Iowa looking for payback from Indiana
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Of all the emotions Indiana has inspired over the years, vengeance isn’t very high on the list.
Try telling that to Iowa.
Last season the Hawkeyes — then ranked 15th in the country — squandered a 14-point lead and fell at Indiana 31-28. The victory sent long-suffering Hoosiers fans streaming onto the field to celebrate one of the program’s biggest wins in nearly 20 years.
For Iowa, the loss started a slide that has continued through this season. The Hawkeyes (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) are just 3-7 since then, including two straight road losses by a combined six points.
Iowa will get another crack at Indiana (3-1, 0-1) on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes have won three of their last four in the series, but that one defeat still sticks in their craw.
"They were pretty much the start of our downfall. We feel like we owe these guys," said Iowa running back Albert Young. "This is a big game. We’re coming off of two losses, and we want to get back in the win column."
To do that, Iowa will have to keep Indiana’s star wide receiver, 6-foot-7 junior James Hardy, from breaking free for big gains. As the Hawkeyes have found out in each of the last two meetings, that’s easier said than done.
As a freshman in 2005, he caught 12 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown. Last season Hardy lit up the Hawkeyes for three touchdowns, including the game winner in the fourth quarter.
Hardy has been Indiana’s best receiving threat through four games, averaging 17.9 yards a catch and six touchdowns. Iowa’s pass defense has been one of the strongest in the nation through four games.