How the Hoosiers fared in 2004: 3-8 overall, 1-7 Big Ten
(Links to USA Today game stories)
Sept. 4 – INDIANA 41, Central Michigan 10
Sept. 11 –Indiana 30, OREGON 24
Sept. 18 – KENTUCKY 51, Indiana 32
Sept. 25 – Michigan State 30, INDIANA 20
Oct. 2 – Michigan 35, INDIANA 14
Oct. 9 – NORTHWESTERN 31, Indiana 24
Oct. 23 – OHIO STATE 30, Indiana 7
Oct. 30 – INDIANA 30, Minnesota 21
Nov. 6 – ILLINOIS 26, Indiana 22
Nov. 13 – Penn State 22, INDIANA 18
Nov. 20 – PURDUE 63, Indiana 24
Sept. 2 – at Central Michigan
Sept. 10 – NICHOLLS STATE
Sept. 17 – KENTUCKY
Oct. 1 – at Wisconsin
Oct. 8 – ILLINOIS
Oct. 15 – at Iowa
Oct. 22 – OHIO STATE
Oct. 29 – at Michigan State
Nov. 5 – MINNESOTA
Nov. 12 – at Michigan
Nov. 19 – PURDUE
Starters returning: 14 (4 offense, 9 defense, 1 kicker)
Coach Terry Hoeppner: Entering his first season at the helm of Indiana, Hoeppner was 42-24 overall in his six years as a head coach at Miami of Ohio.
Versus Wisconsin: Wisconsin is 31-18-2 all-time against Indiana, with the Hoosiers winning the last two contests in 2001 and 2002, the last time the teams met. Former Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El, older brother of Badger wide receiver Marcus Randle El, and running back Levron Williams manhandled the Badgers in Madison when Indiana won 63-32 Oct. 6, 2001. Wisconsin attempted to avenge that loss the following year but lost 32-29 at Indiana Oct. 12, 2002.
Hoosiers 2004 in brief
Indiana managed three wins last season, running its total the past three seasons to a whopping eight victories.
There were a few bright spots. The Hoosiers managed to upset Oregon and Minnesota. Return specialist Lance Bennett was one of the best in the nation, highlighting what was, for the most part, very good special teams play. Quarterback Matt LoVecchio was serviceable, throwing for 1,951 yards and 13 touchdowns, and the passing offense was ranked a respectable fifth in conference-only games. Receiver Courtney Roby wrapped up his career as the school's record holder in career receptions (170) and receiving yards (2,521).
But that about covers it. Indiana's rushing offense was miserly and opponents must have pitied the Hoosiers' defense. IU was ranked last in the Big Ten in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense and pass efficiency defense. The team checked in second-to-last in rushing defense and turnovers forced. Only one team in the nation allowed more yards per game then the Hoosiers beleaguered defenders.
Following the season IU replaced coach Gerry DiNardo with Terry Hoeppner.
Looking ahead to 2005
Hoeppner brings a spread offense and blitz happy defense with him from Miami of Ohio. But it will be a while before Indiana has the talent to compete consistently in the Big Ten.
For a team that was already thin on talent and ready to rely all-too-heavily on young players, the offseason was particularly cruel. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the team's leading rusher in 2003 and '04, transferred to Mississippi. Linebacker Paul Szczesny, one of the better players on that porous defense, transferred to Arizona State.
There are nine starters back on defense, though four of them started for about half the season last year and one of them, middle linebacker John Pannozzo, started the past three years at fullback.
Sophomore quarterback Blake Powers will likely take the first-team snaps behind an experienced offensive line. If he receives some support from the Hoosiers' sputtering running game, a respectable performance is not out of the question for IU's offense.
The defense is another story, however, and the lack of depth and overall talent is such that a finish higher than 10th in the conference should be cause for widespread celebration in Bloomington.