Indiana Falls Short in Loss at Wisconsin
Oct. 27, 2007
MADISON, Wis. (AP)- - Backup Lance Smith ran for two touchdowns after P.J. Hill left with an injury, helping Wisconsin to a 33-3 victory Saturday over Indiana and extending the Badgers' home winning streak to 13 games.
Hill, the nation's ninth-leading rusher at 126.1 yards per game, scored a touchdown and ran for 57 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game in the first quarter. The team said he had a "lower-leg injury."
Smith picked up the slack with 79 yards on 15 carries, scoring twice in the second half to put the game out of reach.
Wisconsin (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) was determined not to let Indiana run its explosive spread offense, and the Hoosiers had their worst output of the season after coming in averaging 35.4 points.
Indiana, a loser of three straight games, is trying to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1994.
Indiana (5-4, 2-4) appeared to finally get a break in the third quarter while trailing 17-3 when Marcus Thigpen got around end for an 84-yard touchdown run, but wide receiver James Hardy was flagged for holding.
Hardy, Indiana's all-time leader in TD catches with 31, immediately began pleading his case to the officials, while Thigpen got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his meaningless celebration in the end zone.
Indiana, instead of trailing 17-10, ended up back on its own 12 and punted two plays later.
Smith then scored on the ensuing possession on a 6-yard run to make it 24-3 and added a 19-yard touchdown with 2:07 left to cap scoring.
Wisconsin, which had the ball nearly 11 minutes more than Indiana, improved to 36-1 since 1998 when holding an advantage of at least 9 minutes.
The Badgers, who had 279 yards rushing on 55 carries, opened the game using their power running attack with seven straight carries among three backs before the drive stalled and Taylor Mehlhaff kicked a 41-yard field goal.
But the Badgers went exclusively to Hill on their next possession and he ran 10 times on the 11-play drive, including four straight at the goal line, scoring on fourth down inside the 1 to make it 10-0.
After the score, Hill, who has at least one touchdown in 18 of his 22 career games, hobbled to the sideline and pointed to his left leg. He did not return.
It didn't matter much since Indiana's offense never got started.
Before their first offensive snap, the Hoosiers called a timeout, then Lewis misfired badly on his first attempt to Hardy, his favorite target and Indiana went three-and-out. The Hoosiers committed one of five turnovers on their next possession, and Lewis struggled on the ground and in the air.
Lewis finished 17-of-33 for 113 yards and 59 yards rushing, but he threw two interceptions and fumbled. Hardy managed only four catches for 17 yards and had a fumble of his own.
Wisconsin, which played with a short field most of the first half, took advantage a minute into the second quarter when freshman Zach Brown scored his first career touchdown from the 6 to make it 17-0.
Tyler Donovan, 12-of-21 for 144 yards, also hurt the Badgers, fumbling once and throwing a pass in the end zone that cornerback Tracy Porter easily intercepted. Indiana converted that turnover into its first and only points when Austin Starr kicked a 49-yard field goal to make it 17-3 just before the half.
The Hoosiers have forced a turnover in each game this year and have 22 on the season to match last year's total. They have also forced at least one turnover in 22 of their last 23 games.
Greg Middleton's second sack of the game in the fourth quarter gives him 11.5 on the year to move into second place on the single season sacks list. The sack also gives the Hoosiers 36 on the year, tying the single season sacks mark set in 1991 and 1993.
Indiana is back on action on Nov. 3 as it returns to Memorial Stadium to take on the Ball State Cardinals.
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