BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana's seniors went into this season with one major goal — earning a bowl bid.
There's no chance now.
When that dream officially ended Saturday night in a 42-14 loss at Ohio State, players inside the locker room reacted glumly to the sudden reality that their season would end this weekend against Purdue.
"It's definitely been hard to take," safety Greg Heban said Monday. "Once we realized we weren't going to make it to a bowl, it was hard. But we do have one more week together."
One more week to salvage something out of a season by bringing the Old Oaken Bucket back to Bloomington.
It's an annual rallying cry Hoosiers fans, and players, are sick of hearing. Over the last two decades, Indiana has been to the postseason only two times — the 1993 Independence Bowl and the 2007 Insight Bowl.
This year was supposed to be different.
For the first time in school history, the Hoosiers opened a season with five consecutive home games, each of which was considered winnable. They did not have to run the gauntlet that they will when division realignment takes place next season, and after beating Penn State for the first time in early October, those postseason plans seemed to be on track.
But the Hoosiers (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten) couldn't take advantage of their opportunity.
Instead, they lost three straight games and five of the next six, beating only struggling Illinois as they faded fast from postseason contention before being eliminated over the weekend.
All that's left now is Purdue.
"It's a little bittersweet," tight end Ted Bolser said, explaining how the Hoosiers are trying to turn the page so they can win their biggest game of the season. "We've been wanting to go a bowl game since I've been here and we've been planning to go since I've been here. It's definitely disappointing, but I think we (the seniors) have definitely helped the program."