Hoosiers Set For Regular-Season Opener
Aug. 27, 2007
SETTING THE SCENE
Indiana head coach Bill Lynch begins his first season in Bloomington and his 15th year overall as a head coach. He takes over a Hoosier squad that concluded the 2006 campaign at 5-7 and shared sixth place in the Big Ten at 3-5. IU picked up three Big Ten wins for the first time since 2001, claimed its first conference road win since that same season and defeated a top-15 team for the first time since 1987, all while fielding the Big Ten's youngest team with 72 underclassmen and 49 true or redshirt freshmen.
Lynch owns an 81-67-3 (.546) career record after stops at Butler (1985-89), Ball State (1995-02) and DePauw (2004). He guided Ball State to the 1996 Las Vegas Bowl and has won or shared seven conference or divisional titles in his 14 seasons.
SCOUTING INDIANA STATE
ISU returns 12 starters, including six on offense, five on defense and one on special teams. Running the spread offense and 3-3-5 defense, Indiana State brings back 45 letterwinners overall.
Senior quarterback Reilly Murphy was a selection to the Gateway's All-Newcomer team a year ago, passing for eight touchdowns, 1,770 yards and 196.7 yards per game. The Sycamores averaged 21.5 points per game and 362.4 yards per contest.
The defense surrendered 44.8 points and allowed 503.5 yards of total offense last season. Opponents rushed for 301.4 yards and passed for 202.1 yards per game.
THE INDIANA STATE SERIES
Indiana and Indiana State are facing off for just the third time. The Hoosiers have won the previous two meetings, including a 33-3 victory over the Sycamores at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 13, 2003. The two teams also squared off in Bloomington back in 1925, with IU earning a 31-0 shutout victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
IN A RUSH
Hardy, a second team honoree by the media in 2005, turned in one of the most prolific seasons for a receiver in school history. As he did in 2005, Hardy recorded 10 touchdowns, which ranks second on IU's single-season charts, and his 20 career touchdowns (in 20 career games) put him behind only Ernie Jones (1984-87) on the all-time list. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native led the team with 51 receptions, 722 yards and the 10 TD tallies. He also recorded three 100-yard games to give him eight in his career, which is tied for second on the IU charts.
Additionally, Hardy joined Jade Butcher (1967-69) as the only Hoosiers in history to have more than one game with three receiving touchdowns in a career. Hardy had three touchdowns against Iowa on Oct. 14 and followed that with a school-record four touchdowns against Michigan State on Oct. 28.
Porter finished the season second on the club with four interceptions and 51 solo stops (59 total - third). He also led the team with eight pass breakups, recovered one fumble, forced a fumble and blocked a field goal.
The Port Allen, La., native pushed his career interception total to 10, which is tied for fifth in school history. Porter returned a punt 86 yards for a score as IU earned a victory in its season opener against Western Michigan on Sept. 2. In his best performance of the season, Porter notched his second-career multi-interception game with a pair of picks against Connecticut on Sept. 23 in addition to blocking a field goal and making three tackles. He tied for fourth in the Big Ten with 0.33 interceptions per contest and 1.00 passes defended per game.
FASTEST MAN IN BLOOMINGTON
Thigpen led the nation in yards per kickoff return and his three touchdowns were tops in the country. He recorded his third TD sprint of the season at Illinois on Oct. 7, matching a Big Ten single-season record held by Purdue's Stan Brown (1970) and Michigan State's DeAndra Cobb (2003) and putting him atop the Indiana career touchdown return list.
In his top performance of the season, Thigpen racked up a school-record 197 return yards on four kickoffs (49.3 average) in the Hoosiers' thrilling 34-32 victory over the Fighting Illini. Additionally, Thigpen gained a career-high 91 yards on the ground, including a career-long 44-yard rush, and had 23 receiving yards. His 311 all-purpose yards marked the fourth-best single-game effort in Indiana history.
The Detroit native also ran kicks back the distance vs. Connecticut (88 yards) and at Ball State (100 yards). He became the third player in IU history to return a kick 100 yards for a score, joining Derin Graham (Wisconsin, 10/3/98) and Freal McIntosh (Washington & Lee, 1915). He holds the longest and second-longest (98-yarder at Illinois) kick returns in school history.
In the season finale against Purdue, Lewis passed for 290 yards and collected the first 100-yard rushing game of his career. The 393 yards ranks sixth in IU lore and also accounted for nearly 80 percent of the team's 505 yards.
Lewis, who was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and as a freshman All-American by the Sporting News and Rivals.com, ranked seventh on the school's all-time single-season list with 19 total touchdowns. He also finished third on IU's single-season list with 14 TD passes, fifth with 346 attempts, sixth with 190 completions and ninth with a .549 completion percentage - all IU freshman records.
Over his final seven games, Lewis threw for 12 scores, rushed for four, averaged 225.6 yards through the air, 44.0 yards on the ground and threw only five interceptions. Lewis finished the season ranked third in the Big Ten (21st nationally) averaging 242.0 yards of total offense per game in his 11 contests.
FAMILIAR FACES, NEW PLACES
In addition, four players switched sides of the ball last season. Starting right tackle Charlie Emerson moved from defensive line to offensive line during the 2006 preseason, while back-up defensive end Brian Faires made the switch from tight end. Kyle Thomas spent time on the defensive line before serving as a back-up offensive lineman, and defensive back Joe Kleinsmith switched over from kicker.
IN THE RECORD BOOK
Lewis was just as impressive in the contest, accounting for all six Indiana touchdowns in the game. He became just the fourth Hoosier in history to account for six scores in a single game, joining Bob Hoernschemeyer (Nebraska, 1943), Antwaan Randle El (Western Michigan, 9/12/98) and Levron Williams (Wisconsin, 10/6/01). His five passing touchdowns were the second-most in school history, tying Jay Rodgers (Ball State, 9/13/97) and Tim Clifford (Colorado, 9/27/80). Hoernschemeyer threw for six scores against Nebraska in 1943.
Hardy also became only the second Hoosier in history to have more than one game with three receiving touchdowns in his career, joining Butcher in that elite club. Hardy had three touchdowns against Iowa on Oct. 14.
YOUNG BUT EXPERIENCED
On the offensive side of the depth chart, only fifth-year senior center Ben Wyss has not started a game. On the defensive side, sophomore defensive end Greg Middleton and sophomore safety Nick Polk will make their first starts at their respective positions against ISU. Meanwhile, junior kicker Austin Starr returns for his second season as a starter, while fifth-year senior Michael Hines get his first shot with punting duties.
Here is a breakdown by class of the 2007 Hoosiers:
SEVEN BLOCKS OF LIMESTONE
The remaining five - James Brewer, Cody Faulkner, Alex Perry, Jarrod Smith and Mike Stark - have contributed to the Hoosiers' depth on the offensive line. Perry is the team's No. 2 center, Faulkner is the back-up right guard, and Stark is behind Charlie Emerson at right tackle. Brewer was listed as the No. 2 left tackle before suffering an injury that forced him to miss preseason camp.
Thigpen led the Hoosiers with a 2007 season-best time of 10.67 in the 100-meter dash, which he clocked at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, good for sixth place. He also ran the first leg of IU's 4x100-meter relay team that clocked 40.13, which is the third fastest time in IU history, at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship.
Means is the starting center fielder on the diamond, and he earned second team All-Big Ten honors in 2007. He led the Hoosiers with a .369 average and 29 steals.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
In the backfield, Josiah Sears, Thigpen, Bryan Payton and Demetrius McCray recorded carries in multiple games. Justin Carrington received the first three carries of his career at Minnesota, while Polk and Fisher each posted one carry.
The Hoosiers will march towards the west entrance of Assembly Hall, where the IU Marching Hundred and Cheerleading Squads await their arrival. The Marching Hundred will perform "Indiana, Our Indiana," "Indiana, Fight" and "R-O-C-K in the USA," and fans will line the pathway of "The Walk" to show their support for the Hoosiers as they head towards the crimson gates of Memorial Stadium.
"The Rock" is the symbol representing Memorial Stadium. Although it has moved from its familiar place beyond the north end zone due to construction this season, a three-ton piece of limestone sits atop a two-ton limestone base. Prior to each game, Coach Lynch and the players will still march out and touch "The Rock" before hitting the field.
In addition, the players will join the fans and band in the singing of "Indiana, Our Indiana" following each home victory.
Lewis secured co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week laurels following his performance against Iowa, becoming the first Hoosier since Gibran Hamdan on Oct. 14, 2002, to earn the honor and the second Hoosier in as many weeks to claim Big Ten accolades. Lewis also earned recognition on the national scene. Along with being selected as one of four finalists for the All-America Player of the Week, Lewis was named USA Today Player of the Week and Rivals.com National Freshman of the Week.
The redshirt freshman threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns while completing 76 percent of his passes (19-of-25) vs. Iowa. He also added a 2-yard touchdown run. In addition, Lewis and the Hoosiers were named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week.
Sophomore Marcus Thigpen gained Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Oct. 9, giving the Hoosiers back-to-back winners for the first time since 2001. During that season, Antwaan Randle El (Nov. 5) and Levron Williams (Nov. 12) claimed the accolades in consecutive weeks.
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