IU coach Bill Lynch said he hasn't discussed Saturday's Penn State's game as a "must-win." The Hoosiers have a 4-6 record and need to win their two remaining games to become bowl eligible.
"There are three categories I really talk about - turnover margin, big plays and third-down conversion. I think these are important at every level of football, but certainly here. When we have won two of the three categories, we have won the football game. When we have lost two of the three categories, we have lost the game. When you talk about a break going against you, in reality, we have to win two of those three categories.
"One of the things we thought we had to do against Wisconsin was get big plays. Against a really good team like Wisconsin, it is difficult to drive the ball down the field. Well, we had five big plays we got out of our wide receivers, which put us in a position to win the game. In turnover margin, we lost by one. Fortunately, both turnovers were at the other end of the field so we did not give Wisconsin great field position, but they were turnovers that cost us scoring opportunities. The third-down conversions is the category that has probably hurt us the most throughout the year. It hurt us again on Saturday. If you really get down to it, we have to convert. So many games have come down to getting a first down, then maybe we keep the ball and run the clock or we put in ourselves to score a touchdown and not kick a field goal. The other side of the argument is if we can just get a stop and get the other team off the field, we have a chance. That is a fundamental execution part of the game we have to improve.
"That's what our concentration is, not 'This is a must-win.' I am more worried about how we are going to execute on third downs. It may not be the quarterback hitting the receiver or the receiver getting open, but it may be a player up front who could pass block better or if it's third-and-one, we have to block better. Another example on defense is that we hit the right gap when we are blitzing. That is what we are going to go out and do in practice today and stay away from the idea of a must-win."