Indiana looking to bounce back vs. Penn State after loss to Ohio State
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana pushed No. 1 Ohio State to the limit. Now the Hoosiers must prove they can rebound from their first loss of the season when they head to Penn State, a venue where they have never won.
Indiana coach Kevin Wilson admitted Monday that it's an important question for his team this week.
"We were proud of their effort and we expected that but we were disappointed that we had some mistakes that we need to fix," Wilson said. "There is a point in time where good teams fix them. We're never going to be perfect but we just keep on having just enough clutter when you're playing these upper-level teams and these Big Ten East teams. It's easy to get distracted. I sure hope we weren't trying to just go out one game and play hard."
Wilson said he was irritated by a quote attributed to one of his senior players last week that suggested playing Ohio State meant a little bit more.
"He doesn't get the gist of this program if that's what he thought," Wilson said while not identifying the player. "We've addressed that. This is another big week. It's the next one. And we've got to move on. We've shown as a program that we can be good but we've shown that we don't consistently move on. So we need to have a great week."
Indiana won its first four non-conference games before opening Big Ten play with the 34-27 loss to Ohio State.
A pattern for recent Indiana football has been to be respectable in the non-conference portion of the schedule but to struggle in conference play. In the last eight seasons, including this year, Indiana has posted a 21-11 record in non-conference play. But the Big Ten has been a different story. Indiana is 9-48 in conference in the same span.
For Wilson in his four plus seasons at Indiana, the Hoosiers are 12-8 in non-conference and 6-27 in Big Ten play.
"To me, we haven't accomplished much (this season)," Wilson said. "There's a lot of football to play. I think there's a lot of fight in this team. There are opportunities for guys to step up. I think our team has that mentality. We're going to play a tough opponent at a tough place to play. We've never won there."
Indiana is 1-17 all-time against Penn State, including 0-8 at State College. The last two meetings, however, have been very competitive. Last year, IU dropped a 13-7 decision. The year before, Indiana recorded its only win in the series, 44-24.
Indiana players see the Penn State game as a big opportunity. More than one player mentioned Monday that a common theme has been present since Saturday's loss to the top-ranked Buckeyes.
"One of our biggest things is that we're trying to show people that we're not the same old Indiana team," said senior tight end Anthony Corsaro. "How do we turn it around? We feel like we just need to keep doing what we're doing. We were right there in it until the end. We love the way we fought. I love the heart of this team, the desire and the grit. We just know that we've got to execute better."