Indiana Knocks Off Akron 38-21
Sept. 19, 2009
AKRON, Ohio (AP)--Ben Chappell threw two touchdown passes and Ray Fisher returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a score in Indiana's 38-21 victory against Akron on Saturday. The Hoosiers had four second-half interceptions, two by Austin Thomas, and scored 14 points off their quartet of takeaways.
Chappell connected with junior Mitchell Evans and redshirt sophomore Max Dedmond for his two scores. The Hoosiers also got into the end zone on the ground as senior Trea Burgess and redshirt freshman Darius Willis crossed the goal line en route to career days. Burgess finished with 59 yards and Willis had 66. Willis' fourth-quarter TD marked his first career trip into the end zone for the Hoosiers.
For Thomas, it was his second career game with two picks, matching his mark set against Northwestern last year, and the Hoosiers' defense held the Zips to 271 yards of total offense and just 152 prior to Akron's final two drives once the game was no longer in doubt. Junior Tyler Replogle and sophomore Andre LaGrone also picked off Akron quarterback Matt Rodgers.
The Hoosiers are 3-0 for the third time in the last five years and the 13th time in school history. IU is now 2-0 against the Zips all-time, their only other meeting a 41-24 Hoosier victory in 2007. The Hoosiers moved to 34-6-1 all-time against Mid-American Conference opponents.
Fisher got the Hoosiers off to a fast start, becoming the first player in Indiana football history to return the opening kick for a score. After forcing an Akron three-and-out, Indiana unleashed a 13-play, 61-yard drive that ate up 5:03, ending in a Nick Freeland field goal that gave the Hoosiers a 10-0 lead.
But Akron bounced back with a 49-yard TD pass from Rodgers to Deryn Bowser to trim the lead to 10-7. Later in the second quarter, with the Hoosiers punting from deep in their own end, Jalil Carter blocked a Chris Hagerup punt and Aaron Williams recovered it in the end zone to put the Zips up 14-10, marking the first time in 2009 that Indiana has trailed.
The Hoosiers responded, though, putting together a 12-play, 77-yard drive just before the end of the half that culminated with a 10-yard TD pass from Chappell to Evans to send IU into the locker room with a 17-14 lead. Indiana converted three third-and-short situations on the drive, as IU went 10-for-15 on third down and 7-for-7 on third-and-1 and third-and-2 in the game.
After their first drive of the second half resulted in a fumble, the Hoosiers began their next three drives in Akron territory - twice inside the 20 thanks to Thomas' two picks and 77 return yards. IU wrapped up their scoring with a 67-yard drive that featured 41 rushing yards and two third-down completions from Chappell to make it 38-14. The Zips finished off the scoring with 35 seconds to play on a nine-yard rush by Rodgers.
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