Indiana Fails to Stop Badger Running Game, Loses 31-28

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent INovember 11, 2009

It was a well played game for the Hoosiers.

For the first time in three games, the Indiana Hoosiers actually put together a good effort for four quarters.

However, the injuries to their defense showed, and they were unable to stop the running game of the Wisconsin Badgers.

Wisconsin finished with 294 yards on the ground, and the duo of John Clay, and Montee Ball, were running with ease all day.

Clay finished with 134 yards, and a touchdown on 15 carries, despite missing the whole second half with concussion symptoms.

And Montee Ball, a true freshman, filled in greatly, and ran for 115 yards on 27 carries, and two touchdowns.

But the Hoosiers never gave up, and stayed in the game the whole way through.

Ben Chappell had a great game, throwing for 323 yards and three touchdowns, although he had two interceptions.

However, the Hoosier offense became extremely predictable after Darius Willis went down early, and the Wisconsin defense knew they would pass almost all of the time.

IU's Top-Three wide receivers (sophomores Tandon Doss and Demarlo Belcher, and Junior Terrance Turner) had great games, combining for 243 yards receiving, and three touchdowns.

The Hoosiers took the lead early, with a great drive led by senior QB Ben Chappell, and finishing with an 11 yard touchdown pass to Tandon Doss, to take a 7-0 lead.

However, Wisconsin scored 17 unanswered points before IU could strike again, another Chappell to Doss connection late in the half.

But the Badgers worked their way down the field well, and John Clay finished the drive with a 14 yard romp into the endzone, taking many Hoosier defenders with him. This put the score at 24-14 at the half.

The third quarter had no scoring, and was pretty back and forth, until three minutes into the fourth quarter, Ben Chappell found junior WR Terrance Turner on the left side for a six yard touchdown pass to make the score 24-21.

Suddenly, it seemed as if maybe the Hoosiers could have an upset.

Just like earlier though, Wisconsin systematically, and almost robotically, ran the ball down the throat of the Hoosiers, and freshman RB Montee Ball finished the drive with a three yard run into the end zone, to put the Badgers back up by 10, 31-21.

The Hoosiers didn't give up, and on the next drive Indiana went 80 yards down the field, with a combination of passing and running, leading to a Trea Burgess two yard touchdown run.

The score was now 31-28. The Hoosiers were that close to finally pulling out a win.

But the Badgers did their job, and converted on third down twice, to hold onto the ball and run the clock out.

The Hoosiers lost a third close game in a row 31-28, and in all three they had held the lead at one point.

Indiana should be proud of their performance, but they will never become a Big 10 power until they can figure out how to finish off close games.