest, IU players admittedly rolled over in shock.

And as Northwestern began clawing back from a 25-point hole last week, the Hoosiers failed to buckle their chinstraps and take back what was theirs. 

A mere theory at one point was all but proven as fact, as the seconds ticked away from the upset bid – when things go wrong, IU has no answer. 

During much of the game, adversity took the form of the officials. Yet while the officiating was beyond horrid, it cannot be solely blamed for this loss. Yes, if not for a reversed play call that defied the laws of sight, junior wide receiver Terrance Turner should have had at least one touchdown reception. 

But the Hoosiers can pardon the officials and pin the blame on themselves this time. Iowa, as good as they have been all year, didn’t deserve this win, but the Hoosiers let them have it. 

The Hawkeyes have done an admirable job closing out games all year, so it wasn’t the fact that they came back but the magnitude of their resurgence that stands out.
In the telltale fourth quarter, the defense gave up scoring passes of 92 and 66 yards and easy touchdown runs of six and 27 yards. The offense, not doing itself any favors with four penalties, three of which were accepted, continued to hit dead ends. 

The Hoosiers have played only 30 minutes of great football far too often this season, and if they want to pull off a miracle and go to a bowl game this season, they’ll need to go the full 60 with the same passion, focus and execution they show at the start.

At Iowa, though, they reverted back to same song and dance. Their failure to rebound from a tough set of circumstances ultimately led to their crumble, but it wasn’t surprising. 

Finding a way to lose a game they looked poised to win has been the one constant all year.

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