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IU says it’s ‘one play away’ from succeeding

The Big Number

24 — The minimum number of points Indiana has scored in each game this season. It’s the first time in school history that a team has scored at least 24 points in seven straight games in the same season.

Extra point

It would be expected, if not condoned, if IU’s few seniors eased up at this point of the season. That isn’t happening, Ekeler said. He talked about Nick Sliger, a fifth-year defensive tackle who was still in the coach’s office late Sunday night. Sliger assured his coach that the Hoosiers would find a way to win again.

“These guys love it,” Ekeler said. “They’ve totally bought in, they love coming in to work every day.”

Updated: November 25, 2012 11:50AM



The key phrase around Indiana football at the moment is “one play away.”

As in, the Hoosiers are one play away from winning any of the five straight losses they’ve endured, including Saturday’s 31-30 loss at Navy.

“We’re one play away from winning the game,” offensive coordinator Seth Littrell said Tuesday. “We’ve been one play away from winning a lot of games.”

Considering that the Hoosiers (2-5, 0-3 Big Ten) have only lost by double digits once, in Northwestern’s 44-29 victory on Sept. 29, Littrell and his colleagues have a point.

The key is finding that one play that can turn the tide and finding a way to get over the hump.

“We’ve got it down to where it’s one play away,” co-defensive coordinator Mike Ekeler said. “Where is that play?

“There’s so many game-changing plays. When we find that ability to focus and re-focus, I think that’s when it’s going to happen,” Ekeler said.

Against the Midshipmen, it was a case of settling for short field goals. Mitch Ewald kicked field goals of 25, 23 and 30 yards. Turn any one of those into a touchdown, and perhaps the Hoosiers don’t have to concede a touchdown late in order to get the ball back with time to score themselves.

Another short field goal against Ohio State, likewise against Michigan State, scoring too quickly at the end against Ball State to give the Cardinals time for their own game-winning drive; all plays the Hoosiers can point to when they talk about being “one play away.”

“We’re in a position where in our time here we’ve gone from significant plays to win a game to a play to win a game,” head coach Kevin Wilson said.

That’s improvement, but there’s still room to grow.

“Talking about believing (that you can win a close game) and believing are two different things,” Wilson said.

The coaches insist the effort is there, even if the results in wins and losses haven’t been what they want.

“You can spin (the statistics) however you want,” Ekeler said. “The fact of the matter is, I’ll put our (game) tape on against anybody in the country … there’s nobody out there, in my mind, that’s playing harder.

“Are we there yet? No. (But) I said it right before the Michigan State game, we’re close.”

How close? One play away, of course.



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