The 2015 Indiana Hoosiers “What The Hell Was That?!?” Awards


Every year something that has seemingly never before happened occurs in Indiana athletics that makes you say to yourself “What the hell was that?!?”. In 2013 it was Tom Crean mouth-kissing his teenage son on national television in some sort of Big Ten version of “19 Kids and Counting”. In 2014 it was Yogi Ferrell inexplicably trying to use a fake ID to get into a bar in Bloomington, not taking into account the fact that he had the most recognizable face in Bloomington. This year, there were a few different occasions worthy of the “What the hell was that?!?” award. After sifting through all of the possibilities, I have narrowed it down to a list of four finalists, because the conventional third, second, first place rating system just doesn’t make sense for this award. Some of the entries involve current Indiana athletes, while others include graduates of IU. The only requirement for entry is that they at some point attended Indiana University. The countdown from 4th place to 1st place starts now.

4th Place – Schwarber Breaks the Sound Barrier

October 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber (12) hits a solo home run in the seventh inning against St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the NLDS at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Allow me to set the scene: the Chicago Cubs were playing in their first playoff series since 2008 against their biggest rival, the St. Louis Cardinals. It was game 4 at Wrigley Field, and the Cubs were leading the series 2-1, and looking to close out the series at home to avoid playing a dreaded game 5 at Busch Stadium. With the Cubs up only a run in the seventh inning, they were looking for insurance. In steps former Indiana Hoosier Kyle Schwarber. After battling to a 1-1 count, Schwarber found his pitch from lefthander Kevin Siegrist. Swinging with the power of 1000 men, Schwarber turned on the fastball right down the middle and hit it roughly 1,347 feet down the right field line, giving the Cubs a two run lead. The fan that caught the ball, Commander Scott Kelly aboard the International Space Station 249 miles away, was reportedly excited and surprised to get the ball, as he had never caught a homerun ball before. In all seriousness, Schwarber hit the ball an astounding 419 feet and brought a nation of Cubs fans to their feet. It was truly one of those moments that made your jaw drop whether you were watching it in a bar with a hundred of your closest friends, or by yourself in the comfort of your own home. It is important to note that this is the only positive “What the hell was that?!?” moment in the countdown, as far as IU athletes are concerned.

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3rd Place – The Snap Heard Round the World

In 2015, the Indiana Hoosiers football program marched to a 4-0 record for the first time since 1990. Although they had some close calls against lesser programs like Southern Illinois and Wake Forest, the Hoosiers were still undefeated going into their week 5 matchup against the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes. Many believed that the Hoosiers would get blown out at home, but the game remained close late into the fourth quarter. Down 34-27, facing a 4th and goal from the 9-yard line with 9 seconds left on the clock, the Hoosiers were looking for a game tying score against a team that hadn’t lost in over a year. Backup QB Zander Diamont had been on fire all day since replacing starter Nate Sudfeld, and was looking to cement his place in Indiana Football history. After burning their final timeout, the Hoosiers had the perfect play drawn up to knot the game up at 34. However, Indiana center Jake Reed had other ideas. Instead of snapping the ball to Diamont, Reed decided to launch the ball over his head, forcing Diamont to scramble back to the 30 yard line before tossing up a prayer into the back of the end zone, which ultimately fell gracefully to the ground. It was a play that spawned a thousand curse words through the streets of Bloomington, and left every Hoosier fan saying, “What the hell was that?!?”

2nd Place – Blue Devil Disaster

Dec 2, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Yogi Ferrell (11) drives to the basket against Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen (3) and forward Amile Jefferson (21) in their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015-16 Indiana basketball team was supposed to be a return to hard-court glory. While there is still more than half of the season to go, the product that Hoosier fans have seen thus far has not been worthy of the preseason #14 ranking. There is no better example of this letdown than the Hoosiers’ matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium against the #7 Duke Blue Devils. At the beginning of the season, every expert circled this game and anointed it as the most important game of Indiana’s non-conference schedule. This would be the game that the Hoosiers would prove what they were made of, and finally show the nation that they once again meant business. Boy, was everyone wrong. After building a 51-42 halftime lead, the Blue Devils started to pour it on. With a little under 12 minutes remaining in the game, Duke had carved out a 20-point lead, and I was considering calling the police to report the horrific crimes I was seeing on the television. The closest comparison I could think of to watching this game would be if the Michael Jordan-led Space Jam Tune Squad played the Monstars AFTER the Monstars gave back their NBA talent. This was a blowout of epic proportions, and sent Indiana basketball back to square one, leaving everyone to say “What the hell was that?!?”

1st Place – The Revenge Game that Wasn’t

Dec 26, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Indiana Hoosiers place kicker Griffin Oakes (92) reacts following his field goal being ruled no good against the Duke Blue Devils in overtime in the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. The Blue Devils won 44-41 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The winner of the 2015 “What the hell was that?!?” award just so happened to occur in the most recent Indiana athletic event. Just a few days ago, the Hoosiers played in their first bowl game in eight years against the dreaded Duke Blue Devils. Neither school had won a bowl game in the lifetime of any of the players on the field (Good Vibrations by Marky Mark aka Mark Wahlberg was a #1 hit last time IU won a bowl game), so it was safe to say that both teams were desperate for a victory. After a back and forth game that saw IU defensive coordinator Brian Knorr break down into tears mid-game (this isn’t confirmed, but after the Hoosiers defensive showing one can only assume this happened), the contest headed to overtime tied 41-41. The Blue Devils got the ball first, and the Hoosier defense somehow held them to only a field goal. Down 44-41, the Indiana offense took the field and couldn’t do much, forcing kicker Griffin Oakes to make a 38-yard field goal to send the game into a second overtime. Oakes had hit two of three on the day, missing a 56 yarder to win it as regulation time expired, possibly due to holder Eric Toth having the laces face in instead of out (somewhere, Ray Finkle shakes his head in disgust). Even so, Oakes lined up for the game-tier. After a perfect hold, Oakes launched it somewhat right and high above the goal posts. In fact, it was kicked so high that it went over the goal posts, which left the referees to guess whether it went through the goal posts. The two referees in the end zone ruled it no good, and immediately ran off the field. No review, no consultation, no nothing. Duke players rushed the field in celebration as Griffin Oakes ran around the field with his helmet off, looking for an explanation from anyone, sure that he had made the game tying field goal. Indiana athletics had not seen this much confusion since the 2013 basketball season, which was the last time Tom Crean called a timeout to try to draw up a mid-game play. At the very least, every single Hoosier fan was left saying, “What THE HELL was that?!?”.