IU Squares Off Against Illinois on Saturday

    Go Hoosiers! Running back Stephen Houston received his first career start against Penn State.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Running back Stephen Houston received his first career start against Penn State.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Oct. 3, 2011

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    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Hosting its second straight Leaders Division opponent, the Indiana football team (1-4, 0-1 Big Ten) welcomes No. 19/16 Illinois (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) to Memorial Stadium (52,929) on Saturday, Oct. 8. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. EDT and the BTN will broadcast the game.

    The Hoosiers kicked off Big Ten play with a 16-10 defeat to Penn State. The Fighting Illini downed Northwestern, 38-35, in Champaign, Ill., last weekend to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1951. Illinois has won six straight games dating back to 2010.

    Eric Collins (play-by-play), Chris Martin (analyst) and Dionne Miller (sideline) will call the game. The game can also be heard on the statewide IU Radio Network, Sirius 135 and XM 195 with Don Fischer (play-by-play), Buck Suhr (analyst) and Joe Smith (pre-game, halftime and post-game) on the call.

    The Coaches
    Kevin Wilson earned his first victory as Indiana head coach vs. South Carolina State. Wilson spent the 2002-10 seasons at Oklahoma, where he served as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach from 2002-05 and as offensive coordinator and tight ends and fullbacks coach from 2006-10. OU played in seven Big 12 Title games in Wilson's nine years, going 6-1 in those appearances. His offenses were vital to accumulating an overall record of 99-24 (.805) during his time in Norman, including seven 10-win seasons.
    • Ron Zook is in his seventh season at Illinois and owns a 33-45 record. Zook spent three seasons at Florida prior to his arrival at UI and is 56-59 in his 10th overall season.

    News & Notes
    • Sophomore quarterback Dusty Kiel made his first career start against PSU. He completed 22-of-45 for 184 yards with one score and one interception. Kiel is 33-of-63 with 356 yards, three TDs and one INT this season.
    • Three freshmen received their first starts in the game: redshirt freshman S Drew Hardin (9 tackles, 8 solo), true freshman S Forisse Hardin (5 tackles, 1 INT) and true freshman DE Bobby Richardson (8 tackles, .5 TFL).
    Jeff Thomas matched a career high with three tackles for loss and added the second sack of his career to go along with eight tackles. The fifth-year senior linebacker is eighth in the Big Ten with 7.8 stops per games.
    • IU recorded at least three takeaways (2 fumbles, 1 interception) in a game for the third time this year. Indiana is tied for second in the Big Ten with 11 takeaways and is plus-3 in turnover margin.
    • The Hoosiers have outscored their opponents, 59-24, in the fourth quarter this season.
    • Indiana and Illinois will meet for the 69th time on Saturday afternoon.
    • Illinois leads the overall series, 44-22-2, and holds a 14-13-1 mark in Bloomington.
    • The last time the two teams met in Bloomington, the Hoosiers earned a 27-14 victory on Oct. 17, 2009.
    Damarlo Belcher caught six balls for 91 yards, including a 29-yard score, in the game.
    • IU has won five of the last seven contests at home and the teams have split the last eight meetings overall.

    Illinois Connection
    Twelve Hoosiers hail from the state of Illinois. Dimitrius Carr-Watson (Calumet City/Mount Carmel HS), Joe and Marc Damisch (Arlington Heights/Buffalo Grove), Peyton Eckert (Arlington Heights/Prospect), Mitch Ewald (Naperville/Waubonsie Valley), Marlandez Harris (Springfield/Sacred Heart-Griffin), Will Matte (Wheaton/Wheaton-Warrenville South), Jake Michalek (Midlothian/Brother Rice), Justin Pagán (Chicago/St. Patrick), Matt Perez (Park Ridge/Maine South), Adam Pines (Highland Park/Highland Park) and Teddy Schell (Barrington/Barrington) all arrived from the Land of Lincoln.

    Red Zone Defense
    The Indiana defense has stiffened in the red zone this season. This was especially true in the Big Ten opener against Penn State.
    • In five red zone trips, the Hoosiers held PSU to only three field goals, forced an interception at the 1-yard line and a fumble at the 2-yard line.
    • On the season, opponents have scored touchdowns eight times in 20 trips. The 40 percent mark ranks second in the Big Ten behind Michigan (35.7).
    • Overall, Indiana has forced four red zone turnovers (3 fumbles and 1 interception).

    Forcing The Issue
    IU has seven fumble recoveries and four interceptions in 2011. The Hoosiers recovered four fumbles with eight interceptions all of last year.
    • Indiana shares second in the Big Ten in takeaways, is second in fumble recoveries (tied for eighth nationally) and tied for fifth with a plus-3 turnover margin.
    • IU has scored 34 points off of the turnovers, including a 31-yard interception return by linebacker Mark Murphy and a 54-yard fumble return by cornerback Lawrence Barnett.
    • With two fumble recoveries and two INTs vs. South Carolina State, Indiana forced four turnovers for the first time since its trip to Penn State on Nov. 14, 2009.
    • The Hoosiers added three takeaways apiece at North Texas and last weekend against Penn State. They recovered a pair of fumbles with one INT in each game.

    Fresh Faces - Defense
    Prior to the Big Ten opener against Penn State, the defensive coaches suggested a depth chart shake up was coming and that was indeed the case. Three freshmen received their first career starts.
    • True freshman defensive end Bobby Richardson played for the first time this season the previous week at North Texas.
    • He posted eight tackles, six solo, with a half-tackle for loss against PSU.
    • Redshirt freshman safety Drew Hardin appeared in the previous four games and he shared the team lead with nine tackles, eight solo, and added a pass breakup in the contest.
    • Drew's brother, true freshman Forisse "Flo" Hardin, started alongside him at safety.
    • Flo also played in the first four games and picked off a pass at the IU 1-yard line, returned it 20 yards and finished with five stops vs. the Nittany Lions.

    Fresh Faces - Offense
    Sophomore Jamonne Chester and true freshmen Cody Latimer and Shane Wynn have seen an increased role at wide receiver the past two weeks.
    • In his first career start at North Texas, Chester led IU with eight receptions for 98 yards.
    • He entered the game with zero catches in 2011 and just two for 13 yards in his career.
    • Chester started again in the Big Ten opener against Penn State and has 10 grabs for 112 yards this year.
    • Latimer pulled in a 44-yard score in the fourth quarter, his first career touchdown and career-long reception in his first career start at UNT.
    •The Dayton, Ohio, native has six receptions for 93 yards and the score in five games this season.
    • Wynn added four grabs for 21 yards at North Texas and hauled in a career-long 24 yard catch vs. PSU.
    • On the season, he has nine receptions for 87 yards and has 284 kick return yards on 15 returns to lead the Hoosiers with 371 all-purpose yards.

    Second Level Senior
    Jeff Thomas knew he had to pick up the slack when weak-side linebacker and co-captain Leon Beckum suffered an injury in the season opener against Ball State, which has kept him sidelined since. The fifth-year senior middle linebacker and the defense's unquestioned leader has done just that.
    • Thomas has started all five games and leads the team with 39 tackles, 20 solo, and seven tackles for loss. He also has one sack and three pass breakups.
    • His 7.8 tackles per game rank eighth in the Big Ten and he is tied for third in TFLs.
    • In the Big Ten opener against Penn State, Thomas recorded eight tackles, matched a career high with three tackles for loss and added a sack and a PBU.
    • He owns seven career games with eight-plus stops.
    • Thomas joined the Hoosiers from Foothill (Calif.) CC last season and has made 14 starts in his IU career.
    • After sharing the team lead in tackles in both week one and week two (7 vs. Virginia), Thomas netted eight stops against South Carolina State.
    • Thomas recorded his third career double-digit tackle contest vs. BSU, sharing game-high honors with 11.
    • He finished second on the team with 82 tackles, 45 solo stops, 7.5 tackles for loss and two INTs in 2010.




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