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Rested Hoosiers prep for No. 10 Iowa

HAWKEYE FOOTBALL: At Indiana Sat urday , 2:30 p.m. start


Rested Hoosiers prep for No. 10 Iowa

Indiana fighting for bowl game eligibility in final 4 games

The Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.— After opening the season with four straight wins and then losing four games in a row, Indiana’s bye couldn’t have come at a better time. With a game against unbeaten Iowa looming on Saturday, the refreshed Hoosiers are again trying to change directions.

Four games remain in the regular season – No. 10 Iowa and No. 16 Michigan at home, followed by Maryland and Purdue on the road. Somehow, Indiana (4-4, 0-4 Big Ten) needs to find a way to win at least two games to get bowl eligible.

That from a team that is 5-23 in November games the past seven seasons. The game against Iowa (8-0, 4-0) marks the third time in the last five games that Indiana has faced a top 10 opponent. Indiana lost 34-27 to No. 1 Ohio State and 52-26 to No. 7 Michigan State.

Senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld said the bye week allowed his team to get recommitted to becoming bowl eligible for just the second time since 1994.

“I just think the hunger is back,” Sudfeld said. “We’re kind of forgetting the disappointments and forgetting the successes we’ve had and kind of just going each week now one at a time. We know how good of a team we are. We didn’t feel like we were out of any of the games that we played in and we’ve played against some of the best teams in the country. We feel like we’re toe-to-toe with those guys and we’re excited to go out these next four weeks.”

Sudfeld was able to rest a sprained ankle suffered in the Wake Forest game Sept. 26. And Jordan Howard, who has gained 787 yards in the six games he has played this season, had a full week to rest his sprained ankle injury suffered against Ohio State on Oct. 3. That injury cost Howard the Penn State and Rutgers games but he returned to play Michigan State the week before the bye.

Howard had 78 yards on 11 carries in that game.

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said Howard showed no signs last week that the ankle was bothering him.

“He practiced every day with no setbacks,” Wilson said. “So, he’s the best he’s been. Now is he as good as before he got hurt? I guess that’s judgmental, subjective, his opinion. But he came out of the last game with no setbacks and looked good (Sunday) night. “

Sudfeld said he thought his teammates showed a strong sense of urgency in practice Sunday night. He hopes it carries over to this week.

“I thought it was the most energy we’ve had for a long time,” Sudfeld said. “The defense was flying around and hitting guys, and the offense was making competitive plays. I was excited about how we looked. There was still a little bit of rust which is what you’d expect after a few days off but we were kind of getting back into the flow of things and now I expect to hit the ground running this week.”

By Terry Hutchens

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