Indiana Returns to Action Saturday at Western Kentucky

    Go Hoosiers! Fifth-year senior Trea Burgess rushed for one score in IU's season opener.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Fifth-year senior Trea Burgess rushed for one score in IU's season opener.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Sept. 14, 2010

    Western Kentucky Game Notes (9-18-10) Get Acrobat Reader

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - After a 16-day hiatus, the Indiana football team (1-0) returns to the field for its first road contest of the season at Western Kentucky (0-2). The Hoosiers will be the first Big Ten school to visit Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium (22,113) on Saturday, Sept. 18. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. CDT/5 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

    Matt Devlin will handle play-by-play duties and he will be joined by analyst Derek Rackley and sideline reporter Stacy Paetz. The game can also be heard on the statewide IU Radio Network with Don Fischer (play-by-play), Buck Suhr (analyst) and Joe Smith (pre-game, halftime and post-game) on the call.

    IU opened 2010 with a 51-17 victory over Towson on Thursday, Sept. 2, the program's ninth straight home-opening win. Sophomore Darius Willis finished with 14 carries for 102 yards, an average of 7.3 yards per carry, and two scores, including a 49-yarder. Fifth-year senior Ben Chappell was 16-of-23 for 182 yards and two scores, and junior Damarlo Belcher led all receivers with 92 yards, seven receptions and a 41-yard score.

    The Hoosier defense picked off three passes, which led to three touchdowns, including a 56-yard interception TD return by junior cornerback Matt Ernest. Senior strong-side linebacker Tyler Replogle (10 tackles) and senior strong safety Mitchell Evans (7 stops) added the other two INTs.

    Opening Act
    Bill Lynch is the only Indiana head coach to open his career with three consecutive 2-0 starts and the program is looking to jump out of the gates 2-0 for the seventh straight year. Indiana is one of five Football Bowl Subdivision teams to open 2-0 each year from 2004, joining USC (2-0), Alabama (2-0), Wisconsin (2-0) and Kansas (1-1).

    Scouting Western Kentucky
    Western Kentucky heads into Saturday's home opener at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium with an 0-2 record. The Hilltoppers fell to No. 8 Nebraska, 49-10, and Kentucky, 63-28.

    WKU is averaging 183.0 rushing yards per game behind two phenomenal efforts from junior Bobby Rainey. He carried the ball 30 times for 155 yards (5.2 average) and one score against the Cornhuskers and rushed for 184 yards on 22 carries (8.4) with two touchdowns, including a 59-yarder against the Wildcats. He became the first WKU player since 1999 to gain 150-plus yards in consecutive games.

    The Hilltoppers are averaging 108.5 yards through the air. Sophomore Kawaun Jakes is 20-of-37 (54.1 percent) with one TD and two interceptions this season. Sophomore Marcus Vasquez has the team's lone touchdown to go along with four catches for 63 yards (15.8 average).

    Western Kentucky has allowed 509.0 total yards, 261.5 passing yards and 247.5 rushing yards per game. The Hilltoppers have a pair of sacks, one fumble recovery and eight tackles for loss through the first two weeks.

    Thomas Majors paces WKU with 14 tackles, nine solo. The senior linebacker also shares the team lead with two tackles for loss and has forced a fumble. Sophomore defensive end Quanterus Smith (2 TFLs) and junior defensive end Jared Clendenin (1 TFL) each own one sack.

    Redshirt freshman Willie McNeal is averaging 25.8 yards on 13 kick returns. He raced 90 yards for a touchdown at Kentucky last weekend. Junior Casey Tinius is perfect on the season with five extra points and a 25-yard field goal.

    Head Coach Willie Taggart returned to his alma mater after spending the last three seasons as a running backs coach at Stanford University. Taggart spent eight seasons as an assistant at WKU and set 11 school records as the team's quarterback from 1995-98.

    IU-WKU Connection
    Two members of the Hoosier staff have ties to the Western Kentucky program. In 2007, IU Assistant Head Coach Dennis Springer served as the Hilltoppers' assistant head coach/defense/defensive backs coach.

    David Elson, who is in his first season in charge of quality control for Indiana's defensive staff, spent the 2003-09 seasons as WKU's head coach. Elson guided the program's two-year transition to the NCAA Division I-A (Football Bowl Subdivision) level and won 39 games with two playoff appearances during his tenure.

    WKU Head Coach Willie Taggart was Elson's assistant head coach from 2003-06, was an assistant coach alongside Elson from 1999-03, and he played quarterback from 1996-98 when Elson arrived in Bowling Green, Ky., as an assistant coach.

    Taggart and Elson served as assistant coaches for Jack Harbaugh, Indiana Head Basketball Coach Tom Crean's father-in-law. Elson took over as head coach following Harbaugh, and Taggart served as running backs coach (2007-09) for Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, Crean's brother-in-law, before taking the reins of the Western Kentucky program.

    My Old Kentucky Home
    True freshman Drew Hardin is the lone player on the Hoosier roster from the Bluegrass State. Hardin starred at Ballard High School in Louisville.

    Bolser-ing The Offense
    Ted Bolser opened observers' eyes during preseason camp and continued his ascension up the depth chart in the season opener against Towson. The 6-6, 252-pound redshirt freshman tight end finished the game with four catches for 68 yards and a 12-yard touchdown on his first career touch.

    Tight end has not been a productive position for much of Indiana football's history. In fact, only three tight ends (four times) have ever reached 100 yards in a game, with the last coming by Dave Lilja vs. Navy on Sept. 21, 1985 (108 yards, 10 catches).

    Bolser's yardage total was the best for a Hoosier tight end since Aaron Halterman had 71 against Kentucky on Sept. 20, 2003. It was also the most catches and yardage for a Hoosier pass-catcher in his debut since James Hardy recorded five catches and 107 yards against Central Michigan in on Sept. 2, 2005.

    The Cincinnati native became the first Hoosier since Damarlo Belcher (8/30/08 vs. Western Kentucky) to score on his first career touch.

    "Ern"-ing His Stripes
    Along with senior strong safety Mitchell Evans, junior cornerback Matt Ernest moved from wide receiver to the secondary in the spring. Ernest, who threw 12 2/3 innings with a 4.97 ERA for the Hoosier baseball team this spring, played defensive back in high school and re-adjusted quickly to cornerback.

    He received the start in his first career collegiate defensive game and did not disappoint. The Crown Point, Ind., native jumped an out route and picked off a pass from Towson quarterback Chris Hart. Ernest returned it 56 yards for six points and a 41-14 IU lead.

    The TD return was the first by a Hoosier since Christopher Phillips ran one back 58 yards on Nov. 3, 2007, against Ball State.

    The Interceptors
    Senior strong-side linebacker Tyler Replogle made his second career interception to set up the Hoosiers' first points of the year against Towson. Senior strong safety Mitchell Evans followed with his third career INT later in the first quarter and junior cornerback Matt Ernest gave IU the hat trick with his 56-yard pick six in the third quarter.

    All three picks resulted in touchdowns (21 points). Last season, Indiana only scored 27 points off of its 16 interceptions and just 65 points off of its 29 forced turnovers. The Hoosier defense finished second in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in turnover margin (plus-7), shared second in the league and 21st nationally with 13 fumble recoveries and fourth in the conference and tied for 23rd nationally with 16 interceptions last season.

    IU had three three-plus interception contests and four games with at least two picks in 2009, including five at Iowa, four at Akron and three at Northwestern.

    Redshirt The Rule
    Running back Antonio Banks became only the seventh true freshman to play during Head Coach Bill Lynch's four seasons when he took the field against Towson. Lynch's philosophy has been to redshirt student-athletes as freshmen, giving them an extra year of maturation to help provide the team with added depth and make them better equipped to handle the rigors of Big Ten football. Eighty student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent during Lynch's tenure and 91.25 (73-of-80) of those players redshirted as freshmen or have yet to see any time.

    Safety Mitchell Evans and linebacker Tyler Replogle hit the field as true freshmen in 2007. The following year offensive lineman Justin Pagán and wide receivers Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher played their first seasons. Last year defensive lineman Adam Replogle was the lone true freshman to receive time.

    For Starters
    With their 51-17 victory over Towson on Sept. 2, the Hoosiers improved to 35-16 in home openers at Memorial Stadium and have won their last nine season kickoffs at The Rock. In fact, IU has won 26 of its last 29 home starters. Indiana has also won its last seven season openers and eight of its last nine. Head Coach Bill Lynch is 4-0 in openers, as the Hoosiers dominated Indiana State (55-7) and Western Kentucky (31-13) in 2007 and 2008, before last year's win over Eastern Kentucky (19-13).




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