INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Wilson learned long ago that every card he draws can be a winner — if he uses the right play.
So the Indiana coach has spent this week putting on his poker face and getting ready to go all-in against the Hoosiers' old nemesis, No. 8 Ohio State.
"Sometimes you're bluffing, sometimes you got a good hand," he said. "You got to play your cards. ... But if you cut all of the window dressing out, there's fundamentals and basics that win, and that's what they do at Ohio State, and that's what we're trying to get done here."
There's little doubt Wilson's Hoosiers have been more competitive this season.
By winning the first two games, Indiana has already surpassed its 2011 victory total. Beating Massachusetts gave Wilson his first career win over a Bowl Subdivision opponent. The Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2) rallied from a 27-0 third-quarter deficit and nearly upset Northwestern on the road two weeks ago, and last week, Michigan State needed two fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull out a come-from-behind victory.
What hasn't changed, so far, is the result.
Indiana is now 0-10 in Wilson's tenure against Big Ten foes, the Hoosiers have lost 20 consecutive games against league schools from outside Indiana and Ohio State has won all but three games (two losses, one tie) against the Hoosiers since 1952.
With that kind of a scorecard, it's no wonder Wilson & Co. are looking for something, anything, to swing the odds in their favor this weekend.
Wilson's normal ploy is to speed up the game to a breakneck pace, something that helped make Oklahoma a perennial national championship contender, and a tactic he believes will turn things around in Bloomington.
Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer likes the style so much he's taken a page right out of Wilson's playbook.
"I've always loved his coaching," Meyer said. "(Offensive coordinator) Tom Herrmann and I were talking about him today, Kevin Wilson, and we've stolen a lot of stuff. He's an innovator."
The once old-school Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0) are the highest-ranked team in the conference and the only remaining unbeaten Big Ten team. They're suddenly scoring 38.5 points per game, are ranked No. 3 in the league in total offense (431.5 yards), just scored 63 points against Nebraska and have one of the nation's top Heisman Trophy candidates in quarterback Braxton Miller.