Indiana opened its 35-22 win over Idaho in a torrential downpour. Ponchos and rain jackets of assorted colors covered the normally crimson-clad stands, as the Hoosier faithful tried their best to stay dry in the midst of unbearable rain.
While rain jackets covered the seats of the fans who toughed out the weather, empty seats covered the rest of Memorial Stadium – including an uncharacteristically sparse crowd in the student section. While they had a strong showing last week against Illinois, an FCS opponent, delayed kickoff and inclement weather kept many of them away on Saturday night.
Indiana went down 10-0 heading into halftime, a scoreline that stunned the home crowd. While some decided to head for the exits at the midway point – already a common practice for many students at home games and something head coach Tom Allen said needs to change earlier in the week – others decided to stick it out until the end.
There's a lot of rain, but that's not keeping the fans away. pic.twitter.com/914okbjMsk
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) September 11, 2022
As halftime drew to a close, sophomore Nate Rust, draping a soaked, white IU t-shirt around his neck, grabbed a soft pretzel and a soda as he went back to his seats to cheer the Hoosiers on to a comeback.
For him, neither an on-field product that he said “needs improvement” nor a rainy forecast would send him home. He stayed partially for friends, and partially for food.
“All of my friends are still here,” Rust said. “And I got some food, so we’re enjoying it.”
For other students who stuck around the waterlogged stands of The Rock, it was less for social reasons and more for a love of the game and for the team.
Sophomore Daniel Keller sat alone in the front row of Section 19 for the entirety of the second half, wearing a bright red throwback Antwaan Randle El jersey. While Keller has been going to IU games since he was eight years old, his college friends don’t partake.
Keller mentioned sitting through IU losses to Bowling Green in 2014 and Navy in 2013 – the longtime die-hard said that despite the lackluster first half showing for the Hoosiers, he had been through worse, and that leaving was never an option.
“I don’t blame my friends, they grew up out of state, they’ve been here for one year, they don’t understand,” Keller said. “You’ve gotta enjoy this. [IU football] is not easy, it’s not for the faint of heart.”
While Keller had been through all of the ups and downs the Hoosiers have seen in the last decade, freshman Harry Kilman decided to stay until the final whistle in his second home game as a student.
“I paid the money, I might as well stick it out,” Kilman said. “Even if we’re losing, I’m just here to watch some football, whether it’s good or bad. Football is football, so I’ll stick around, but it has not been quality football.”
Next week, Indiana will host Western Kentucky at 12 P.M. at Memorial Stadium, the team’s first afternoon kickoff of the season.
And unlike Saturday night’s win over Idaho, clear skies, sunlight and warm temperatures are expected next week – a piece of news that will likely come as a relief for IU fans, particularly those who stuck it out for all four quarters of the team’s second win of the season.
Keller certainly will be among the crowd once again next week.
“Except for a couple games, the environment wasn’t always great last year, I get why some people don’t come to games,” Keller said. “But I love it. It’s awesome. There’s nothing I’d rather do.”
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