Desperate times call for desperate measures. This week, Nebraska head coach Scott Frost allowed his team to come out wearing black jerseys with the idea it would fire up his team to get a big win at home. Maybe next time they’ll wear some other color, because the black jerseys did nothing on Saturday as Indiana left Lincoln, Nebraska with a 38-31 victory. But even more than that, Indiana has officially clinched bowl eligibility before the month of November and has a chance to clinch its first winning season since 2007 with a full month of games to play.
For Tom Allen, getting to bowl eligibility has been an elusive goal the past couple of seasons. After back-to-back 5-7 seasons, Indiana has finally gotten back over the hump and it won’t have to come down to the final week of the regular season. An emotional Allen after the game reflected on how hard his team has worked to get to this point, and hinted at some tough situations nobody outside the program was aware of.
Peyton Ramsey passed for 351 yards and two touchdowns in the winning effort for the Hoosiers. Whop Philyor was on the receiving end for 178 of those yards on 14 receptions. The defense was not required in this game, although Indiana did force two Nebraska turnovers. Both teams combined for 969 yards of total offense, both teams were converting on about half of their third-down tries to extend drives. A 15-3 scoring advantage in the third quarter flipped the game in Indiana’s favor as they were able to hold off Nebraska.
Indiana’s last winning season came in 2007 with a 7-6 record. Although Indiana went to bowl games in 2015 and 2016, the Hoosiers ended the year with bowl losses and 6-7 final records. Indiana has not won a bowl game since the 1991 season with a Copper Bowl victory over Baylor.
While Indiana already has bowl eligibility locked up with four games remaining in November, Nebraska is now in need of two more wins with time beginning to run out. Nebraska will try to get one win closer to bowl eligibility next week on the road against Purdue. The Huskers have their two toughest games remaining at home, against Wisconsin on Nov. 16 and against Iowa on Nov. 29. It’s possible Nebraska’s bowl hopes will have to be satisfied on the road (at Purdue and at Maryland on Nov. 23).
Nebraska has not missed a bowl season in three consecutive seasons since a stretch from 1955 through 1961.