Bloomington, Ind. Despite running up 327 rushing yards, the Indiana Hoosiers fell to Northwestern, 37-31 in overtime. The game was the first overtime affair for Indiana since they beat Illinois in 1999 at Memorial Stadium. Indiana falls to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten, while Northwestern improves to 3-4 and 1-2 in conference.
With just four seconds left in regulation, the Hoosiers had a chance to win with a 54-yard Bryan Robertson field goal. The kick fell two-yards shy of the crossbar and the game went to overtime.
Indiana got the ball first in overtime. The Hoosiers appeared to be in business as they gambled on fourth-and-inches from the 16-yard line. Junior quarterback Matt LoVecchio gained two yards on a sneak and the Hoosiers had first-and-10 at the 14-yard line.
Two plays later, LoVecchio tried to lob a pass to junior wideout Travis Haney. Haney looked as though he may come down with it, but a defender hit Haney causing the ball to pop into the air. Northwesterns Bryan Heinz was in the back of the end zone to pick off the pass.
Northwestern would pick up the win with a four-yard Jason Wright touchdown run on the next possession. On Northwesterns overtime drive, Wright carried the ball four times 14 yards. The big play of the drive was an 11-yard pass from Brett Basanez to Noah Herron on third-and-seven.
Northwestern exploded out to a 17-0 lead after its first three possessions and appeared as if it was en route to a blowout victory. The Wildcats added another score in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 24-14 advantage.
However, Indiana got back into the game in the third quarter, as Bryan Robertson converted on a field goal on the Hoosiers opening possession of the half, with the key play of the drive a perfectly thrown deep ball that resulted in a 55-yard completion from Matt LoVecchio to Courtney Roby.
Behind the arm of LoVecchio (he completed 11 consecutive passes during a stretch that extended from the first quarter and extended through the fourth quarter) and the running of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Hoosiers marched downfield on the ensuing drive that resulted in a 27-yard touchdown run by Green-Ellis in which the true freshman broke four tackles on his way to the endzone to tie the game at 24-24.
After the Indiana defense came up big on two consecutive possessions, it set up the offense with excellent field position, resulting in Green-Elllis third touchdown of the game. That score gave the Hoosiers a 31-24 lead with 11:54 remaining in the game.
Sophomore Kyle Killion led the IU in tackles with 10, including one for loss. Junior Herana-Daze Jones and sophomore Buster Larkins had nine and eight tackles, respectively. Fifth-year senior Joe Gonzalez had seven tackles and a team-high two for loss.
Indiana turned in its most productive performance in the running game under Gerry DiNardo. The Hoosiers entered the game averaging 132.2 rushing yards per contest. IU surpassed that mark in the first half alone and finished with 327 yards rushing. Prior to Saturdays contest, the Hoosiers single-game best for rushing yards in a game was 196 against Indiana State.
Green-Ellis and Brian Lewis led the way for the Hoosiers, gaining a combined 264 yards on the ground with all four of Indianas touchdowns. Green-Ellis had 25 carries for 136 yards and three touchdowns, with Lewis contributing 21 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown. The rushing totals for Lewis and Green-Ellis were career-highs.
Matt LoVecchio had 204 yards passing for the Hoosiers, completing 13 of his 20 passes. Junior Courtney Roby was the Hoosiers leading receiver with four catches for 82 yards, including a season-long 55-yard reception.
Indiana goes into a bye week and returns to action when it hosts defending national champion-Ohio State on October 25 at Memorial Stadium. The game is sold out.