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November 4, 2017

Tom Allen

Bloomington, Indiana

Wisconsin - 45, Indiana - 17

COACH ALLEN: I'd like to start by saying it's a simple football game, but if you play, it's about protecting the football and creating takeaways. And you saw -- you play a high-caliber team like Wisconsin, when you play them straight up and it's even on takeaways and it was an even situation. We fumbled the football, and they go in and score.

Late in the second half, we get a chance -- we get the ball on the ground; we think we recovered, but we didn't. They get the ball, they drive on that. It was a seven-point game at the time. We had a chance to get the fumble and we didn't. Later in the half we get another fumble down by seven. Again, we get those fumbles, changes everything. We throw two picks, they go down and they score.

To me, we played a great football team today, but when you're minus in the takeaway ratio you're not going to win. To me, that's what it came down to. We didn't run the football well enough. That's for sure. We didn't stop the run well enough, for sure. But for me, it was all about takeaways than anything, and that's all I've got to say about that.

Q. At the end of the first half, you had three timeouts left with about two minutes to go. What was your thinking there? Did you want to be --
COACH ALLEN: I wanted to protect the football because I understand how in the history of -- we were down by four and I felt like we obviously, when you talk about the time that's left there, we were on defense and they are going to punt the football, and they pinned us down, which I figured they would do.

So most of their kicks we were having to fair catch, so the bottom line was we were going to get the ball with about a minute or so to go, and I wasn't going to take the chance to turn the football over. At that point, it's totally me saying we're in a 4-point situation, I like where we are, and I didn't want to have a chance for them to get any momentum going into the half.

Q. After the Ellison fumble, what was the explanation from the official?
COACH ALLEN: The big thing was a whistle was blown. That became the issue, but apparently they said it wasn't blown. So that's all I was told. That's all I know.

Q. There was a flag after that, did they explain what that --
COACH ALLEN: They said somebody from our sideline was a little upset. So I wasn't even told who. So I don't know. But --

Q. How did you think Richard did?
COACH ALLEN: You know, he did some good things but he didn't protect the football. So that's really what it comes down to. But, yeah, he did some good things for sure. But it's about protecting the football. That's really -- it's just a huge, you can go back to all the stats -- gotta protect the football.

Q. How much do you think fatigue played a factor for your defense being out there so long?
COACH ALLEN: I'm sure it did. You know, they were kind of large, you know. So lean on your for a while, it takes its toll. And we're not very deep right now.

So but I thought our guys they fought. It just was they lean on you, they lean on you. They're just big, big men for sure, a lot of them. So that definitely took its toll.

Q. The schedule lightens up, even though it's still Big Ten football teams, these are not top 5 teams coming up, after four losses, how do you keep your team up, because it's a win-or-go-home for a bowl game at this point?
COACH ALLEN: It is. I think, you know, it's going to take a lot of leadership, both on the coaching staff and from our team, which I like the leadership on our team and I love our coaches.

So I feel good about us getting our guys in the right mindset. We just gotta physically get ourselves healed up so we can have a strong finish. But, yeah, it's definitely a tough mental battle that you find yourself in. But you know, that's really kind of -- as we have all experienced in life, sometimes life is not fair. Sometimes things happen, but you've got to learn to really fight through as a man, as a leader of your home.

So I think it's a great precursor to their future. So we're going to teach them about life. And I believe they're going to finish really well. And I think this team will be remembered as a team that played a very, very difficult schedule but finished well.

Q. What do you feel are three or four things you guys really need to do here to get the offense going in these final three games?
COACH ALLEN: First of all, you've got to run the football. And we have to be in the position where, if you can't just run it straight up, you've got to be able to set it up different ways. So wanted to be able to set it up from throwing the football to being able to run off the passing game, and wasn't able to get that done.

We had several sacks. That took away from some of our yards. But the ability to schematically run the football, and if they're going to overload the box, obviously make them pay in the perimeter. We just weren't able to take advantage of that.

The penalties were costly at times to kill some drives; but against a team like this, they're going to make running the ball tough. So you really have to throw it well, and we didn't throw it well enough, nor did we protect it when we were throwing it.

But to me that still goes back to turning the ball over. But we've got to run the football is to me number one. And number two, for us, is doing a better job of creating takeaways on defense. I keep saying it. At least we got the ball out today. Now we've got to come up with it.

So those things to me are going to be key factors in the next couple of weeks.


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