Sure, you’ve heard all the talk about how important defense is in turning Indiana from a perennial loser to a perennial winner.
Here are a few facts to back that up.
We should warn you –- a lot of it isn’t pretty. So you need to ask yourself three questions:
1) Can you handle the truth?
2) Do you feel lucky ... PUNK?
3) Which movie stars in which movies actually asked those questions?
Anyway, last year IU averaged 23.5 points on offense. That’s not great, but it’s not horrible. You can win with that if you have decent defense.
Decent defense, of course, comes grudgingly to IU.
Last year the Hoosiers gave up 29.5 points. That IS bad until you consider it was a significant improvement over the 2008 season, when Indiana allowed 35.3 points.
In the last seven years the Hoosiers have allowed 31.2 or more points five times. Their best defensive average during that stretch was 28.5 points in 2007. That was the bowl season when they averaged an impressive 31.7 points on offense
In the last three years Indiana has been decent against the run in terms of yards per carry. Last season opponents averaged 4.0 yards. In 2008 it was 4.1. In 2007 it was 3.8.
By comparison, Ohio State hasn’t allowed more than 3.5 yards per carry in the last seven seasons. It has won five straight Big Ten titles.
Is that a coincidence?
We think not.
The Hoosiers also haven’t been great against the pass. Five times in the last seven years opponents have completed at least 60.8 percent of their passes, with a high of 67.1 percent in 2003.
No wonder IU has a history of blowing leads.
It’s way past time for that to change. The Hoosiers know that, of course. But knowledge doesn’t always equal doing. As a famous movie star once sort of said, actually the same one who asked Question No. 2, Go ahead Hoosiers, make my day.