|Cameron Coffman threw for the 454 yards against Penn State, the second-highest mark in school history. (US Presswire)|
Indiana (4-8, 2-6 Big Ten)
Expectations: Not much was expected of an Indiana team coming off a one-win season in 2011. The Hoosiers entered the year with numerous underclassmen filling the skill positions and many undefined roles under second-year coach Kevin Wilson. Individually, sophomore Tre Roberson was supposed to be the latest dual-threat quarterback to emerge in the Big Ten, but he broke his leg in the second week of the season against Massachusetts. His injury gave way to sophomore QB Cameron Coffman, a predominantly pro-style passer who led Indiana's prolific scoring offense. The Hoosiers finished with four wins and were competitive in numerous other games. With how young the team was, the season can't be looked upon as anything other than a success.
What went wrong: Week in and week out, it was the Hoosiers' defense that consistently let the team down. The defensive line was porous despite the play of interior linemen Larry Black Jr. and Adam Replogle, who combined for 25 tackles for loss and nine sacks on the year. Indiana allowed a Big Ten-worst five yards per attempt and allowed 231 rushing yards per game, the 116th-worst mark in the country. For the Hoosiers, it came down to missed tackles. Dozens of plays were needlessly extended because of Indiana's inability to limit the ball carrier after first contact. It's no surprise that three of the Hoosiers' top five tacklers -- DB Greg Heban, S Mark Murphy, DB Brian Williams -- were in the secondary when their pass defense, ranked 56th (232 ypg), was respectable.
When it went wrong: Due to bowl bans for Ohio State and Penn State and the relative down year for the Leaders Division, Indiana actually had a significant game on Nov. 10 at home vs. Wisconsin, the third-to-last week of the season. Sitting at 2-3 in Big Ten play, the Hoosiers hosted Wisconsin, then 3-2 against conference opponents. If Indiana would've won, it would've had the inside track to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game. Instead, the Hoosiers got stomped by Wisconsin 62-14 as the Badgers scored seven rushing touchdowns and set a school-record with 564 rushing yards. Indiana would go on to lose its final two games at Penn State and Purdue.
Biggest overall disappointment: Roberson. It's really too bad he broke his leg early in September because of how electric he could've made this Hoosiers offense. As a freshman, he passed for 937 yards and rushed for 426 yards and he already had three rushing touchdowns in little more than five quarters this season. Next season he'll add another dimension to Wilson's offense and could potentially best be utilized in a hybrid role to add to the Hoosiers' deep pool of receivers.
Bright spot: Speaking of receivers, Cody Latimer (805 yards, six touchdowns), Shane Wynn (660, six TDs) and Kofi Hughes (639, three TDs) are all returning next season. Latimer, a sophomore this year, had a three-touchdown game against Iowa while Wynn, another sophomore, had two 12-catch games and set a career-high of 108 yards vs. Penn State. Also in that game, Coffman threw for 454 yards, the second-highest total in school history.
Running back Stephen Houston will be back in Bloomington to help balance the passing game, as well. Houston accounted for 16 touchdowns and set season highs of 158 rushing yards, three touchdowns and 95 yards receiving vs. Purdue.
2013 Outlook: The Hoosiers took significant strides this past season in developing their young talent. They'll lose Replogle and Black along the defensive line, though, meaning that stopping the run could be an even bigger issue next fall. Most encouraging, however, is that fans in Bloomington are beginning to take notice. In 2011, the average attendance for Indiana games was 41,380. In 2012, the Hoosiers jumped up to 44,802, an 8.2 percent increase, more than any other school in the Big Ten.
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