That’s the determining factor on the lips of IU players and coaches heading into their matchup against Michigan. That’s what IU Coach Kevin Wilson attributed the Iowa Hawkeyes’ upset win over the Wolverines last weekend. That’s what the Hoosier players know they need to have when they step into The Big House Saturday.
IU may be entering the contest off a disappointing loss to Penn State, one where a fourth quarter collapse robbed the Hoosiers of a victory over a top 10 team. But Iowa came into its upset victory over Michigan off a loss to Penn State too. The Hawkeyes found the motivation to light a fire and play toe-to-toe with the Wolverines, and the Hoosiers must do the same.
“There’s no time to get discouraged,” senior offensive guard Jacob Bailey said. “We had No. 10, now we have another top 10 team. If you’re upset about what happened last week, hey, how many times in life do you get a second chance?”
Michigan Stadium presents obvious challenges because of its crowd size, noise and highly skilled team. But while Bailey said the offense will likely have to rely on a silent count, it’s not unlike other times this season and during those of the past where IU’s had to do the same.
Junior quarterback Richard Lagow, in his first season starting for IU, already has games in hostile environments under his belt. He understands the mindset the Hoosiers must have if they’re going to come out of the game with a win.
“Just treat it like every other game, just do what we do,” Lagow said. “Prepare how we prepare, and just get confident throughout the week in the game plan and go out and execute.”
Since IU’s defense takes the field with Michigan’s offense, it likely won’t have to pay much mind to the crowd. The Hoosiers can just play hard, cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby said, and when they play hard bonuses like takeaways will come.
All IU has to do is stay focused and confident.
“Once you get locked in and you start playing, you don’t worry about all that stuff,” Shelby said. “And so, it is what it is, whether it’s warm, cold, hot, sunny, snow, they got to play in the same atmosphere, and the same conditions.”
Offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said each IU player just needs to focus on the man in front of them. Junior running back Devine Redding said the arena will be the same as everywhere else, loud.
Shelby referred to as just another stadiums with seats, where people will yell and holler as they always do. The Big House boasts a capacity of 107,601, larger than most stadiums with seats in college football.
But IU has shown itself capable of playing to the level of ranked opponents, at home and on the road.
“We’re not going to need to play perfect this week to have a chance,” Wilson said. “You’re not going to. But we need to play well.”