A Look Back: Western Michigan 2006
Sept. 7, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - For the fourth time in five seasons, the Indiana football team opened the season with a win. Led by a defense that held Western Michigan to only 72 rushing yards and an offense that tallied 323 total yards, the Hoosiers dominated the Broncos, 39-20, on Sept. 2 at Memorial Stadium.
The Hoosiers claimed the early 7-0 lead as junior quarterback Blake Powers hit sophomore wide receiver James Hardy for 34 yards, setting up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Powers to redashirt freshman wide receiver Andrew Means for the score at 11:31 in the first quarter. Means' touchdown catch marked the first reception and score of his career.
Western Michigan took over on the Indiana 13-yard line, but the stifling Hoosier defense held the Broncos to a field goal. On the Broncos' next possession, IU forced WMU to punt after junior defensive lineman Brian Faires recorded his first career sack. Faires went on to pick up a second sack in the fourth quarter.
The Hoosiers increased their lead to 14-3 with 10:47 on the clock in the second quarter as sophomore cornerback Chris Phillips picked off Ryan Cubit's pass for a 66-yard return. Phillips' interception marked the first of his career and Indiana's first interception for a touchdown since former Hoosier Kyle Killion scored on a 46-yard return against Penn State in 2004.
With just over seven minutes remaining in the second half, senior safety Will Meyers picked off Cubit for a 37-yard touchdown, setting up junior fullback Josiah Sears for the touchdown and the 20-3 Indiana lead.
At the half, Indiana led Western Michigan, 20-6, with 139 of IU's 159 total yards coming from the passing game. The Hoosiers' two interception returns combined for 103 yards.
The Hoosiers continued to put points on the board as junior cornerback Tracy Porter returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown with 12:26 on the clock in the third quarter. The last time a Hoosier ran a punt back for a score was in 2004 when Lance Bennett went 94 yards against Michigan State.
Sophomore kicker Austin Starr drilled his firstcareer field goal (28 yards) with 5:33 left in the third quarter to increase Indiana's lead to 29-6, before Western Michigan cut into the Hoosiers' advantage, scoring with 2:34 remaining in the third quarter.
IU increased its lead to 36-13 as fifth-year senior quarterback Graeme McFarland hit sophomore running back Marcus Thigpen for 30 yards, marking the longest touchdown pass of McFarland's career and Thigpen's third career receiving touchdown.
Starr booted his second field goal of the contest from 27 yards out, increasing Indiana's lead to 39-13. The Hoosiers' 39 points marked the most points scored by IU under head coach Terry Hoeppner.
With time winding off the clock, WMU's Thomas Peregrin scored off the short pass to cut Indiana's lead to 39-20, but it was not enough as the Hoosiers prevailed.
For the game, Powers completed 16 of 28 attempts for a game-high 192 yards, while McFarland completed four passes for 60 yards. On the ground, Sears led the Hoosiers in rushing with 35 yards in eight carries. Hardy led IU in receiving yards with four receptions for 86 yards. Bailey finished the night with 51 yards on five catches.
Indiana will hit the road for the first time in the 2006 campaign as it travels to Muncie, Ind., to take on Ball State on Sept. 9. Game time is slated for 6:30 p.m. (ET).
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