Indiana Daily Student

Column: This week, we learn what IU football is made of

Nobody has forgotten what happened at Camp Randall Stadium last year.

Not me, not the IU players, not the IU fan base. Not even the new IU coaching staff — though they don’t want to talk about the game because they weren’t at IU for the Massacre in Madison.

“I’m sure they’re all aware of it, but that was last year. This is this year,” IU Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Ekeler said.

That’s a nice way of saying “That wasn’t my fault!” And it may not have been. But still, it’s hard to ignore an 83-20 loss. You can’t just pretend it never happened.

Eighty-three points is not something that slips your mind.

Unless, of course, No. 4 Wisconsin puts an even bigger number on the Hoosiers on Saturday.

It’s a real possibility. As crazy as it sounds, the Badgers are better than they were a year ago and the Hoosiers are — gulp — worse. Could it really be more lopsided than 83-20 this time around?

Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema, who was criticized by some for running up the score last year, has an even better reason to do so this time around.

Bielema’s team has a realistic chance of playing for a national championship this season. If the Badgers have any hope of overtaking Oklahoma, LSU or Alabama, they’re going to have to blow out everybody in conference play.

And if you remember correctly, Bielema tried to let off the gas last year. He was playing his third-stringers for much of the second half, and the Hoosiers still couldn’t stop them. What was he supposed to do, run his kicker out there at quarterback?

“That’s a lot of points, and it raises eyebrows,” Bielema said at his weekly press conference. “I had my, literally, my fifth-string quarterback in there and he scores on a naked, so the stars were kind of aligned for us that day.”

No, Coach, stars were not aligned for you that day — Hoosiers were. They lined up and let your scrubs run around, through and past them all afternoon.

No pride. No backbone. No resistance.

That needs to change with IU Coach Kevin Wilson now on the sideline. The Hoosiers have no chance to win this game, but it’s still a critical week for Wilson.

This is the week we learn what he’s made of as a coach. This is the week we learn if the players are willing to fight for him.

This is the week — and I don’t mean to exaggerate — that we learn if Wilson has a chance to be successful here.

“You can’t be scared of anything and say you’ve got no chance,” Wilson said. “We’re not going to go there and shelter anything back. We’re going to go right at them.”

It’s easy to go into a game with that mentality, but what happens after you get punched in the mouth a time or two in the first quarter? What happens if it’s quickly 21-0, and the Hoosiers are struggling? Will they still go right at them? Will they still not be scared?

We know what to expect out of the Badgers on Saturday. They’re going to try to run the Hoosiers out of the stadium as quickly as possible. They’re going to try to score 100 points.

The question is, then, do Wilson’s Hoosiers have the guts to stop them?


The Badgers are a 38-point favorite against IU on Saturday, and I don’t blame the oddsmakers in the least. This one could get ugly. I think the Hoosiers will play with some pride in the second half, though, and keep Wisconsin under 83 points.

Wisconsin 55, IU 10

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