A Look Back: Payton Runs for Three Scores as Hoosiers Down Gophers, 40-20
Oct. 6, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Behind three rushing scores by Bryan Payton, the Indiana football team improved to 5-1 (2-1 Big Ten) with a 40-20 victory over Minnesota on Saturday, Oct. 6. Indiana improved to 5-1 for the first time since 1994 with the victory.
With the win, IU coach Bill Lynch improved to 5-1 in his career, the best six-game start by a Hoosier coach in school history. Indiana posted back-to-back double-digit wins for the first time since 1993, when IU posted a 24-0 win over Northwestern and a 10-0 win over Michigan State in consecutive weeks. The Hoosiers have scored 225 points in six games this season, the best start for a Hoosier offense since the 1988 squad scored 227 in opening the season 5-0-1.
Payton set career highs with 13 rushes, 90 yards and his three scores. He became the first Hoosier to score three rushing TDs since BenJarvus Green Ellis found paydirt three times against Northwestern on Oct. 11, 2003. Kellen Lewis went 24-for-36 for 235 yards and a score and added 75 rushing yards in the victory. Ray Fisher matched his career-best with nine catches, and recorded his personal best with 106 yards receiving in the game.
Indiana got things started with an eight-play, 80-yard drive, IU's fourth score on its opening possession this season. After Marcus Thigpen ran for a first down, Lewis looked deep to Hardy along the right sideline for a 51-yard gain to put IU inside the 10. Three plays later, the duo hooked up on a two-yard fade to the back left corner of the end zone to make it 7-0 with 11:23 to play in the quarter. The score gave Hardy seven straight games with a TD reception, a new school record.
Minnesota came right back with an 80-yard drive of its own to knot the score at 7-7. Quarterback Adam Weber capped off the drive with a seven-yard run to the right side. Weber also completed two passes for 52 yards on the drive, including a 10-yard gain on third-and-7 from deep in Minnesota territory.
But Indiana countered with another scoring drive, this one 82 yards on seven plays. Payton did the damage with a career-long 48-yard touchdown run to give IU a 14-7 lead. Lewis was 4-for-5 for 34 yards on the drive. Minnesota rallied, though, and responded with another scoring drive, the final play a one-yard run on fourth-and-1 by Duane Bennett.
IU regained the lead on a 47-yard field goal by Austin Starr at 13:38 of the second quarter to make it 17-14. It was the final play of a nine-play, 51-yard drive that included another good run by Payton, this one a 19-yarder up the gut. Hardy also had a 17-yard catch to set up the kick. Starr added a 33-yarder at 6:23 to make the score 20-14.
After the Hoosier defense stopped the Gophers for a third straight time, Tracy Porter got the home squad going with a 71-yard punt return to give IU the ball at the Minnesota 15. After Lewis moved it inside the five with a 13-yard run, Payton picked up his second score of the game with a one-yard run off the left tackle to make it 27-14 with 2:41 to play in the half. The defense held strong on Minnesota's final possession, and IU entered the locker room with a 27-14 lead.
Starr had field goals on each of IU's first two possessions of the second half, a 25-yarder at 11:36 of the third quarter and a 43-yarder at 4:42 to make the score 33-14. The 43-yarder, the junior's ninth in a row, ran Starr's season total to 12-for-13 and his career mark to 6-for-6 from 40-plus yards. His four field goals on the day tied an Indiana record for field goals in a single game. The last player to match the feat was Andy Payne who did it twice in 1997.
Following an interception, Minnesota trimmed the lead with 6:47 to play in the game, as Eric Decker caught a three-yard TD pass from Weber. The Gophers went for two following the score, but Weber's pass was too high for Decker, which made the score 33-20.
The Gophers had one last chance to get back in the game, but Will Patterson denied Minnesota with his pass defense. After posting a pair of pass breakups, Patterson picked off a Weber pass at the 50 and rumbled all the way to the five-yard line. That set up Payton's third TD run of the game and gave IU the final, 40-20 margin.
Indiana is back in action next week when it heads to East Lansing for a matchup with Michigan State. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. EDT.
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