If you follow me or Indiana Football odds are that you have seen this video by now. If you follow Indiana football then odds are you also know Tom Allen is an emotional guy. Those emotions were on full display last Saturday night in Lincoln, Neb as the Indiana Hoosiers earned a watershed 38-31 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. A win over an iconic program in an iconic venue.
While the Hoosiers have been so close under Tom Allen, very close, they just couldn't seem to get over that hump. Eight times in Allen's two seasons Indiana has lost by a touchdown or less. And I'm talking about teams like Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State. But this past Saturday that all changed. With their "back-up" quarterback and a patched up offensive line the Hoosiers finished the deal and got the biggest win of the Allen era and the biggest win for the program in many years.
There have been plenty of occasions before a big game where I asked coach Allen what a win over a particular big name opponent would do for his program. After IU beat Nebraska I got to ask Coach Allen what a win like this does do for his program. I remember the pain on his face after losing to Michigan in overtime. That pain was replaced by a big smile last Saturday night.
He started off answering my question by saying the normal things you'd expect to hear, "it continues to build confidence and momentum in what we're doing", "it validates all the things", etc. Then he said "I'm gonna enjoy this one tonight, but once that's over all we're gonna focus on is Northwestern and that's it, I don't care about nothing else." He went on to say "I want a huge, huge crowd for this football team." Thinking about his players then took him to that Tom Allen emotional level. His fist pounding the lectern to match his words, "these kids have fought and fought and fought and fought." He could barely contain his emotions at this point - "I want our fans to come and support this football team."
Tom Allen has only been here for a few years, but he more than understands that Indiana has never enjoyed a "home field advantage." But the program under Allen is doing exactly what they set out to do and exactly what they said they would do....win! They've won three straight Big Ten games. They've won back to back conference road games. They are bowl eligible in October for the first time since 1993. None of Indiana's players were even born yet the last time that happened. Players that have come from Florida, Michigan and many other places to be a part of something special.
Now it's time for Indiana's fans to do something they haven't done much of over the years...show up! If Indiana fans want a football program they have to be a part of that. It's time to put the tired old excuses out to pasture. You have a beautiful stadium now, you have beer and wine now, and you have a winning football team now. It's time for the fans to be in the now too. And what a perfect time. This Saturday the Hoosiers look to go 7-2 against Northwestern in the first November night game in Memorial Stadium history. So, what's it gonna be Hoosier Nation? I have no personal vested interest in the attendance. But I've been around this program under Tom Allen and see what they are building and I know that for that to be sustained and continue to get better there simply has to be better fan support. So, here's you chance, what's it gonna be Hoosier Nation?