The IU football team’s season ended with a exodus — again.
As IU’s chances of a comeback slowly dwindled throughout the course of the final quarter of Saturday’s game, packs of fans began leaving in disappointment, reducing the crowd to its near-bare state.
The Hoosiers’ coaches, players and fans left Memorial Stadium with that all too familiar bitter taste in their mouths.
It was the same old mistakes that conjured up that bitterness.
“I think when you go through as a team, you see where you are and a lot of times in games like this, sometimes your weaknesses get exposed a little bit,” IU Coach Tom Allen said. “That inability to do certain things makes it hard.”
The list of games in which the Hoosiers came up just a few plays short of victory can be rattled off like a depressing lineup of blunder and bad luck — Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan and now, Purdue.
But the list of self-inflicting mistakes which led to those kinds of losses the Hoosiers reflected on after the loss to the Boilermakers was even longer. The list included untimely penalties, a lack of explosive offensive plays down the field, a failure to come up with key defensive stops and not being able to take advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves.
“Those kinds of games are tough,” senior wide receiver Luke Timian said. “Just a couple of plays here and there would have made the difference.”
Allen and his players all lamented that Saturday’s defeat was no different.
Miscues like a careless chop block call against offensive linemen senior Nick Linder and junior Simon Stepaniak in the third quarter and junior Allen Stallings IV’s roughing the passer penalty in the first quarter ultimately led to Purdue’s first score of the game. These were just a couple of the six penalties for a total of 80 yards that plagued IU on Saturday.
In one disastrous sequence in the second quarter, momentum seemed to be shifting in IU’s favor when senior defensive lineman Kayton Samuels made a huge fourth down stop on the Hoosiers’ 9-yard line before things fell apart again.
IU followed it up with a three-and-out on offense and then gave up a 56-yard touchdown pass from Purdue senior quarterback David Blough to freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore on the very first play of the Boilermakers’ next possession. This extended their lead to 14-7 and let the air out of the Hoosiers’ balloon of energy.
“Certain positions have to grow, mature and execute better,” Allen said. “I felt like those kind of things kind of showed up today.”
When Purdue senior running back Markell Jones broke loose for a 32-yard touchdown run with just under four minutes to play and stretched the Boilermakers’ lead to 28-14, the sea of cream and crimson that once existed in the crowd speckled with hints of visiting black and gold.
Ripples and waves of the color scheme flowed through the crowd as fans shuffled up and down the stairs toward the exits.
A pass from Ramsey was intercepted by Purdue junior Navon Mosley on IU’s next possession and those waves only intensified as even more people made the decision to make an early exit.
The spots of black and gold were no longer sprinkles in the crowd.
They had taken over Memorial Stadium.
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