INDIANAPOLIS – Two weeks ago, the Indiana Hoosiers had a program changing victory when they topped the then 16th ranked Michigan State Spartans 24-21 in overtime. It was a program changer indeed, as it showed this IU team has maybe turned the corner as far as being a legitimate football program.
Now though, they have another opportunity to make another statement, this time, it would be a historic program changing victory. On Saturday afternoon, the Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-0, 2-0 Big 10) come to town, as it’s a chance for IU to make a huge statement this weekend. Nebraska comes to Bloomington undefeated and is ranked as the 10th best team in the nation.
Despite that though, Nebraska is beatable. Yes, they’re ranked 10th, but this game feels different. It isn’t Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State or other high powered Big 10 powerhouses, this is a Nebraska team that’s been down in the last several years. Yes, they’re back, but how good are they really? They’ve beaten, Fresno State, Wyoming, a rebuilding Oregon team and a bad Illinois team at home and have just one game away from Lincoln and that was a close victory at Northwestern.
Safe to say, this is their first real test of the season – Also safe to say this, IU will be ready.
This isn’t the old IU that will get steamrolled on defense and play tentative on offense. This is an IU team that will hit you in the mouth and come out ready to play. Nebraska comes in injured too and a team that will allow IU to hang around for most if not all of this contest. Add to the fact it’s Homecoming weekend and a game on national TV on ABC Saturday afternoon, and this give you belief that Indiana can actually pull off the upset.
If they do indeed win on Saturday, here’s how historic this will be – it will be Indiana’s first victory over a top 10 ranked team since 1979. IU beat a ninth ranked BYU team in the Holiday Bowl 37 years ago this season. That’s the last time they’ve beaten a top 10 ranked opponent.
The last time they beat a top 10 ranked team at home?
IU then beat a third ranked Purdue team 19-14 for their lone victory against a top 10 ranked team in Bloomington. Yes, I said lone, as in only, just one, uno, victory over a top 10 ranked team.
In fact, IU has just four victories in the history of the program over top 10 ranked teams nationally. The other two came in 1942 at Minnesota and 1937 at Ohio State.
Four times since 1887 has Indiana beaten a top 10 opponent and just once in the last 129 years has IU won a home game against a top 10 ranked opponent.
So, IU has a chance to do something historic Saturday. A win and everyone will know this team is in fact for real. A win goes a long way. A win should propel Indiana to their best season in decades as a win would give IU fans hope that this team could have eight to nine wins this year.
Next is at Northwestern. That’s a win if IU is focused. Then, it’s Maryland at home and at Rutgers. Again, should be two more victories. From there is Penn State at home, which too should be a win. After that, it’s at Michigan which will be extremely tough but home against a bad Purdue too.
I only see one loss there. That’s why a win on Saturday would be the kind of statement went that IU basketball had over Kentucky in 2011. That’s how big a win on Saturday will be.
Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indiana Sports Report covering Racing. He’s covered both IndyCar and NASCAR action since 2009 and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by both the IndyCar Series and all three divisions of NASCAR racing.
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