Hoosiers Face First Road Test of 2007 at Western Michigan

    Go Hoosiers! The Hoosiers travel to Western Michigan for a showdown with the Broncos at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
    Go Hoosiers!
    The Hoosiers travel to Western Michigan for a showdown with the Broncos at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Sept. 3, 2007

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    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Fresh off its largest season-opening victory since 1944, the Indiana football team hits the road for the first time this season. The Hoosiers (1-0) travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on the Western Michigan Broncos (0-1) on Saturday, Sept. 8.

    Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. EDT?at Waldo Stadium (30,200) and the game will be televised by ESPNU. Dave Armstrong will handle play-by-play duties and Mike Gottfried will serve as analyst. 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.

    Last Time Out
    Bill Lynch earned his first victory as Indiana head coach on Sept. 1 with a resounding 55-7 victory over Indiana State. The Hoosiers carded its largest season-opening victory since a 72-0 whitewashing of Fort Knox on Sept. 16, 1944, and their 55 points were the most scored by an IU?team in an opener since a 58-point outburst against Kentucky on Sept. 20, 1969.

    Kellen Lewis threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, while James Hardy caught a pair of 50-plus-yard scores and totaled 153 yards on three catches. Lewis also ran for 59 yards and a touchdown in the contest, while the IU defense allowed Indiana State 176 yards of offense and just 38 rushing yards.



    Lewis to Hardy
    Kellen Lewis to James Hardy has become one of the most prolific scoring combos in Indiana history. What has made this duo special is the meteoric rise both stars have experienced in such a short time playing together.

    Lewis was named the Hoosiers' starting quarterback in the fifth game last season. Since his promotion, he has hit paydirt with Hardy 11 times in nine games. They have connected on 47 occasions for 763 yards, good for an average of 16.23 yards per catch.

    Taking a closer look, they only hooked up for six catches and 75 yards their first two games. Over the last seven games, the duo has combined for all 11 scoring strikes, 41 catches, 688 yards, four 100-yard games and back-to-back 150-yard contests. Breaking the numbers down, Hardy has averaged 5.9 receptions and 98.2 yards per game along with an average of 16.78 yards per reception.

    Scouting Western Michigan
    Western Michigan opened the 2007 season with a 62-24 defeat at No. 3/6 West Virginia on Sept. 1. WVU racked up 542 total yards of offense, including 316 yards on the ground and seven rushing touchdowns. WMU netted 245 yards through the air but just 32 rushing yards. Junior wide receiver Jamarko Simmons hauled in 144 of those passing yards on 14 receptions and scored twice.

    The Broncos finished the 2006 campaign at 8-5 with a 6-2 mark in the Mid-American Conference West. WMU advanced to the International Bowl, where it dropped a 27-24 decision to Cincinnati. Seven starters return on offense and eight on defense for head coach Bill Cubit. Cubit is in his third season at Western Michigan and holds a 15-10 mark.

    Simmons led all Bronco receivers with 61 catches for 668 yards last year and is the team's biggest threat. Sophomore signal-caller Tim Hiller got the start against West Virginia and threw for 160 yards, completing 16 of his 25 attempts with two interceptions.

    On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos play a 4-3 scheme and return the team's 2006 defensive player of the year, Dustin Duclo. The junior linebacker turned in 53 tackles and 6.5 sacks last year. Also returning is 2006 first team All-MAC cornerback Londen Fryar. The junior picked off five passes a year ago and recorded 52 tackles.

    Last Time vs. WMU
    Indiana kicked off the 2006 season with a 39-20 victory over Western Michigan at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 2. The Hoosier defense held the Broncos to just 72 rushing yards and IU rolled up 323 total yards of its own.

    Cornerback Christopher Phillips returned an interception 66 yards, while Tracy Porter raced a punt back 86 yards. IU forced three Western turnovers en route to its fourth season-opening victory in five years.

    Blake Powers completed 16-of-28 attempts for 192 yards, and back-up Graeme McFarland completed four passes for 60 yards. On the ground, Josiah Sears led the Hoosiers with 35 yards on eight carries. James Hardy paced IU in receiving yards with four receptions for 86 yards, and James Bailey finished the night with 51 yards on five catches.

    IU vs. Western Michigan
    Indiana and Western Michigan are squaring off for the fourth time. The Hoosiers are making their first trip to Kalamazoo. IU downed the Broncos, 39-20, in last season's opener on Sept. 2. Indiana also holds victories over Western in 1998 (45-30, Sept. 12) and 1995 (24-10, Sept. 9).

    IU vs. The MAC
    The Hoosiers have won their last 17 meetings against MAC opponents, three of which have come on the road. Last season, Indiana knocked off MAC foes Western Michigan in Bloomington (39-20, Sept. 2) and Ball State in Muncie, Ind., (24-23, Sept. 9).

    This is the third straight season IU has hit the road to face a MAC opponent. The Hoosiers dropped Central Michigan in 2005 (20-13, Sept. 2) and Ball State last season. Indiana owns a 29-4-1 (.868) all-time record against MAC opponents.

    Michigan Connection
    Nine players on the IU roster hail from The Wolverine State. Junior wide receiver James Bailey (Detroit/Denby High School), sophomore defensive lineman Emile Bass (Detroit/Sterling Heights), freshman running back Darius Johnson (Highland Park/Highland Park), junior defensive lineman Isaac Price (Southfield), freshman linebacker Ian Reeves (Ferndale/Ferndale), junior running back Marcus Thigpen (Detroit/Mumford), sophomore defensive lineman Terrance Thomas (Detroit/St. Martin De Porres), redshirt freshman wide receiver Terrance Turner (Auburn Hills/West Bloomfield) and sophomore defensive lineman Brian Zematis (Bloomfield) all came to Bloomigton from the state of Michigan.

    A Long Time Coming
    With its 55-7 victory over Indiana State, the Hoosiers carded its largest season-opening victory since a 72-0 whitewashing over Fort Knox on Sept. 16, 1944. The 55 points were the most scored by the Hoosiers in an opener since they scored 58 against Kentucky on Sept. 20, 1969, and the most scored by an Indiana team since a 56-21 win over Northwestern on Nov. 3, 2001.

    The 48-point victory is the largest margin since a 58-7 win over Missouri on Sept. 22, 1990. Additionally, the Hoosiers held an opponent to single digits for the first time since limiting Indiana State to three points in a 33-3 victory on Sept. 13, 2003.

    In Good Hands
    James Hardy picked up right where he left off at the end of the 2006 season vs. Indiana State. The junior wideout torched the Sycamores for 153 yards on just three catches, including 58-yard and 79-yard scoring strikes.

    The two TD catches gave Hardy his sixth-career multi-score game. He moved into sole possession of second place on IU's touchdown reception list and into seventh on the all-time TD?charts with 22 scores, trailing only Jade Butcher's 30. He also moved into sixth place on the school's receiving yardage list with 1,768. In addition, Hardy's 153 yards were the third-most of his career, his fourth 150-yard performance (most in school history) and marked his ninth career 100-yard game, which ranks second behind Ernie Jones' 10. His 79-yard TD catch was the second-longest of his career, behind an 83-yarder from Blake Powers on Oct. 1, 2005 against Wisconsin.

    In A Rush
    Throughout preseason camp head coach Bill Lynch emphasized the importance of a running game, and IU responded with 217 rushing yards in their season-opening win over Indiana State. The total marked Indiana's largest rushing output since corralling 305 yards on Sept. 17, 2005 vs. Kentucky and its second straight game over 200 yards (215 at Purdue, Nov. 18).

    Three Hoosiers tallied at least 50 yards, as sophomore quarterback Kellen Lewis totaled 59, sophomore running back Bryan Payton added a career-high 56 and redshirt freshman Trea Burgess netted 50 in his Hoosier debut. Indiana also had three players eclipse 50 yards in its 2006 season finale.

    Dating back to Indiana's game against Wisconsin (Sept. 30) last season, when Kellen Lewis took over as the Hoosiers' quarterback, IU?has rushed for over 100 yards in seven of its last nine games and over 150 yards six times. In the nine games, Indiana has averaged 143.2 yards per game.

    Under Pressure
    Another point of emphasis during preseason camp on the defensive side of the ball was to get to the quarterback. As was the case with the running game, the defense responded in the season opener. After only 14 sacks during the entire 2006 season, the Hoosiers compiled five against Indiana State. The last time an IU defense posted five sacks in a game came on Nov. 20, 2004 at Purdue.

    Sophomore defensive end Greg Middleton led the way up front, recording two sacks in his first career start. Left defensive end Jammie Kirlew added a sack along with sophomore linebacker Will Patterson. Sophomore defensive lineman Brian Zematis also picked up his first career sack.


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