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Indiana loss shatters bowl hopes

Chris Ash might not have seen this coming.

His Scarlet Knights, traveling to Bloomington, Ind., with the slimmest of bowl chances still out there, were hammered by the Hoosiers.

"Obviously was disappointed in the game result on Saturday after the game," the coach told his regular weekly media conference Monday. "Didn't feel any better yesterday watching it. We didn't play very good. That's on me. We didn't coach good, we didn't play good and as the head coach, I take ownership of that and we didn't do what we needed to do, and win or lose just disappointed in how we lost.

"Started the game off poor. We went to a penalty on the opening kickoff. Penalty on a critical third down situation. Got a defensive stop and fumbled the punt. And then it was a touchdown. Then we had a mental error on a coverage, next drive, another touchdown, and before we could even blink we're down 14-0."

The 41-0 loss to a fellow 4-6 team dropped the Knights to 4-7 and all but officially eliminated from a bowl chance. They try again for a fifth win this week but it won't be easy Michigan State and its stingy defense coming to Piscataway as 12-point favorites.

"It's Senior Week. That's our focus," Ash said. "We have a great group of young men that are going to play their last football here at home. They have gone through a lot here. They have given a lot to the university and to the program. They have gone through a lot during their tenure here, and it's our responsibility to do everything we can to hopefully give these guys one last opportunity to celebrate together with their team and here in our stadium.

"Michigan State is a very good team. They have done a great job this year. They have got good players, good coaches, playing with a lot of confidence right now. They play good defense, play good special teams, they run the ball well on offense. It's a very good formula for success, and they have been able to do it this year and get back on track to the way Michigan State has been playing for quite some time."

It's never a good mix when a strong defense faces a weak offense (the second-worst in the country statistically) and Rutgers has a weak offense. The hope Janarion Grant would fully return from a broken ankle and be what he was before has never been realized.


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