BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana keeps getting close.
A three-point loss to Ohio State. Last-possession losses to Michigan State and Navy. Coach Kevin Wilson knows that's not good enough. He says the Hoosiers (2-5, 0-3 Big Ten) must get over the hump and it boils down, sometimes, to a single play.
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Big Ten losing streaksWith Indiana facing Illinois on Saturday, one Big Ten losing streak figures to end. The Hoosiers have lost 12 straight conference games, and Illinois has lost 9 straight.
Their last Big Ten win was Oct. 8, 2011, when they beat Indiana 41-20 in Bloomington, Ind.
10/15/11: vs. Ohio State, Lost 17-7
10/22/11: at Purdue, Lost 21-14
10/29/11: at Penn State, Lost 10-7
11/12/11: vs. Michigan, Lost 31-14
11/19/11: vs. Wisconsin, Lost 28-17
11/26/11: at Minnesota, Lost 27-7
09/29/12: vs. Penn State, Lost 35-7
10/06/12: at Wisconsin, Lost 31-14
10/13/12: at Michigan, Lost 45-0
10/27:12: vs. Indiana
Their last Big Ten win was Nov. 27, 2010, when they beat Purdue 34-31 (OT) in West Lafayette, Ind.
11/27/10: at Purdue, Won 34-31 (OT)
10/01/11: vs. Penn State, Lost 16-10
10/08/11: vs. Illinois, Lost 41-20
10/15/11: at Wisconsin, Lost 59-7
10/22/11: at Iowa, Lost 45-24
10/29/11: vs. Northwestern, Lost 59-38
11/05/11: at Ohio State, Lost 34-20
11/19/11: at Michigan St., Lost 55-3
11/26/11: vs. Purdue, Lost 33-25
09/29/12: at Northwestern, Lost 44-29
10/06/12: vs. Michigan St., Lost 31-27
10/13/12: vs. Ohio State, Lost 52-49
10/20/12: at Navy, Lost 31-30
10/27:12: at Illinois
Source: Big Ten
"We are in position where in our time we have went from having significant plays, to being able to win games, to now it's a play," Wilson said Tuesday.
"Players don't win and lose and coaches don't win and lose. We all win and lose," Wilson said. "And right now we are all collectively short. It's just where we are. We don't like it, we're not mad about it, we're not negative. We are going to keep pushing until we get there."
The Hoosiers' next opportunity to get over the hump will be at Illinois (2-5, 0-3) Saturday. Both teams are searching for their first Big Ten win. The Illini have lost their three conference games to Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan by a combined score of 111-21.
After starting the season 2-0, the Hoosiers have dropped five straight. Yet despite three consecutive losses by a combined eight points, the Hoosiers are somehow upbeat. Quarterback Cameron Coffman said the team knows they are close.
"I think we are very close but it's frustrating because we've been saying that for a while now," Coffman said. "We just got to keep working on it every day and it's going to happen. We can't just lose hope and we've got to keep coming to practice every day with a winning mentality and get better every day. We can't lose hope and start going back down to where we were."
Running back Stephen Houston agreed.
"It's just that one play whether it's on offense, defense or special teams," he said. "It comes down to one play. That's what we emphasize on. We want to be that person to make that play individually but with the team effort."
With Indiana trailing Navy 31-30 late and driving last Saturday, Coffman threw his second interception of the day to seal the loss. The sophomore quarterback realizes where some of the team's improvement needs to happen.
"We had a few miscommunications throughout the game and obviously a few there late," Coffman said. "To be honest, it doesn't really matter whose fault it was. We just got to get it cleaned up. The fact is we didn't get the job done."
Indiana's struggles this season have not included putting points on the scoreboard.
Coffman, since replacing starting quarterback Tre Roberson who broke his leg six games ago, has thrown for 1,320 yards while completing 63.6 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns and three interceptions.
For the first time in school history, the Hoosiers have scored at least 24 points in seven straight games.
But the points don't always result in wins.
"Different games, we've done different things well as far as tempo or maybe one game we run it well or one game we'll pass it well," Coffman said. "We've just got to put it all together for 60 minutes and I think we'll be OK."
Houston has been one of the wheels that have made the Indiana offense roll, scoring in each game this season.
"I felt I've had a decent season," said Houston, who has seven rushing and two receiving touchdowns. "It could have been better but I'm just looking forward to trying to make my season better and it end it out on the right note."