IU Insider Blog: Props to IU players

There were plenty of mistakes to go around Saturday night and a loss that won't quickly be forgotten. But I gained respect for Indiana's players that came and faced the music and spoke to the media after the disappointing loss.

First of all, this group of Indiana football players deserve some props.

After one of the most gut-wrenching losses in recent Indiana football history (and in 16 years covering the Hoosiers I've seen a good number of them) one by one the IU players came out and faced the music in the postgame locker room.

This wasn't Damarlo Belcher in 2010 after his dropped pass in the end zone resulted in an 18-13 loss to No. 15 Iowa at home. Belcher made some of his quickest moves after the game leaving the building before he ever had to talk to reporters about a ball he would catch 99 out of 100 times.

No, this was clearly a different scene. Tre Roberson talked about his disappointing first half of play. Nate Sudfeld talked at length about the final play and his thoughts on the game. Even Tevin Coleman, though visibly distraught, came out and talked to the media, too.

Coleman was asked how tough it was for him to come talk to the media and he admitted it was very tough.

No kidding. What is someone supposed to say? He made a mistake. Sure, it was a mistake that was magnified by the moment and all that went with it but it was still a mistake made by a 20-year-old kid. Since I have a 20-year-old myself perhaps it's easier for me to put it into context but it was still admirable nonetheless that Coleman even came out and spoke to the media.

As troubling as it was to watch Indiana lose another game that it should have won, I gained a tremendous amount of respect for guys named Sudfeld and Coleman in particular Saturday night.

The shame in this one is that Indiana was on the verge of making an incredible comeback.

With 6:24 to play in the third quarter, David Cobb flew through the Indiana defensive front and went basically untouched 27 yards for a touchdown to put Minnesota up 35-13.

Many of those fans that had stuck around for the second half (and believe me a lot of folks left at halftime) began making their way to the exits at that point. The Hoosiers were down by 22 and even as explosive as IU's offense has been on this day it had showed no signs of life. The thought that this Hoosier team could rally from a 22-point deficit at that point in the game seemed like the longest of long shots.

But in a span of 13 minutes, Indiana not only came back but it came all the way back and took the lead. The Hoosiers went on a 26-0 spurt to take a 39-35 lead on a 30 yard pass from Sudfeld to Cody Latimer with 5:33 to play in the game.

And even after the Hoosiers allowed Minnesota to score a touchdown with 3:06 to play, the one thing that was clear to everyone at that point was that the Golden Gophers had left too much time on the clock.

IU marched down the field and had a first and goal inside the 10. On second and goal came the swing pass from Sudfeld to Coleman that was thrown behind him and resulted in a lateral with Minnesota recovering.

Just like that the place went from euphoria to the lowest of lows.

The sad part is my guess now is that the Hoosiers will beat Illinois and Purdue to get to five wins and then look back at this one as the big one that got away in terms of not being able to get bowl eligible. No, IU isn't mathematically eliminated and won't be for a few more weeks, but now Indiana would have to beat either Wisconsin or Ohio State on the road to get back into the bowl eligibility picture.

That's a Wisconsin team that in the last three meetings against Indiana has outscored the Hoosiers 204-41.

That's an Ohio State team that has won 20 games in a row over the past two seasons and is ranked No. 4 in the nation.

In other words it would take an incredible upset for it to happen. But the way this offense scores points, you can never count out the Hoosiers. Unfortunately with the way the defense gives them up, it's hard to count on them either.

The saddest part will be if IU does get to that five-win mark and will forever have to think about what could have been on the first Saturday of November in 2013.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

Peegs.com Top Stories