IU Football: Top 10 Games of the Decade

There are no wins over top-10 teams in the last 10 years. Heck, there are only 39 wins overall for IU football. But there have still been plenty of important victories for the programs of Cam Cameron, Gerry DiNardo, Terry Hoeppner and Bill Lynch. In our continuing look back at the best of the last 10 years, we look at the 10 biggest football wins of the last decade…

There are no wins over top-ranked teams (or even top-10 teams, for that matter) during the last 10 years for the IU football program. Heck, there are only 39 wins overall and 18 in the Big Ten. But there have still been plenty of important victories for the programs of Cam Cameron, Gerry DiNardo, Terry Hoeppner and now Bill Lynch in the last 10 seasons. In our continuing look back at the best of the last 10 years, today we look at the 10 biggest football wins of the last decade…

1. Indiana 27, Purdue 24, November 17, 2007Austin Starr's game-winning 49-yard field goal in the closing minute produced not only the Hoosiers' biggest win of the decade, but probably one of the five biggest victories in the history of Indiana football. When Starr's field goal sailed through the uprights in front of 50,741 at Memorial Stadium, it sent the Hoosiers to their first bowl game since 1993 and it fulfilled the pledge to "Play 13" in both memory and tribute to former Coach Terry Hoeppner, who had passed in the off-season following a battle with brain cancer. Marcus Thigpen ran for 140 yards and James Hardy caught 10 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown as IU jumped to a 24-3 lead midway through the third quarter. But Purdue battled back to tie the game with 3:39 left, setting the stage for Starr's game-winner with 30 seconds remaining.

2. Indiana 38, Iowa 20, Sept. 29, 2007 – This win in Iowa City provided some evidence that the Hoosiers were legitimate bowl contenders during the 2007 season. Kellen Lewis threw for 322 yards and the Indiana defense recorded nine sacks – including 3 ½ by Jammie Kirlew and 2 ½ by Greg Middleton – in a dominating performance against Kirk Ferentz's Hawkeyes. Indiana took control of the game early, racing to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The third touchdown came on one of the more bizarre plays of the year, when Lewis completed a pass to Josiah Sears, who then fumbled the ball. But Lewis was trailing the play and scooped it up and ran 71 yards for the score, capping his run with an acrobatic flip into the end zone.

3. Indiana 30, No. 24 Oregon 24, Sept. 11, 2004 – When Indiana traveled to Eugene, Ore., and stunned Coach Mike Belotti's 24-th ranked team during the second game of the season, it appeared to provide evidence that Gerry DiNardo was in fact turning the Hoosier program around. That proved not to be the case, as Indiana proceeded to lose its next five games and eight of its last nine that season and DiNardo was fired after only three years. But for one week, Indiana football was riding high following a rare win over a ranked team. Indiana led 23-0 at halftime and 30-10 late in the third quarter following a Lance Bennett kickoff return for a touchdown. But Oregon rallied, scoring twice and then threatening again late. But Kyle Killion intercepted Kellen Clemens to end Indiana's 13-game road losing streak.

4. Indiana 31, No. 15 Iowa 28, Oct. 14, 2006 – James Hardy caught eight passes for 104 yards and three touchdowns while Kellen Lewis threw for 255 yards and three scores while running for another to lead the Hoosiers to their biggest win in nearly 20 years. The victory against the 15th-ranked Hawkeyes represented the first time Indiana had beaten a team ranked that high since a 31-10 win over No. 9 Ohio State in 1987. Indiana improved to 4-3 on the season with the win and, coupled with the victory a week earlier against Illinois, enjoyed its first back-to-back Big Ten wins since 2001.

5. Indiana 13, Purdue 7, Nov. 24, 2001 – In his next-to-last game as the Hoosiers' head coach, Cam Cameron finally got his first win against Purdue to bring the Old Oaken Bucket back to Bloomington. Levron Williams and Antwaan Randle El scored on touchdown runs of 52 and 10 yards, respectively, to give IU a 13-0 first half lead. But it was the defense that preserved the victory late. Faced with a 4th-and-goal at the Indiana one-yard line, Purdue tailback Montrell Lowe was stuffed by little-known IU linebacker Martin Lapostolle for no gain. Indiana managed to run out the clock and secure one of only two wins over Purdue this decade.

6. Indiana 63, Wisconsin 32, Oct. 6, 2001 – A handful of the games on the top 10 IU football wins of the decade earned their slot not due to any lasting significance on the season, but rather their improbability. And when it comes to improbability, no result was more improbable than the Hoosiers' demotion of Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. Entering the game with an 0-3 record, Indiana got 280 rushing yards and a school-record six touchdowns from Levron Williams to rout Barry Alvarez's team. Indiana was all over Wisconsin early, scoring 32 unanswered first-quarter points on its way to its biggest offensive effort since beating Rose Poly 65-0 in 1924.

7. Indiana 34, Illinois 32, Oct. 7, 2006 – The Hoosiers' win over the Illini wasn't particularly significant because of the opponent, but the fact that the Hoosiers overcame an 18-point deficit to earn their first Big Ten road victory since 2001 – a stretch of 17 games. Illinois scored on its first five possessions to take a 25-7 lead before Indiana battled back. Josiah Sears scored on a pair of second-quarter runs to cut the lead to four, and Marcus Thigpen ran the second half's opening kickoff back for a touchdown to give Indiana the lead. After Illinois reclaimed the lead on a DaJuan Warren to Jody Ellis pass at the end of the third quarter, Austin Starr won it with a 33-yarder that just slipped inside the upright as the game clock expired.

8. Indiana 37, No. 22 Michigan State 28, Nov. 10, 2001 – Antwaan Randle El completed only 3-of-12 passes for 51 yards in East Lansing, but it hardly mattered as IU ran for a staggering 489 yards in the upset win over the Spartans. Levron Williams (26 carries, 251 yards, 3 TDs), Randle El (21 carries, 149 yards, 1 TD) and fullback Jeremi Johnson (13 carries, 96 yards, 1 TD) all had huge games on the ground against the Spartans. Randle El's effort made him the all-time leading rusher among I-A quarterbacks, a mark later eclipsed by West Virginia's Pat White.

9. Indiana 32, No. 23 Wisconsin 29, Oct. 12, 2002 – Gibran Hamdan completed 24-of-36 passes for 310 yards and four touchdowns to lead Indiana to a come-from-behind win over the 23rd ranked Badgers in Bloomington. Trailing late in the third quarter by 19, Hamdan threw three touchdown passes in the game's final 16 minutes to give Indiana its largest comeback victory since 1999. The win lifted Indiana to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten, but the excitement was short lived – the Hoosiers proceeded to lose their last six games of the season by an average of 23.8 points.

10. Indiana 38, Ball State 20, Nov. 3, 2007 – When the clock hit 0:00 at Memorial Stadium, it appeared to be mission accomplished with the Hoosiers' 38-20 win against the Cardinals. The victory lifted IU to 6-4 overall and made Coach Bill Lynch's team bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. Ultimately, IU needed to get one more victory against Purdue to turn bowl eligibility into reality, but this was still a very big win for the program. Kellen Lewis established new personal bests of 406 yards of total offense and 354 yards passing to go along with four touchdowns.

Also See:
IU Basketball: Top 10 Players of the Decade
IU Basketball: Top 10 Wins of the Decade
IU Football: Team of the Decade

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