Here’s kind of how it’s going for Indiana football: Hoosiers quarterback Ben Chappell walked, or limped, to the mic Monday to meet the media in a walking boot.
Yeah, he’s only the franchise for the Hoosiers’ pistol offense.
“I’m just trying to keep it immobilized for now,” said Chappell, whose left foot was in the boot. “Keep moving on it, but I’ll be fine.”
Asked about the injury, ankle or the foot, he said “A little bit of both.”
And then, Chappell spent some of his time deflecting questions about Coach Bill Lynch’s future in Bloomington. And that’s going to be the theme for the Hoosiers (4-4, 0-4 Big Ten) from here on out.
Bowl eligibility is there for the Hoosiers, but they’ve dropped nine straight Big Ten games. Their final four games this season are No. 15 Iowa (6-2, 3-1) on Saturday, then No. 7 Wisconsin, vs. Penn State at Fed Ex Field in Washington, D.C. and a closer at rival Purdue.
What’s next and where are the Hoosiers going to find two wins?
“When things don’t go our way, we just have to persevered through it,” freshman tight end Ted Bolser said after IU’s 20-17 loss to Northwestern last week. “We have to take the consequences of our mistakes, we have to accept it, and there is no way of getting around it. We will be fine.”
Chappell looked fine against the Wildcats, completing 30 of 54 for 308 yards, a TD and an interception. His pass efficiency has been less than or just above 100 in three of the last four weeks. Chappell leads the Big Ten with 305.6 yards a game, but he’s eighth in efficiency at 140.0. His seven interceptions are tied for No. 2 in the Big Ten.
“I’m not going to blame anything on injuries so no,” Chappell said. “I didn’t play well enough on Saturday. The offense as a whole didn’t. I missed some throws obviously, so I’m not blaming injuries.”
Chappell, along with receivers Damarlo Belcher and Tandon Doss are keeping the Hoosiers afloat. The running game and defense aren’t there the way they need to be going into the second half of the Big Ten schedule.
Belcher (7.25 receptions a game) and Doss (5.71) are 1-2 in the Big Ten in receptions per game. Belcher is second in yards with 82.0 and Doss is fourth with 71.9.
Indiana is last in the Big Ten with 97.5 rushing yards a game. Then, there’s the defense.
The Hoosiers are ninth in the conference in scoring (29.4 points a game), eighth in pass defense (216.6), 10th in rush defense (167.5), ninth in total defense (384.1) and 10th in pass efficiency defense (147.7).
Still, Indiana was a TD review away from perhaps knocking off the then-undefeated Iowa Hawkeyes in Kinnick Stadium last season. Chappell led the Hoosiers to a 24-14 fourth-quarter lead that scattered into the wind.
Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi threw TD passes of 92 yards to Marvin McNutt and 66 yards to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos on back-to-back offensive plays to vault Iowa to a 42-24 victory. Stanzi was picked off five times while throwing into a north wind that swallowed every pass.
“We use the first three quarters quite a bit. And then all of a sudden in the fourth quarter, we don’t,” Lynch said about using Iowa video from ’09.
Tension is mounting for Lynch, who has an 18-27 record at IU, including 5-23 in the Big Ten, and who will be in the final year of his contract next season.
IU Athletics Director Fred Glass told the Bloomington (Ind.) Herald that he’s not getting into the subject of Lynch’s future.
“I’m just totally supportive of this team and this coaching staff,” Glass told the Herald. “All this speculation is premature. I understand it’s going to happen, but I’m not going to feed into it or endorse it.”
Recruit No. 16
According to HawkeyeReport.com, Maryland safety prospect Nicholas Law has committed to play football for the Hawkeyes.
Law, of Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.), visited Iowa last weekend liked what he saw in the wake of the Hawkeyes’ rout over then-No. 5 Michigan State, one of the teams that was in pursuit of Law.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has 14 scholarship offers, including Michigan State, Illinois, Maryland, West Virginia, Louisville and Cincinnati.
As a junior Law, a second-team all-conference pick, had 61 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and one defensive TD.
Law is the 16th commitment for Iowa.