IU Returns Home, Welcomes Akron on Saturday
Sept. 10, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Looking to improve to 3-0 for the second time in three seasons, the Indiana football team returns to Memorial Stadium to face Akron on Saturday. The Hoosiers (2-0) and Zips (1-1) will kickoff at noon EDT and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Roger Twibell will handle play-by-play duties, Mike Tomczak will serve as analyst and Rebecca Haarlow will be the sideline reporter. 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
The Hoosiers' balanced attack racked up 221 yards on the ground and through the air, as sophomore Kellen Lewis tossed three TD strikes and passed for all 221 yards. Junior Marcus Thigpen rushed for a team-high 81 yards followed by sophomore Demetrius McCray's 75 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Ray Fisher recorded career-bests with nine receptions for 77 yards.
Junior kicker Austin Starr drilled a critical 48-yard field goal in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter - a career-long - to extend the Hoosier advantage to 37-21. Starr hit a career-high three field goals in four attempts.
IU is tied for the top spot in the nation with Penn State with its 13 sacks. Sophomore defensive end Greg Middleton is leading the way up front, sharing the No. 1 spot in the league and ranking second nationally with three sacks. Ten different Hoosiers have recorded at least one sack and 11 of the 13 sacks have come from the defensive line. Indiana also is tied for sixth nationally with 10 tackles for loss per game.
Middleton and defensive lineman Brian Zematis picked up the first sacks of their careers against Indiana State, while junior defensive end Ryan Marando (1.5), sophomore defensive lineman Emile Bass (1.0) and junior cornerback (1.0) secured their first-career sacks at WMU.
Tightening The Screws
IU's defense shut the door on Indiana State in the opener after the Sycamores cut the Hoosier lead in half at 14-7 with 4:18 remaining in the first quarter. IU would go on to score 41 unanswered points, and the defense held ISU to just 176 total yards of offense, including 130 through the air and 46 on the ground. The last time an Indiana defense held an opponent under 200 yards came on Oct. 9, 1999 against Northwestern (194), and the last time it held a team under 50 yards rushing came last season against Ball State (41, Sept. 9).
Indiana also held Western Michigan under 50 yards rushing (30). The last time a Hoosier defense held back-to-back opponents under 50 yards came during the 2001-02 campaigns. IU held three straight foes - Purdue (-8, Nov. 24, 2001), Kentucky (16, Dec. 1, 2001) and William & Mary (-32, Aug. 31, 2002) below 50 yards.
In Good Hands
Hardy now has seven multi-score games in his career, second only to former Hoosier great Jade Butcher (1967-69). He holds sole possession of second place on IU's touchdown reception list with 24 scores, trailing only Butcher's 30, and sits in sixth on the all-time TD charts, one behind former running back Vaughn Dunbar (1990-91). Hardy also sits sixth on the school's receiving yardage list with 1,795 and is seventh with 118 career receptions.
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
Additionally, three Hoosiers tallied at least 50 yards for the third straight game at WMU. Junior Marcus Thigpen (81), sophomore Demetrius McCray (75) and sophomore Kellen Lewis (59) reached the benchmark. In the opener, Lewis totaled 59, sophomore Bryan Payton added a career-high 56 and redshirt freshman Trea Burgess netted 50 in his Hoosier debut. Lewis (103), McCray (60) and Thigpen (50) also reached 50 yards in the 2006 finale at Purdue.
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 eight of its last 10 games, over 150 yards seven times and over 200 yards on three occasions. In the 10 games, Indiana has averaged 151.0 rushing yards per game.
Put It On The Board
Indiana ranks third in the league, averaging 260 passing yards and 219 rushing yards, while sitting fourth with 479 yards of total offense per game. Sophomore quarterback Kellen Lewis is second in the conference with six touchdown tosses, 253 passing yards per game and 312 total yards per contest. Junior wide receiver James Hardy leads the Big Ten with four TD receptions and sits fifth with an average of 90 yards each time out.
IU has also put up 31 points in the opening stanza against Indiana State and at Western Michigan. The Hoosiers are averaging 264.5 total yards and 190 yards through the air in the first half this season.
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