Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Oklahoma State 49, Indiana 33.

The Hoosiers' return to postseason play was an important outcome on its own, but IU was dominated by Oklahoma State, which should provide the team with plenty of offseason motivation. Here's the box score. Anyone who watched the game knows that the final score doesn't really reflect the full extent of OSU's dominance.
IU moved the ball respectably on the first drive but settled for a field goal. The next time IU managed a first down, the score was already 21-3. IU had a decent drive but failed on the fourth down conversion and the game essentially was over at that point. I thoughy an early killer play was the facemask on Tracy Porter, which turned a 7 yard loss on second down into an OSU first down when IU still led 3-0. Certainly, OSU was a better team and likely would have won anyway, but any kind of a stop early on might have taken the pressure off the offense. Still, as bad as the IU defense was, it's hard to explain IU's lack of success against what during the regular season was a terrible OSU pass defense.
If this is James Hardy's last game as a Hoosier, he should be proud of his outstanding career, but nothing about his final game will make any sort of highlight reel. Hardy missed some catchable balls early that might have changed the direction of the game.
The statistics were deceptively close. OSU outgained IU 513-399. OSU had the advantage in yards per play, 6.2 to 5.2. IU ran the ball effectively, although that mostly was a result of some long Lewis scrambles. IU won the turnover battle 2-0, which further highlights the Cowboys' dominance. In the first half, IU gained 156 yards and OSU 327. That really tells the story more than the final stats.
I really have to wonder how in the world OSU lost six games. Zac Robinson is an amazing talent, and freshman receiver Dez Bryant, who I didn't even mention in any preview post, is going to be a star.
This was a good season. Because of the offseason turmoil involving the absence and eventual death of Terry Hoeppner, most pundits picked the Hoosiers to finish at or near the bottom of the standings. Certainly, IU played a favorable schedule, but managed to win seven games and produce the first winning season since 1994 and first bowl since 1993. IU sold the vast majority of its ticket allotment and it was great to see the sizable group of fans that followed the Hoosiers to Arizona. Hopefully, in terms of player development, recruiting, and fan support, 2007 and the Insight Bowl will be a first step for IU's program.


Gary Wood said...

I wish Indiana had won. In your opinion will Kelvin Sampson be let go?

John M said...

I don't have any inside information on the Sampson issue. Frankly, I don't think anyone does. If what's contained in IU's self-report to the NCAA is the extent of things, I think he will survive. If the NCAA opens its own investigation and there are significant additiona findings, he will be in trouble. I don't have any reason to believe that there was any more than was found by IU's investigation (if anything, IU seems to have gone above and beyond--can you imagine what would be found if every NCAA school audited the assistant coaches' home phone records?). People here are somewhat split over Sampson--given IU's previously pristine reputation, there's a lot of consternation over the idea of significant violations being associated with the IU basketball program. Others think it's too much of a fuss over phone calls. I tend to be somewhere in the middle. Yes, there are plenty of coaches who have done worse things, but given what happened at OU, it was a signficant breakdown in leadership for this to happen under his watch again. Further complicating matters is that the vast majority of IU fans like him as a coach. On the court, his teams are a breath of fresh air compared to what we had seen in recent years. If you scroll down the right sidebar and click on the "Sampson" tag, you will see some of my thoughts from when IU released its self-report.