The Last Word: An ugly recent history

In the last three times that Indiana has played Wisconsin, the Badgers have outscored IU 201-41. That 83-20 game in 2010 certainly didn't help the average. IU will have a big challenge on its hands today to keep this one closer.

There was 62-14 last year.

It was 59-7 the year before that.

And then of course, no Indiana fan will ever forget the 2010 debacle that likely ushered Bill Lynch out the door as the Indiana football coach in an 83-20 loss.

Three games, one opponent, and an ugly recent history.

Somehow, Indiana needs to get past the fact that Wisconsin has outscored the Hoosiers 201-41 in the last three meetings if it is able to be competitive today in Madison.

The reality is that Indiana probably needs to score 38 points or more today to have a shot. IU has the offense to do it but the Badgers are really good at home and are not the kind of team that is likely to give up that kind of scoring barrage.

It also doesn't help that IU is a three-touchdown plus underdog today.

Now I say that and whenever I think of big underdogs I think of the 2001 Indiana team that was in that same three touchdown kind of hole heading into Madison as well.

The Badgers were really good and no one expected Indiana to be able to keep up at all. Yes, IU had Antwaan Randle El and Levron Williams but it also had a defense that had struggled and the Hoosiers were actually 0-3 on the season that year heading to Madison.

What happened that day was truly one of the most surprising games I've ever covered in a more than 35 years as a sportswriter.

On IU's first possession, Williams scored on a 6 yard run and IU went up 7-0 with 12:55 to play in the first quarter. Wisconsin turned it over right away and IU got the ball back. Just over a minute later, Williams went 56 yards for a touchdown and it was 13-0 less than 4 minutes into the game (the kick was missed).

IU got it right back and quickly moved down the field again. This time, Williams scored from 3 yards out and the Hoosiers led 20-0.

But IU wasn't through yet. In fact, IU wasn't close to being through for the first quarter yet. Wisconsin got the ball back and was forced to punt. The Hoosiers came through and blocked it and Duane Stone returned it 10 yards for a score. That made it 26-0 at the 7:32 mark of the first quarter. IU would get one more first quarter touchdown from Randle El to Aaron Halterman and it was 32-0 Indiana.

Talk about a shocked Camp Randall crowd. It was as quiet as I've ever experienced in Madison. Stunned silence. Now, Wisconsin rallied and scored some points but Indiana never let off the gas pedal.

Final score: Indiana 63, Wisconsin 32.

Do I expect a similar result today? No, I don't expect it. I'm just saying that stranger things have happened. And when you have an offense that can score like this one does, you've always got a chance.

Once again, it will come down to the defense today. Even if the offense scores a boatload of points, the defense has to keep it respectable or this will be a track meet that IU will not be able to win.

At the very least it has the potential to be an entertaining game. At the same time, it could be 2010 ugly all over again, too.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Top Stories