It’s hard not to cringe when you see the final score: Wisconsin 59, IU 7.
It looks incredibly lopsided, and it hurts to think a Big Ten team could lose to a conference foe by that margin.
But Saturday’s result was exactly what we expected. If you’re surprised by it, you probably thought No. 4 Wisconsin would score closer to the 83 points it put on the board last year.
The Badgers ran the ball all over the field, pulled out a trick play, threw it occasionally with their new star quarterback and cruised in the second half.
They’ll do that to a lot of teams this year. There was nothing the Hoosiers could do about it.
“They’re a really solid, complete, good offense,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “Bottom line, if they get out in space, those two backs (Montee Ball and James White) are pretty good. I don’t know if they have blazingly great speed, but it’s pretty good speed. They run through trash, and they’re always moving forward.”
The Badgers beat Big Ten newcomer Nebraska 48-17 just a couple weeks ago. Their offense puts up huge numbers on every opponent on the schedule.
The Hoosiers (1-6, 0-3), though, didn’t do much to help their cause. Quarterback Edward Wright-Baker was off on the majority of his throws, two of which resulted in interceptions. The offensive line got pushed around at times, and the quarterbacks didn’t help by constantly moving the pocket.
The offense still doesn’t look like anything that even resembles a cohesive unit. It looks like a group of guys that has never played before, and this was the seventh week of the season.
The Hoosiers sometimes move the ball, mostly with running back Stephen Houston, but they rarely finish drives. They get in manageable situations, but penalties make them less manageable. They gain some momentum, then turn the ball over.
Maybe there’s a lack of trust amongst the offensive players, but offensive inconsistency has been IU’s main issue every single week this season.
“I thought this week, one day, our receivers had probably the worst practice I’ve seen since we’ve been here for a group,” Wilson said. “And they backed it up with their play today. When we get the run game going, there’s no passing game. It’d be nice to put it all together.”
In several games this season, the Hoosiers have relied on the pass to keep them in games. On Saturday, the passing game didn’t exist.
The IU quarterbacks threw for a combined — get this — 64 yards. And they were playing from behind all afternoon.
“(My) 54 yards is unacceptable,” Wright-Baker said. “You won’t win a game in the Big Ten if you’re not passing well.”
If you’re looking for positives, how about Houston? The kid runs hard and brings an energy to the offense that nobody else does.
Houston always seems to have the right attitude, no matter how trying the circumstances might be. After he ran for 135 yards and a touchdown against the Badgers, he wasn’t satisfied.
“(I played) decent,” he said. “I’m nowhere near where I want to be.”
That’s the attitude the Hoosiers need, and that’s the attitude that probably kept them from quitting in the second half. Even as Wisconsin ran for one long touchdown after another, IU kept fighting for its first-year coach.
That’s an encouraging sign — one of the few you can take away from another long day in Madison, Wis.