Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back to reality

After watching Ohio State beat the Hoosiers thanks to only one player, I have mixed emotions.

Quarterback Terrell Pryor accounted for four touchdowns, three throwing and one rushing, which was more than enough to stop the Hoosiers. IU lost 33-14, but did not close to within 19 points until the last few seconds, when the offense scored a meaningless touchdown.

IU had to play a near-perfect game to upset the No. 9 Buckeyes and did not. Far from it. Two interceptions and a fumble killed three drives. IU was hanging around in the first half, thanks to OSU mistakes. The Buckeyes were up 10-0 quickly, but missed two field goals, which would have put the game out of reach. IU put together an impressive touchdown drive to close to within 10-7, but Ohio State scored a TD three plays later to push the lead back to 10. A Buckeye touchdown late in the second quarter off an interception probably was the knock-out blow.

I wish the team that pushed Michigan to the brink last week had showed up for this game. Last week's Hoosiers made 1.5 mistakes -- a missed field goal and the questionable interception late in the fourth quarter -- and proved their best game was good enough to win. I think if IU played OSU the same way, with few mistakes, the game would have been a lot closer.

I was eager to see what the Hoosiers' best game could do against Ohio State. And while an upset was unlikely, the Buckeye offense was not overpowering, at least not at first. Who knows what would have happened if IU had not committed the turnovers in the first half.

The good news is the toughest part of the schedule is over. IU travels to Virginia Oct. 10 for its final non-conference game of the year. The Cavaliers upset North Carolina on the road last week, but have several problems. The Hoosiers still have a good chance to win and move to 4-2.

The 3:30 p.m. game will be broadcast on It's probably safe to call the game a must-win if IU expects to play in a bowl game. The team that played against Michigan will have to make the trip east. The team that played Ohio State will lose.

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