Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Oh, what could have been. For a while, it looked as if Indiana was going to deliver Kevin Wilson his first Big Ten conference win in style, flummoxing the Michigan State Spartans and delighting the home crowd with a frankly dominant performance in the first half.
That all fell apart as Michigan State cleaned up its act and made adjustments the Hoosiers couldn't handle, but for one half, it felt so, so real.
Even without the services of Tre Roberson for the rest of the year as he takes a medical redshirt to heal a horrible broken leg, the Hoosiers undeniably have some fight in them as they work toward rebuilding (or really, just "building"). They've averaged 31.7 points in their three losses and have led in the fourth quarter of two of those games. The third, a 44-29 loss to Northwestern, even featured Indiana cutting a 27-0 deficit to 37-29 before bowing out.
But that defense just needs a ton of help, whether from the juco ranks or just development and patience. Or magic and wishes, for that matter.
Still, the defense is at least improving, though there was really nowhere to go but up after a pure horror show in 2011. At least now the Hoosiers are only 94th in total defense and a surprisingly respectable 62nd nationally in passing efficiency defense. You can still put points on this defense and teams regularly do, but now, you'll have to work at it a bit.