10 Things I Learned 2011 … Indiana

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Two games down, quite a few to go. But after two games, 2-0 is the best a team can do and that is where the 2011 Hoos sit. Perhaps that does not surprise some, perhaps that shocks others, but here the Hoos are either way. Breaking down how they got there is the task before us.

1. Hoos vs. Hoosiers. I know that Indiana has not been a Big Ten powerhouse in recent years. I know that they lost the season opener to Ball State. I know that they are a team in transition. I know all that … and yet, I still thought going into this game that it was going to be a challenge for the team. Indiana still is a Big Ten team. This still was a road game, the first road game for a lot of the guys on the field on Saturday night. The Indiana offense still was one that would offer a different challenge to the UVa defense, and Edward Wright-Baker was a quarterback who could offer some match-up opportunities for the Hoosiers. Kevin Wilson still was (and is) a coach who knows the game and can put together a solid game plan. In other words, I thought this was a step up in competition for the Hoos, and certainly not a gimme game.

Of course, the game looked like it could become a laugher early in the third quarter (about half the IU student section believed so because they were long gone). At that point, after all, UVa was following the same script as the week before: a few missed opportunities to score more points but still holding a widening lead while allowing few points. In fact, through six quarters of football in 2011, the Hoos were outscoring their opponents 63-6, which is not half bad …

… and then, all heck broke loose. Turnovers. Wasted opportunities. Quick possessions by the offense. The defense on the field for what seemed like three straight hours. An oh-my-goodness fumble, quickly followed by a what-was-that? interception. And a 20-point lead became an 8-point deficit, with the fourth quarter winding down and nothing remotely close to momentum on the Hoos’ side …

… and then, something strange happened. Panic was replaced by calm. Execution was cleaner. Mistakes were less costly, and then quickly erased. A razor thin margin for error was margin enough. A quarterback started to emerge, winning players made winning plays, and a kicker who can’t seem to miss this year didn’t. Defeat became

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