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Indiana Drops To No. 12 After Loss To Ohio State

Indiana wide receiver Ty Fryfogle catches a 63-yard touchdown pass against Ohio State Saturday.

Indiana wide receiver Ty Fryfogle catches a 63-yard touchdown pass against Ohio State Saturday. (Indiana Athletics)

There was a Tweet of praise from LeBron James and acknowledgment from sports personalities across the nation.

The Indiana football team was mentioned on ABC World News Tonight and by FOX’s top NFL broadcast team during Sunday’s game.

The Hoosiers have become the feel-good college football story.

But for coach Tom Allen and the Hoosiers, there was little solace from a 42-35 loss to No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday.

It was the team’s first loss of the year and dropped it from No. 9 to No. 12 in the nation, still rarified air for a program that until last season had gone 25 years without even being ranked in the top 25.

“The bottom line is that we're still on that quest for four quarters of our best football,” head coach Tom Allen said Monday. “It hasn't happened yet. And it's going to happen, and our goal is it happens on Saturday against Maryland.”

Still, being noticed on a national stage means that the program is headed where Allen wants it to be.

A slow start and a non-existent running game led to a three-touchdown deficit to the Buckeyes at the half Saturday. But behind quarterback Michael Penix, wide receiver Ty Fryfogle and a resilient defense, the Hoosiers rallied in the second half. Twice they had the ball late trailing by one score before falling short.

Penix threw for 491 yards – the second-most yards in school history – and five touchdowns, and Fryfogle became the first Big Ten wide receiver in history to have back-to-back 200-plus yard receiving games. For that, Fryfogle earned the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Week award for the second straight week.

“I think what people saw was they saw toughness, they saw a resiliency, they saw grit, they saw character,” Allen said. “And I said at halftime, I mean, I didn't know what's gonna happen in second half, but I knew what I expected to happen.

“But I think the country saw this football team has all those things I just stated. And those are the core fiber of who we are - accountability, toughness and love. And it's all branded in ‘LEO.’”

LEO is IU’s Love Each Other mantra.

Now 4-1, the Hoosiers look to get back on the winning track.

“It’s really about going back to your foundation, going back to the core principles of what you believe, of how you got to this point, you know, as a player and as a program as a coach, and stay true to that,” Allen said. “And, to me, even though we did not accomplish our goal on Saturday, that doesn't alter the process that we go through to recreate what we want on game day, which is a win.” 

Next up is a Maryland team that hasn’t played in two weeks because of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among its players and staff, including head coach Mike Locksley, that forced the cancellation of games against Ohio State and Michigan State.

But the 2-1 Terrapins resumed practice Monday for the first time in two weeks and are on track to restart their season.

“Coach Locks and I have stayed in constant communication and he’s feeling good,” Maryland athletic director Damon Evans said. “He is expected to take part in this week’s practices in a virtual fashion, then travel with the team to Indiana on Friday and coach the Terrapins this Saturday.”

Saturday’s game is scheduled for a noon kick-off at Memorial Stadium.

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