[bumped, although HoyaGoon has been sent to the gulags for making us remember that fucking game.--OPS]
It was almost exactly 2 years ago to the day that Iowa lost to Indiana 28-31. Entering the game at 5-1, Iowa still seemed poised to finish a strong 2nd or 3rd in the Big Ten, rebounding from the OSU loss by crushing Purdue the prior week. There was just enough reason to believe the hype about Iowa that the OSU loss diminshed. But the inexplicable loss to a truly below-average Indiana is the point that it all went to shit. To my mind, this was the point where Iowa football lost its way, if we're ever going to rise again, it starts this weekend with Indiana.
I remember watching the first half of the game and seeing Iowa absolutely dominate. But the signs of the impending collapse were already there. Missed opportunities to score, Austin Signor shanking field goals, Adam Shada's inability to cover a corpse let alone James Hardy, and a score at half (21-17) that was far closer than it ought to have been. I was convinced, however, that Iowa was still a dominant team and would roll in the 2nd half. I was wrong. The second half was a seemingly never-ending series of miscues, turnovers and bad execution that unfortunately has come to define our program over the past two years.
Obviously, this trend has continued to today (see e.g., Pitt, NU, MSU). But I believe this weekend's game offers us the chance to right the ship, to atone for our prior sins and point the program back in the right direction. All the pieces are there. We are a much better team this year than last, but execution remains our Achilles heel. The death spiral began with Indiana, our opportunity to rise like a Phoenix begins in Bloomington.
And if we lose, I may kill myself with cheap hooch.
[Sir, if you're drinking to die, don't cheat yourself. Expensive hooch.--OPS]