Hoosiers Take Down Akron, 41-24
Sept. 15, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Kellen Lewis ran for a career-high 199 yards and passed for 137 as the sophomore accounted for five scores in Indiana's 41-24 victory over Akron on Saturday. The Hoosiers, who moved to 3-0 with the win, rushed for 338 total yards, the most since IU ran for 489 at Michigan State on Nov. 10, 2001.
Lewis' 199 rushing yards were the third-most for an IU quarterback and the most since Antwaan Randle El ran for 209 against Illinois on Nov. 4, 2000. His previous career-best was a 103-yard game in last year's season finale at Purdue.
James Hardy caught four passes for 65 yards in the game, and his fourth-quarter TD reception was his fifth of the year and the 25th of his career. Hardy moved into fifth place in IU history in both receiving yards (1,860) and receptions (122).
The IU defense held Akron to 120 yards rushing on 41 carries, and posted four sacks for a total of 39 yards lost. Greg Middleton had two more sacks for the Hoosiers, moving his team-high total to five on the year.Tracy Porter led IU with eight tackles and posted his 11th career interception in the fourth quarter. The Hoosiers now have 17 team sacks on the season, three more than they had all of last year.
The Hoosiers had a short field to work with on their first drive after Will Patterson recovered an Akron fumble at the Zip 35. On third and 10, Lewis found Hardy for a 17-yard gain to move IU into the red zone. Four plays later, Austin Starr banged home a 30-yard field goal to give the Hoosiers a 3-0 lead. Indiana has scored on its first drive in all three games this year.
After the IU defense forced a three-and-out, the Hoosiers took possession at their own 31. On the first play of the drive, Lewis faked a handoff to Marcus Thigpen and rolled off a career-long 64-yard run down the right sideline to put the Hoosiers inside the five. On fourth and goal, Lewis used a play-action fake and found Josiah Sears for a one-yard score in the near corner. It marked Sears' third touchdown in three games and gave the Hoosiers a 10-0 lead.
The Zips got on the board early in the second quarter with a 20-yard field goal by Igor Iveljic with 12:55 to play in the half. The visitors put together a seven-play, 74-yard drive, but were stalled by the Hoosier defense, which stopped Akron on consecutive plays inside the five to force the Zips to settle for a field goal.
Indiana was driving again later in the half, but a pass breakup on the goal line gave the Zips' Andre Jones an interception in the end zone. Akron brought in Carlton Jackson at quarterback and put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in a three-yard run by Jackson at the 7:18 mark to knot the game at 10-10.
The Zips made it three straight scores on a 21-yard TD pass from Jackson to Kris Kasparek on an inside post route. That finished a seven-play, 70-yard drive that took just 2:21 off the clock. Jabari Arthur came through with the drive's key play, a 28-yard reception on first-and-10 from the IU 49 that immediately preceded the TD strike.
The Hoosiers tied the score again with 1:20 to go in the half. Ray Fisher picked up his first career TD grab on a wide receiver screen that he broke wide open for a 24-yard score. A 19-yard run by Lewis and a pass interference call on the Zips emerged as the drive's key plays for the Hoosiers.
Indiana regained the lead on a 21-yard field goal by Starr less than five minutes into the second half. The Hoosiers got the ball at their own 23, and Thigpen started things with a seven-yard run. The junior running back then rumbled for a career-long 59-yard run down the left sideline to give the Hoosiers the ball inside the five. Four plays later, Starr's second field goal of the game made the score 20-17.
The Hoosiers scored again on their next possession, with Lewis engineering a 14-play, 81-yard drive that ate up 5:21 of clock time. Lewis had seven rushes for 53 yards on the drive, including his second rushing touchdown of the year, a three-yard dive in the middle of the field. Lewis also went 4-for-4 on the drive, including a 26-yard completion to Hardy on third-and-14 from the IU 29.
Akron rebounded on its first possession of the fourth quarter, as Jackson led the Zips on an 80-yard drive that took just seven plays. Jackson found Bryan Williams on a pass out of the backfield that covered 27 yards to move into IU territory. Two plays later, Jackson found Arthur on a deep slant for a 26-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 27-24 with 9:36 to play.
Lewis and the Hoosiers struck again on the quarterback's second TD run of the game, this one a 17-yarder that finished off a seven-play, 74-yard drive for IU that made the score 34-24. A pair of pass interference calls and 40 yards on the ground made up the bulk of the drive for Indiana. The Hoosiers added Hardy's 21-yard score with 2:43 to play to ice the victory.
Indiana is back in action next Saturday, when it plays host to Illinois. The Hoosiers and Fighting Illini will square off at noon EDT at Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
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