The Last Word: What is IU playing for today?

There are two games to play and one of them is today at Ohio State where the Hoosiers are nearly a five-touchdown underdog. So what do the Hoosiers have left to play for?

What is Indiana playing for today against Ohio State?

Pride? Respectability? Kevin Wilson’s job?

Let’s start with Wilson first. My take is that once Nate Sudfeld went down against Iowa, the season was doomed. I’m not sure how Indiana was going to bounce back at that point. Now, had Tre Roberson stuck around or even Cameron Coffman, the Hoosiers could have still won some games.

But Zander Diamont has proven that it takes a few games to get up to speed when you’re playing in the Big Ten. Diamont could have benefitted greatly from games against Indiana State and North Texas, for example. But instead he has gotten Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers and today, Ohio State.

There’s nothing easy about that road.

And so when I hear the noise getting loud about people not satisfied with the job that Wilson, I have to take a step back and ask a simple question: What did you expect was going to happen when Sudfeld got hurt?

Is it on the coach that IU’s quarterback position got so depleted that the Hoosiers had no chance if Sudfeld got hurt? I suppose. But I think if Sudfeld had stayed healthy this could have been a team challenging for a bowl game. So if we’re talking about a program so fragile that if it loses one player the season is lost then I’m not sure you can put all of that blame on Wilson’s shoulders.

So what does that leave to play for today? Pride? Respectability?

Sure, both of those things are important.

One thing is IU needs to get through this game without getting too banged up because the Hoosiers still have their biggest rival next week with the Old Oaken Bucket game against Purdue.

The other thing is Tevin Coleman. He needs a total of 128 yards in two games to break IU’s all-time single season record. You would think he should be able to get there. But the other number for Coleman is 322. That’s how many yards he needs to gain 2,000 yards in a season.

That would be a bittersweet record in a tough season overall for Indiana but it would be something.

It would be something to know that you blocked for a 2,000- yard rusher or that you played on the same team as a guy who gained 2,000 yards in his college career.

When you’re 3-7 with two games to play, these are the things you look for to motivate you.

As for all the noise with the head coach and his future, we’ll have lots of time to talk about that when this season is over.

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