Bloomington – Indiana's football team ran out of both opportunities and bodies Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
The Hoosiers forced three first-half Wisconsin turnovers inside the Badger 40 yard line, yet came away with only one field goal for its efforts. That wasn't nearly good enough against a Wisconsin team that had three different runners eclipse the 100 yard mark, had 441 rushing yards on the day and 601 yards overall.
Wisconsin blitzed the Hoosiers with 31 unanswered second half points and cruised to a 55-20 win over IU in the Hoosiers' home finale. With the loss Indiana (3-7/1-5) slipped into last place in the Big Ten and was officially eliminated from any chances of bowl eligibility. Wisconsin (5-5/2-5) climbed out of the Big Ten cellar with the win and now needs one more victory to get a bowl invite.
The pain in not being able to capitalize on the early opportunities was matched by the pain of losing another handful of players Saturday. IU officials announced before the game safety Nick Polk has been lost for the season due to a knee injury suffered in practice on Wednesday, and starters Richard Council, Will Patterson, Ben Chappell and Mike Reiter were also sent to the sidelines nursing injuries during the Wisconsin game.
Those injuries were all apart of the Hoosiers' wheels coming off in the second half, as IU was outscored 31-0 in the game's final 30 minutes. But Indiana clearly had its chances early on.
The first came when Darius Johnson forced a fumble on a kickoff late in the first quarter and IU recovered inside the Badger 20, but the Hoosiers had to settle for a 33-yard field goal to cut the Badger lead to 14-13. IU corner Donnell Jones then intercepted a Dustin Sherer throw on Wisconsin's next drive, but IU came away with no points on that golden opportunity.
The biggest blow, though, came after IU's final takeaway in the second quarter. Wisconsin's David Gilreath fumbled a Chris Hagerup punt with 1:21 remaining before half and Zach Davis-Walker recovered on the UW 15. But on the ensuing play, Chappell took a huge hit from Badger safety Jay Valai after an 11-yard run, fumbled, and Wisconsin's DeAndre Levy recovered and returned it to midfield. The Badgers marched to the IU 2, Phillip Welch kicked a 19-yard field goal on the final play of the half to give Wisconsin a 24-20 lead.
To add insult to injury, Chappell was lost for the rest of the game with a head injury after completing 11-of-20 throws for 126 yards and a 43-yard touchdown to Andrew Means in the first half.
"You think about how big of a change that was, we get a turnover down 21-20, Ben gets hit, we lose the ball and him on the same play," Lynch said.
Everything was downhill from there for Indiana. Kellen Lewis replaced Chappell at the start of the second half, but was 0-for-5 in two drives and was clearly hobbled by his sprained ankle.
Indiana then turned to wide receiver Mitchell Evans, who wasn't scheduled to play today due to a sciatic nerve. He completed 1-of-5 throws for nine yards before giving way late to fourth-stringer Teddy Schell.
It wasn't pretty. The Hoosiers managed only three first downs and zero points in the second half and were unable to keep up with a Badger offense that moved the ball at will.
While Indiana was trying to find a healthy quarterback to turn to, Wisconsin continued to run all over the IU defense. Badger wide receiver David Gilreath scored on a 90-yard run on the Badgers' opening offensive series of the half, and the floodgates were open. P.J. Hill, John Clay and Scott Tozien all added second half touchdown runs, and Wisconsin had its way with IU on both sides of the ball the entire second half.
Gilreath led the ground attack with 168 yards on eight carries, while P.J. Hill (19 carries, 126 yards, 3 TDs) and Clay (19 carries, 112 yards, 1 TD) also had huge games against the Hoosier defense.
Injury-Riddled Hoosiers Run Over by Badgers
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