Indiana Postgame Notes vs. Northwestern
Oct. 24, 2009
Indiana Postgame Notes
This marks the sixth straight game in the IU-NU series that has come down to a single score. The last six games against the Wildcats have been decided by a total of 23 points.
Ray Fisher's 93-yard kickoff return for a TD in the second quarter was the senior's second KOR for a touchdown this year, joining a 91-yarder at Akron. It was the longest kickoff return by a Hoosier since Marcus Thigpen ran one back 98 yards against Illinois in 2006.
Fisher is also the second Hoosier, joining Thigpen (three in 2006), to have more than one kickoff return for a score in a single season.
With the 93-yard return and an 8-yarder just before the end of the game, Fisher moved into IU's top 10 in single-season kick return yards in school history. He now has 610 kick return yards on the season, placing him sixth on the Hoosiers' single-season list.
When Darius Willis rumbled 70 yards on IU's first play, it marked the first time that the Hoosiers have scored on the first play from scrimmage since Nov. 6, 2004, when Matt LoVecchio found Jahkeen Gilmore for an 80-yard TD at Illinois.
Willis' 70-yard run was his second TD run of 70 yards or more this season, joining an 85-yard run at Michigan. He is the second Hoosier in as many years to accomplish that feat, as Marcus Thigpen had TD runs of 78 and 77 yards in 2008.
The redshirt freshman finished with 103 yards on 14 carries for his second career 100-yard game (152 vs. Michigan). The Indianapolis native added two touchdowns for his second career two-score contest. He now has five rushing touchdowns on the year.
Fisher also posted a 35-yard punt return in the first quarter, the longest of the senior's career. Fisher's return gave IU the ball at the Northwestern 28, setting up a six-play touchdown drive that resulted in a 1-yard plunge for Chappell, his fifth career TD run and second of the year.
Ironically, Willis' quick strike run damaged Indiana's first quarter possession numbers this year. The Hoosiers had held the ball in the first quarter for 10:52 or more five times this season, and partially as a result of Willis' run, IU only had the ball for 9:22 in the opening stanza. Indiana has averaged 53.1 yards on the first drive on its six games.
Matt Mayberry had his seventh straight conference game with 10-plus tackles, finishing with 13 tackles against NU. He added two tackles for loss and also recorded his first career interception in the third quarter, picking off a Mike Kafka pass.
Austin Thomas added an interception later in the frame for his third interception of the season and the sixth of his career. Four of his six career picks have come against Northwestern, as he had two in last year's 21-19 win at Memorial Stadium and one at Northwestern in 2007. Thomas has 115 interception return yards on his three picks this year.
The Hoosiers finished with three picks in the game as Nick Polk added his first interception of the season and fourth of his career. IU now has nine interceptions on the year and 18 takeaways on the season.
With 16 completions in the game, Ben Chappell moved into ninth place on the Hoosiers' single-season list with 165.
The 28 points scored in the first half is the most by the Hoosiers since they put up 31 at Western Michigan on Sept. 8, 2007.
On the final play of the third quarter, Chappell rumbled for a 22-yard run, the longest of his career.
Tandon Doss hauled in six passes in the game to move his season total to 54, which ties him for eighth on the IU single-season list. He has led the Hoosiers in receptions in each game this year. His 40 receiving yards marked his fewest in a game this year.
Troy Wagner had two receptions for 23 yards in the game to match his career high - set last week against Illinois - in receptions.
Mitchell Evans took 12 snaps at quarterback - seven were rushes, one was a pass and four times he handed the ball off.
Indiana lost the coin toss for the fourth time this season and the third time on the road. Northwestern elected to defer, though, giving the Hoosiers the opening kickoff for the seventh time in eight games this year.
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