Season Report Card: Indiana Hoosiers
This was supposed to be the year that Kevin Wilson took the Indiana Hoosiers’ football program to the next level by receiving a bowl bid for the first time since 2007.
Impressive early wins over Bowling Green and Penn State should have guaranteed a postseason appearance for Indiana, but a disappointing three-point loss to Minnesota at home in Week 10 virtually ensured another early offseason.
Here are the Hoosiers’ grades for the 2013 season as they await another opportunity this coming fall:
Even though there was no bowl appearance, it wasn’t because of the offense. Indiana placed second in the Big Ten behind Ohio State in scoring (38.4 points per game) and yards (508.5), proving to have an elite passing game and the ability to put points up on everyone, scoring 28 on both Missouri and Michigan State, 47 on Michigan and 39 on a stout Minnesota defense. Sophomore quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson combined for 3,651 yards and 36 touchdown passes, as wide receiver Cody Latimer emerged as a top target with 72 receptions for 1,096 yards and nine scores.
This is why Indiana didn’t play in December—it couldn’t stop anybody. If Minnesota and Purdue are combining for 75 points against you, there’s a serious problem. The Hoosiers ranked 120th in the FBS in total defense, allowing a Big Ten-worst 38.8 points per contest and was forced to play far too many inexperienced freshmen. New defensive coordinator Doug Mallory was supposed to come in and improve what was already an awful unit from the year before, but instead things got even worse. Indiana allowed 35 points or more in 10 of 12 games this season, and that’s flat out unacceptable for any program.
The offense flourished, but was deeply hurt by the complete lack of defense. Wilson couldn’t stick with many upperclassmen and had to resort to inexperienced talent, and it never translated into any sort of production or progress. He’ll have to spend the entire offseason working on developing his defensive players and incorporating him into his scheme or completely change the way things are done on that side of the ball.
There were expectations of a bowl appearance and those expectations were not met. Indiana won five games—one more than it did in 2012—and missed out by just one game, but couldn’t get the key win in conference play that it needed.
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