Bloomington, Ind. – James Hardy and the Hoosiers head to Iowa City Saturday in search of a win.
But back home in Bloomington, they're in search of something else – support.
If there was a bandwagon of fans backing the IU football team following the passing of Terry Hoeppner in the off-season, that stage coach lost quite a few riders after the Hoosiers' 27-14 loss to Illinois Saturday.
Instead of echoing the players' battle cry of "Playing 13," many fans have been bemoaning the game's outcome, bantering about potential coaching replacements for Bill Lynch and preparing to turn the page on the season.
That's not something Hardy is ready to do, and he's hoping the Hoosier fan base can follow his lead.
"You could see it during the game – all of a sudden (the fans) just leave," Hardy said. "For us, as hard as we've been working – we've been working to put this program where it needs to be. We just need the support.
"We know the 107 of us (on the team) and the coaching staff, we believe in each other. Now it's our job to try to have the whole community behind us, win or lose."
Among those who continues to believe in the team is its head coach, Bill Lynch. Lynch admits that the turnovers and miscues that occurred at Memorial Stadium Saturday have to be corrected, but he tries to avoid putting too much weight on just one game's outcome.
"I just think there's so much football left," Lynch said. "We've played one-third of the season. We have eight football games left."
In those eight games, Indiana must win at least three to have a chance at its first bowl berth since 1993. The most winnable contests appear to be home games against Minnesota and Ball State, while a road trip to Northwestern also is a game that many suspect the Hoosiers could win.
But many thought last weekend's game at home against Illinois was the most winnable or them all. After all, this was an Illinois team that had won only two Big Tens in the last four games, going 2-30 during that stretch. But Coach Ron Zook's team came to Bloomington and jumped out to a 27-7 lead and cruised to the two-touchdown victory.
That was a surprising outcome to some, but Lynch says startling outcomes are nothing new in college football this year.
"The unexpected scores around the country that has gone on…you just don't know," Lynch said. "There are a few teams out there that are pretty dominant. Other than that, it's whoever plays best on Saturday."
Indiana didn't play very well this past Saturday, and Illinois responded by handling the Hoosiers their first loss of the season. Hardy hopes IU fans can keep it in perspective and stay behind the team as they continue their journey this fall.
"Michigan, they lost two games, and people are still behind them," Hardy said. "For us to turn this program around, Bloomington has to be somewhat like a family. We have to stay together regardless, win or lose, to get this program turned around."
HARDY: We Need Fans' Support
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