All the major players in the play that ultimately spelled doom for Indiana football Saturday night in a 42-39 loss to Minnesota on Homecoming at Memorial Stadium did their best in the postgame to explain what happened.
To rewind and reset the scenario one more time, Indiana got the ball with 3:06 remaining in the game trailing Minnesota 42-39.
For the Indiana offense this year, 3:06 is enough to score three times. The Hoosiers rarely take much time of possession to get on the board.
A first down pass to Tel Bolser went for 5 yards and then Nate Sudfeld hit Shane Wynn for 20 more to the Minnesota 44. Tevin Coleman ran for 5 yards and Sudfeld hit Kofi Hughes on a 20-yard strike to the Gophers 19. Coleman gained 1 on first down and Sudfeld and Bolser connected for 4 more yards on second down.
A 5 yard run by Stephen Houston set the Hoosiers up with first-and-goal at the 9. Sudfeld threw an incomplete pass into the end zone on first down and Minnesota called timeout to regroup.
That set up what would be IU's final play. Sudfeld tried a swing pass out of the backfield that was thrown a little behind Coleman. He readjusted but the ball fell incomplete. Thinking it was just that, an incomplete pass, Coleman didn't cover the ball up. But Minnesota's Aaron Hill scooped the ball up and ran 21 yards to the Minnesota 44.
The play officially was ruled as a 14 yard rushing loss for Coleman but most importantly it sealed the Minnesota victory.
Sudfeld tried to describe what happened at the end.
"It was a play designed for a certain coverage,'' Sudfeld said. "It was a swing pass and they were kind of blocking the swing and we kind of got caught in the wrong look. I think I put the ball a little behind Tevin. He tried to make a good catch and it was just an unfortunate play.
"It was really bad timing. I should have just thrown it away. I don't know. There are a lot of things you'd like to take back.''
Sudfeld said he knew right away that the ball was still alive and he could only hope that Minnesota didn't realize it, too. The Gophers were quick to react, however, and caught Coleman unaware.
"I was hoping the defense didn't notice but they picked it up and I tried to make a tackle,'' Sudfeld said.
"I was panicking just trying to sprint and get the ball and yelling to Tevin to pick it up and hope the defense didn't see it. But they picked it up and that was a head's up play by them.''
A visibly distraught Coleman tried to explain the final play, too.
"It was supposed to be a swing pass to me and it was supposed to be open but it wasn't,'' Coleman said.
"(The pass) was behind me but I just tried to make a play out of it but it just didn't happen,'' Coleman said. "I didn't know it was live. I thought it was an incomplete pass. When I saw the guy pick it up and start running I tried to make him fumble.''
Coleman said the challenge moving forward is to try and put this behind him quickly. He said his teammates were telling him he needed to keep his head up and were offering encouraging words.
"I know I have to keep my head up now and keep playing and keep working hard,'' Coleman said.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch