Indiana's Chance at Bowl Game Gone with Latest Loss

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent INovember 16, 2009

This isn't the first time the Hoosiers have dominated in the first half, only to let the opposing team come back and win. 

Yet, it is just as hard to take.

Only one year removed from a 3-9 season, filled with injuries, lack of leadership, and terrible defense, the Hoosiers are now 4-7 and dangerously close to finishing two seasons in a row with no wins in their final five games.

This year's Hoosiers are certainly better than last years team, yet they still can't find a way to finish games.

If any song could define the Hoosiers season, it would be "Build Me Up Buttercup" by the Foundations. The Hoosiers start off so well and build us up in excitement, that maybe they will win. But then they just let us down in the rest of the game.

In their last four games, the Hoosiers have started off with a bang, scoring at least a touchdown in their first possession, and sometimes going up 10 to 14 points.

But every time, the Hoosiers would let the opponent get back in the game and would end up being blown out of the park.

This weekend was no different.

The Hoosiers marched into Happy Valley to face Penn State with one final chance to stop their three-game losing streak, as well as keep their bowl hopes alive.

And as usual, Indiana came out with great execution on offense and defense and took a 10-0 lead after the first quarter.

However, despite forcing four turnovers in the first half, the Hoosiers were only able to put up 10 points, and they allowed Penn State to get back into the game.

After a missed field goal by Indiana freshman Nick Freeland, Penn State marched down the field and scored just before halftime to tie the game at 10.

From there, it was the same old story, as the Hoosiers came out flat in the second half, and the Nittany Lions scored a touchdown in the third and two more in the fourth to put the game away and win with a 31-20 scoreline.

Although the Hoosiers scored 10 points in the fourth quarter for the second week in a row, the game was long over.

The turning point of the game was in the third quarter, when junior QB Ben Chappell made a fatal mistake.

With the pocket collapsing around him, he chucked up a throw to an open receiver in front of him.

However, junior LB Navorro Bowman got in front of the pass and took it to the house, which totally put momentum into the hands of the Nittany Lions and destroyed IU's chances of going to a bowl game this year.

Now, Indiana has its final week of practice and preparation, where they face in-state rival Purdue. Purdue is also out of bowl contention, with their 40-37 loss at Michigan State knocking them out.

If Indiana wants to end their season on a good note and give their fans something to be happy about, a win this weekend would do it.

The Old Oaken Bucket game should be a good one, and hopefully, the Hoosiers will come out and play 60 minutes of football.