Top Ten Stories of 2010

Hoosier Nation ranks the top 10 stories in IU football and basketball during the last 12 months. Today, we count down from No. 10 down to No. 6...

10. Rodger Saffold picked with first pick of 2nd round – When the St. Louis Rams selected IU offensive tackle Rodger Saffold with the first pick of the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, they made him the highest drafted Hoosier in 13 years. Former IU defensive end Nathan Davis was the last player to go higher, as he was selected 32nd by Atlanta in 1997. Saffold has lived up to his draft position – he's started all 14 games this year at left tackle, where he protects No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford's backside. He's drawn solid reviews for his work, and St. Louis ranks 14th in the NFL for fewest sacks allowed (30). That's a very solid number, considering the Rams rank fifth in the NFL in pass attempts. On his recent radio show, Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian went as far as to say that he made a mistake not taking Saffold at the end of the first round. That's high praise.

9. 83 points to Wisconsin – There were plenty of good days for IU Athletics during 2010, and then there was some bad. Among the worst days was Nov. 13, when Wisconsin unleashed a historic 83-20 beating on the Hoosiers. The Badgers' point total was the most scored by an FBS team all season, and it represented the most points scored in a Big Ten game since 1950 when Ohio State scored 83 against Iowa. With Ben Chappell sidelined early due to an injury, Wisconsin piled up 598 yards of total offense and had a pair of running backs rush for at least 140 yards. While no one will ever know for sure, this performance probably went a long way in sealing Bill Lynch's fate. IU had come close to upsetting Iowa a week earlier (losing 18-13 when Damarlo Belcher dropped an apparent game-winning touchdown in the end zone), but any good that came from that effort was quickly erased by this monumental beating.

8. Return of Maurice Creek – When Maurice Creek went down with a terrible knee injury in the final non-conference game of the 2009-10 season, no one knew for sure how long it would take for him to return. But when the Hoosiers opened the 2010-11 campaign, there was Creek, back in the starting line-up. After averaging 16.4 points/game as a freshman and looking like one of the nation's best newcomers last winter, Creek is clearly not back to 100 percent yet. He's been a cog in the IU offense instead of the key, ranking third on the team in scoring (10.5 points/game) and taking nearly two-thirds of his shots from behind the 3-point arc (compared to one-half a year ago). But he's clearly making progress, and is expected to eventually be back to where he was in 2009.

7. The loss of Guy Marc-Michel – When the Hoosiers inked this 7'1" junior college center, they thought that they had an answer in the post – a physically-imposing big man that could block shots, rebound the basketball, and provide the sort of last line of defense that's been missing in recent years. He excited IU fans with a 14-point, 10-rebound, four-block effort in a public scrimmage that suggested he would be an integral part of this year's rotation. But that's all come for naught thanks to a ruling from the NCAA that Michel is ineligible to play college basketball. The NCAA determined that Michel had played five games with a French professional team in 2007-08, which put his eligibility in jeopardy. That, coupled with the fact his five-year window began ticking when he enrolled in a college course in 2006, means IU fans won't ever see Michel in an IU uniform again.

6. IU beats Purdue in OT – IU's football team came into the season with plenty of expectations, virtually all of which went unfilled during a disappointing 5-7 campaign. But the season did end with a memorable 34-31 overtime victory in West Lafayette. The heroes were linebacker Jeff Thomas and placekicker Mitch Ewald. Ewald kicked a 26-yard field goal with nine seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, then booted a 31-yarder in overtime for the game-winner. Thomas, meanwhile, made a diving interception on Purdue's overtime possession to keep the Boilermakers off the board. The win was IU's first in West Lafayette since 1996, when Bill Mallory also topped Purdue in his final game as IU's head coach.


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