Entering this game FBS teams were 0-471 when trailing by at least 13 points in the final 5 minutes this season.
After a rocky first half, the Hoosiers put together an impressive 3rd quarter and led 22-9 with 4:21 left in the game. A one-yard touchdown run by Tennessee’s Quavaris Crouch pulled the Volunteers within 6. Tennessee used the momentum from their score to come back with an onside kick, which took Indiana by surprise. The ball bounced the exact ten yards that it needed to, and Tennessee once again had the ball and good field position. They went right down the field with little resistance to score and take a 1-point lead with 3:51 to play.
The Hoosiers got the ball back with the chance to take the lead late in the game. Indiana quickly got into field goal range before the drive stalled with a 2:12 to play. Logan Justus, who besides missing an extra point had been perfect on the day, lined up for a 52-yard field goal to take the lead. The kick missed just to the right.
There wasn’t a lot of time left and Indiana only had one timeout. They were able to force a three-and-out and get the ball back with about a minute left in the game. Again, the Hoosiers moved quickly down the field giving them a shot, but once again the drive stalled. This time they were just out of field goal range. Indiana had a 4th and 10 with less than 20 seconds to play. Getting the first down would have likely put them in field goal range and there would have been just enough time for Justus to rush on the field for another shot at a game winning field goal. But Peyton Ramsey’s throw towards the sideline fell several yards short of the intended receiver ending the game.
The drought continues for the Hoosiers. They still haven’t won a bowl since the 1991 Copper Bowl, but the future looks bright for Indiana. They will return a lot of their starters, including Michael Penix Jr. who will likely be back under center after missing the bowl game and a lot of the season with injuries. They will need to replace offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer, who is taking the head coaching job at Fresno State.