Hoosiers Host No. 25 Penn State on Homecoming

    Go Hoosiers! Senior cornerback Leslie Majors and the Hoosiers welcome No. 25 Penn State on Homecoming.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Senior cornerback Leslie Majors and the Hoosiers welcome No. 25 Penn State on Homecoming.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Oct. 16, 2007

    Penn State Release in PDF Format (10-20-07)
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    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana football team (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) welcomes No. 25 Penn State (5-2, 2-2) for its 2007 Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 20. Kickoff is set for noon EDT at Memorial Stadium (49,225) and the game will be televised by ESPN.

    Dave Pasch will handle play-by-play duties. He will be joined by analyst Andre Ware and sideline reporter Quint Kessenich. 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.

    Indiana owns a 41-47-6 record on Homecoming, including wins in each of the last three seasons. Last year, the Hoosiers knocked off Michigan State, 46-21, following a 36-13 victory over Illinois in 2005. In 2004, IU upset No. 23 Minnesota, 30-21. Indiana has never faced Penn State on Homecoming.

    Century Club
    Following his 121-yard effort at Michigan State, junior wide receiver James Hardy surpassed Ernie Jones (1984-87) with his 11th career 100-yard receiving game. Hardy now holds sole possession of the school record. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native has three 100-yard games this season to go along with his three in 2006 and five in 2005.

    No Doubting Thomas
    Sophomore safety Austin Thomas collected 22 tackles at Michigan State, doubling his previous career high and recording the most in a single game since Joseph Fitzgerald made 22 stops vs. Iowa on Oct. 27, 1984. Thomas is the first Hoosier to reach the 20-tackle mark since linebacker Alfonzo Thurman dragged down 20 Buckeyes on Nov. 13, 1993.



    After his performance, Thomas moved into the team lead with 59 tackles, giving him an 11-tackle advantage over fifth-year senior linebacker Adam McClurg. Thomas, who also set a career high with 14 solo tackles, leads the Hoosiers with 37 solo stops this season. The Woodstock, Ga., native is seventh in the Big Ten (all games) averaging 8.4 tackles per game and tied for fourth in four league games averaging 10.5 tackles per game.

    Hat Trick
    Tracy Porter's 76-yard fumble return for a touchdown at Michigan State was the first of his career, the second of the season for the Hoosiers (Greg Middleton, 44-yarder at Western Michigan) and the second longest in school history (Dale Keneipp, 92-yarder at Minnesota, Nov. 4, 1978).

    The senior cornerback became the first Hoosier in school history to return a fumble, interception and punt for paydirt in his career. Porter returned an interception 96 yards for a score vs. Central Michigan (Sept. 4, 2004) and posted an 86-yard punt return for six points against Western Michigan (Sept. 2, 2006).

    Paying Dividends
    Two important position changes the Hoosier coaching staff implemented during spring practice have paid significant dividends this season. The staff moved junior Ryan Marando from linebacker to defensive end and sophomore Nick Polk from wide receiver to safety, adding more speed and athleticism to each respective position. Polk has started all seven games at free safety, while Marando has added depth to a defensive line that goes 11-deep.

    Marando has been a steady force as a speed pass rusher all season. He sits third on the nation's top sack team with four sacks and is fourth on the club with five tackles for loss in addition to forcing one fumble.

    Polk has picked up his game the last three weeks. He is averaging 8.7 tackles per contest, including a career-high 11 at Michigan State, has forced a pair of fumbles and broken up one pass. The Milwaukee native is tied for the team lead and fourth in the Big Ten with his two forced fumbles this season and is fourth on the team with 44 tackles.

    Finding The End Zone
    Junior wide receiver James Hardy is third nationally and leads all Big Ten wideouts with nine touchdowns this season. He has increased his career total to 29, which sits one behind former Hoosier great Jade Butcher (1967-69) on the career list. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native is also fifth on the career touchdown list and ninth on the career points chart.

    With his third-quarter touchdown grab at Michigan State, Hardy has collected a touchdown reception in all seven games this season and each of his last eight tilts, continuing to add to his school record for consecutive games with a TD reception. He held the previous record of six along with Jade Butcher (1967-69). Hardy opened the 2005 season with a scoring grab in each of the first six games as well and is the only receiver in school history to collect a scoring strike in six straight games on two occasions.

    Hardy's nine touchdown receptions is seventh on IU's single-season receiving touchdown list. He shares second on the single-season list after catching 10 touchdowns as a freshman and sophomore. Ernie Jones holds the Indiana record with 13 touchdown receptions in 1987.

    In Good Hands
    James Hardy, who was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List, picked up right where he left off at the end of the 2006 season and has not let up all season. The junior wideout torched Indiana State in the season opener for 153 yards on just three catches, including 58-yard and 79-yard scoring strikes. He followed that performance with two more touchdowns at Western Michigan and his fifth and sixth scores against Akron and Illinois, respectively. The Fort Wayne, Ind., native then continued his mastery of Iowa, pulling in his seventh TD of the season and 113 yards. Hardy hauled in one score and 85 yards against Minnesota and reached the 100-yard mark for the third time this season and a school-record setting 11th time with 121 yards at Michigan State. He also collected his ninth touchdown of the year and recorded a TD grab in his eighth straight game against MSU.

    Hardy has seven multi-score games in his career, second only to Jade Butcher (1967-69). He sits fifth on the school's career receiving yardage list (2,221) and is third on the career receptions (143) list. Hardy has corralled at least one reception in all 27 of the contests he has played in his career. On the season, nine of Hardy's 31 receptions have come in the end zone. He sits in a share of fourth place in the Big Ten averaging 86.6 yards per game and is tied for ninth in scoring (7.7).

    Hardy's 153 yards against ISU were the third most of his career and marked his fourth 150-yard performance (most in school history). 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.

    On The Right Foot
    Austin Starr continues to show Hoosier fans the kicking game is on good footing. After hitting both field goal attempts at Michigan State, he owns a new school record with 11 consecutive made field goals. Starr broke Doug Smith's record of 10 set back during the 1981-82 seasons.

    The Logansport, Ind., native is 14-for-15 (93.3 percent) this season, 26-for-30 (86.7) in his career, 18-for-20 (90.0) from 30-plus yards and 8-for-8 from 40-plus yards, including a 40-yarder and a 47-yarder in East Lansing. Starr's 14 field goals are two more than he hit all of last season, good for a share of fourth place on the school's single-season list, lead the Big Ten and rank third nationally. He is three off the school record held by former NFL great Pete Stoyanovich (1988). Starr has also hit all 29 of his extra-point attempts this season and is on pace to break Stoyanovich's single-season mark of 45, set back in 1988.

    He is tied for sixth nationally averaging two field goals per contest and is 16th in the nation in scoring (10.14). He also leads the Big Ten in field goals per contest and field goal percentage (93.3) and is fifth in scoring. Additionally, Starr has 11 touchbacks on the season, ranking 12th nationally and pacing all Big Ten kickers.


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