Hoosiers Open 2008 Campaign Against Western Kentucky

    Go Hoosiers! Captain Will Patterson and the Hoosiers kick off the 2008 season against Western Kentucky.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Captain Will Patterson and the Hoosiers kick off the 2008 season against Western Kentucky.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Aug. 25, 2008

    Western Kentucky Weekly Release (8-30-08) Get Acrobat Reader

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana football team kicks off its 2008 season on Saturday, Aug. 30, as the Hoosiers welcome the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky to Bloomington. Kickoff is set for noon EDT at Memorial Stadium (49,225) and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

    Tom Werme will handle play-by-play duties and he will be joined by analyst Tony McGee and sideline reporter Megan West. The game can also be heard on the statewide IU Radio Network with Don Fischer (play-by-play), Pete Compise (analyst) and Joe Smith (pre-game, halftime and post-game) on the call.

    IU finished the 2007 season with a 7-6 record and a 3-5 Big Ten mark. The Hoosiers made a trip to the Insight Bowl, the program's first postseason appearance since 1993. Indiana's seven victories marked its highest win total since going 8-4 in 1993.

    Bill Lynch is in his second year at the helm of the Hoosier program. In 2007, he became the only head coach in IU history to lead a team to a bowl game in his debut season. He guided Indiana to its most wins since 1993, its first bowl appearance since 1993 and its first Old Oaken Bucket victory since 2001. The team's seven victories were the second most for a first-year Indiana head coach, trailing only James M. Sheldon, who went 8-1-1 in 1905.

    Scouting Western Kentucky
    Western Kentucky begins its second season in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). In their first season in FBS play, the Hilltoppers posted a 7-5 record to extend their streak of winning seasons to 12. WKU returns 41 letterwinners and 14 starters for head coach David Elson. A 1994 Butler graduate, Elson begins his sixth year in Bowling Green, Ky., with a 37-22 record (.627).

    The Hilltoppers return seven starters from a 2007 offense that recorded 4,906 yards, including 2,966 on the ground, and 398 points. Sophomore K.J. Black will lead the WKU offense in 2008. Black completed 88-of-134 (65.7 percent) passes in 2007, with eight touchdowns, eight interceptions, 1,007 yards and a 136.56 QB rating. Junior Jake Gaebler led the receivers with 35 receptions for 426 yards and three scores. On the ground, junior Tyrell Hayden rushed for 1,134 yards, 10 touchdowns and 94.5 yards per game.

    Defensively, Western Kentucky welcomes back five starters from a unit that surrendered 20.8 points and 319.6 yards per game. The Hilltoppers picked off 20 passes and recovered nine fumbles with 24 sacks. Senior cornerback Marcus Minor is the team's leading returning tackler (61), including six for loss, while forcing three fumbles. Senior linebacker Alonzo Higgins added 43 tackles, three for loss, with one interception.

    IU-WKU Connections
    There are several Indiana-Western Kentucky connections. WKU head coach David Elson, an Indianapolis native and Cathedral High School graduate, played at Butler and was a teammate of Hoosier running backs coach Dennis Springer. The two played together during the 1991 season, with Elson earning letters from 1991-93 and Springer lettering from 1989-91.

    Last season, Springer served as the Hilltoppers' assistant head coach/defense/defensive backs coach.

    Bill Lynch coached Elson's brother, Brian, at Butler. Brian earned letters in 1987-88 and Lynch just missed coaching David, taking the offensive coordinator position at Ball State in 1990.

    Meanwhile, WKU inside linebackers coach Cary Marquell served as a student assistant (1995) and a graduate assistant (1997-98) under Lynch during his tenure in Muncie.

    Western Kentucky assistant head coach/wide receivers coach T.J. Weist served as the wide receivers coach under IU head coach Cam Cameron from 1997-2001.

    Hilltoppers' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kevin Wright was the head coach at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis from 2000-05. Wright guided the Warriors to three consecutive Class 5A state titles and coached current Hoosiers Chris Adkins (cornerback), Jeff Boyd (defensive tackle), Jerimy Finch (safety) and Andrew McDonald (offensive tackle).

    For Starters
    The Hoosiers are 32-16 in home openers at Memorial Stadium and have won their last six season kickoffs at The Rock. In fact, Indiana has won 23 of its last 26 home starters. IU has also won its last four season openers and five of its last six. In 2007, the Hoosiers dominated Indiana State, 55-7, to give Bill Lynch his first victory as Indiana head coach.

    Defend The Rock
    A year after hosting seven home games and posting a 5-2 mark at Memorial Stadium, the Hoosiers will welcome eight opponents to Bloomington for the first time in program history. The Hoosiers do not leave Bloomington until October 4, opening the season with four home games, and only hit the road twice in their first 10 contests.

    Going Bowling
    With their appearance in the Insight Bowl last season, the Hoosiers earned their first postseason bowl trip since 1993. Indiana will attempt to make back-to-back bowl games for the first time since the 1990-91 seasons.

    IU faced off against Auburn in the 1990 Peach Bowl and blanked Baylor, 24-0, in the 1991 Copper Bowl.




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