IU redshirt senior quarterback Richard Lagow meets with reporters to debate the Hoosiers’ 45-17 loss to No. four Wisconsin on Saturday.
Zach Osterman / IndyStar

Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow reacts after throwing an interception in the course of the second half of IU’s recreation towards Wisconsin on Saturday in Bloomington. Wisconsin gained 45-17.(Photo: Darron Cummings/AP)

BLOOMINGTON – Now, formally, there will probably be no breaking by. The Indiana Hoosiers look far nearer to breaking down.

IU coach Tom Allen’s season mantra, “breakthrough,” was formally shelved Saturday in a 45-17 loss to No. four Wisconsin. The Hoosiers (Three-6, Zero-6) have to win every of their ultimate three video games or there gained’t be any bowling both.

“It’s all on us at this point,” redshirt junior broad receiver Simmie Cobbs stated. “The coaches can only do so much. As the players, we recognize what’s going on, what’s been going on, and we need to change it.”

For Allen, “breakthrough” meant lastly ending one among these video games, as an alternative of discovering methods both new or acquainted to fall brief. Over the previous two-plus seasons, IU has come near signature victories over ranked groups together with Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa and Nebraska. Scared the life out of Michigan twice.

Every time, one thing has thrown up an unmanageable street block. A key turnover, a expensive penalty, a defensive breakdown.

Wisconsin will nearly definitely be the final ranked staff Indiana performs this season, and the Hoosiers spent an excessive amount of of Saturday afternoon creating their very own issues to win.

“I think today, you look in the mirror a little bit,” redshirt senior quarterback Richard Lagow stated. “It was costly penalties or turnovers. It wasn’t as much what they were doing on defense, but rather us shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Point to a few turnovers, 4 sacks, 10 penalties. Point to missed alternatives to kill one Wisconsin landing drive with a fumble restoration, and get the ball at midfield off one other.

Pin it on no matter you need. When so most of the breaks of a recreation fall in favor of 1 staff, it isn’t dangerous luck or dangerous fortune. Wisconsin was simply higher.

Not for the primary time this season, Indiana began effectively. After Jacob Robinson’s strain helped Tegray Scales intercept Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook in the long run zone, the Hoosiers ripped off 10 straight factors.

Starting rather than Peyton Ramsey, and for the primary time in additional than a month, Lagow was very good initially. His 23-yard, first-quarter landing go to Devonte Williams was a grasp clbad in playcalling and execution.


IU coach Tom Allen speaks to the media following his staff’s 45-17 residence loss to No. four Wisconsin on Saturday.
Zach Osterman / IndyStar

Briefly, Memorial Stadium might consider once more that perhaps this time can be completely different. But it wouldn’t.

Wisconsin responded with a landing. An IU drive died at midfield due to a type of penalties and a type of sacks. Indiana’s protection pressured a punt on 4 downs.

On the primary play of the Hoosiers’ subsequent drive, freshman working again Morgan Ellison carried the ball left. As he went down below the load of a Wisconsin sort out, the ball got here unfastened, and bounced towards IU’s finish zone.

One official sprinted towards Ellison, blowing his whistle and signaling Ellison down. Moments after that, Wisconsin security Joe Ferguson jumped on the ball.

“I wasn’t sure of it was dead or not,” Ferguson advised Wisconsin media, when requested if he’d heard a whistle. “I saw it, and I was just like, I’d better just jump on this, just to be safe.”

On badessment, officers determined the ball had been fumbled and Wisconsin had recovered, superseding the play being dominated lifeless.

“The big thing was a whistle was blown,” Allen stated postgame. “That became the issue, but apparently they said it wasn’t blown. That’s what I was told. That’s all I know.”

It was the most recent in a season of dangerous breaks from officiating selections for Indiana, which could have had a case for extra luck towards Michigan and Michigan State as effectively.

But the Hoosiers have additionally struggled to create their very own luck. They are within the backside half of the Big Ten in penalty yards per recreation, a mean that solely sank additional Saturday. They have now allowed 24 sacks. They have spent just about your entire season lifeless final within the league in turnover margin, ending Saturday minus-10.

That final stat will irk Allen most. His protection is constructed on creating turnovers and altering momentum. It did so 23 instances final 12 months.

Including Saturday, the Hoosiers have seven pressured takeaways in 9 video games this season.

“It’s a simple football game,” Allen stated afterward. “We played a great football team today but when you’re minus in the takeaway ratio, you’re not going to win.”

Allen set the bar excessive for 2017.

The implication behind breaking by is that Indiana was 6-6 in every of the previous two seasons however agonizingly near one thing extra, to ending off a few these upsets and turning within the form of marketing campaign IU soccer hasn’t loved in twenty years.

Allen has been much more specific about his protection, saying he desires a top-25 unit throughout the board. It has given him that in some areas, however come up painfully brief in others.

The Hoosiers’ well being issues have solely made issues worse. At least 11 starters have missed time by accidents, and a number of other Hoosiers are out for the season.

But the hazard of elevating expectations is that it’s going to harm just a little extra whenever you don’t meet them. When it slipped away Saturday — it has so typically slipped away this season — somebody on IU’s sideline grew so audibly pissed off he drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. 

Allen stated afterward he didn’t know who it was. It doesn’t actually matter. IU’s noble, even comprehensible purpose for this season is now formally unachievable, rendered inconceivable by a mix of shortcomings and circumstances past Indiana’s management.

Without wins within the subsequent three weeks — a tall activity for a flawed and banged-up staff — a third-straight bowl will probably be out of attain as effectively.

Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.

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