Indiana Gears Up for Northwestern

    Go Hoosiers! Junior cornerback Matt Ernest and the Hoosiers welcome Northwestern to Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Junior cornerback Matt Ernest and the Hoosiers welcome Northwestern to Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Oct. 26, 2010

    Northwestern Game Notes (10-30-10) Get Acrobat Reader

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Returning home for the second time in Big Ten play, the Indiana football team (4-3, 0-3 Big Ten) hosts Northwestern (5-2, 1-2 Big Ten). The Hoosiers and Wildcats will meet at Memorial Stadium (52,929) on Saturday, Oct. 30. Kickoff is at noon EDT and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

    Eric Collins will handle play-by-play duties and he will be joined by Chris Martin (analyst) and Charissa Thompson (sideline). 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.

    Young Guns
    Overshadowed by the elder statesmen at wide receiver, redshirt freshmen Duwyce Wilson and Ted Bolser are putting together very strong opening campaigns. Wilson is fourth on the team with 19 receptions, fifth with 264 yards and second with 13.9 yards per catch to go along with one score. The Columbus, Ind., native has reached 50 yards three times and 40 yards on four occasions with a season-high 68 yards vs. Akron. Wilson also has 65 kick return yards and owns 329 all-purpose yards.

    Bolser has set IU freshman tight end records with 16 catches (fifth on team) and 271 yards (fourth). He leads the team with five TDs, which is a record for all Hoosier tight ends and second all-time among freshmen receivers, and paces the team with 16.9 yards per catch.

    Both players are on the verge of entering the top 10 for freshmen pass-catchers in receptions and yardage. Ray Fisher (2006) and Tyrone Browning (1997) share the 10th spot with 24 grabs, while Levron Williams (1998) is 10th with 323 yards. James Hardy leads all freshmen with 61 receptions, 893 yards and 10 scores.

    Scouting Northwestern
    After opening the season with five straight wins, Northwestern has dropped its last two games. The Wildcats opened Big Ten play with a 29-28 victory at Minnesota before falling to Purdue, 20-17, and No. 9 Michigan State, 35-27, last Saturday.

    NU is averaging 27.6 points, 147.1 rushing yards, 272.2 passing yards (second in Big Ten) and 419.9 total yards per game. Dan Persa leads the Wildcat attack. The junior is throwing for 264.3 yards per game and completing 75.7 percent of his passes to go along with 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Persa also leads the team with 341 rushing yards and six scores on the ground. He is fifth in the nation with 313.0 total yards per game and eighth with a 164.3 passing efficiency.

    Jeremy Ebert leads all Wildcat receivers with 37 receptions, 580 yards, five touchdowns and 82.9 yards per game. The junior leads the Big Ten in yards per game and is tied for third in catches per game (5.3). Fifth-year senior Sidney Stewart has 26 grabs for 320 yards, while junior Drake Dunsmore has 22 receptions for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

    Redshirt freshman Mike Trumpy sits behind Persa with 197 rushing yards and two TDs followed by junior Jacob Schmidt with 161 yards and four scores.

    On the defensive side of the ball, Northwestern is surrendering 20.7 points, 135.4 rushing yards, 235.7 passing yards and 371.1 total yards per game. The Wildcats have 10 interceptions, five fumble recoveries and 12 sacks on the season.

    Disruptive senior defensive tackle Corbin Bryant has one sack, 4.5 tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Fifth-year senior outside linebacker Quentin Davie has 31 tackles, three interceptions (56 yards), 1.5 sacks, four TFLs, three QB hurries and one forced fumble.

    Junior safety Brian Peters leads the team with 49 tackles followed by fifth-year senior middle linebacker Nate Williams with 44, including 5.5 tackles for loss. Junior defensive end Vince Browne paces the Wildcats with six sacks and nine TFLs.

    Senior Stefan Demos has converted 10-of-15 field goals and 18-of-21 extra points, while redshirt freshman Brandon Williams is averaging 40.0 yards per punt with 13 inside the 20-yard line. Fifth-year senior Stephen Simmons is averaging 21.7 yards per kick return.

    Pat Fitzgerald is in his fifth season at the helm of the Northwestern program and owns a 32-25 record. Fitzgerald, who starred at linebacker for the Wildcats (1993-96), has guided NU to back-to-back bowl games - the Alamo and Outback Bowls.

    The Northwestern Series
    Northwestern leads the all-time series, 43-34-1, but Indiana holds an 18-17 edge at Memorial Stadium. The last six games between the two teams have been decided by seven points or less, including last year's 29-28 Wildcat victory in Evanston, with two extending into overtime.

    IU upset No. 22 (BCS) NU the last meeting in Bloomington, 21-19, on Oct. 25, 2008. The win marked the first of fifth-year senior quarterback Ben Chappell's career. He threw for 219 yards with one passing and one rushing touchdown. Junior wide receiver Tandon Doss collected his first career 100-yard game with 107 yards on eight receptions, including a score.

    Illinois Connection
    Eleven Hoosiers hail from the state of Illinois. Dimitrius Carr-Watson (Calumet City/Mount Carmel HS), Marc Damisch (Arlington Heights/Buffalo Grove), 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), Jeff Sanders (Springfield/Sacred Heart-Griffin) and Teddy Schell (Barrington/Barrington) all arrived in Bloomington from the Land of Lincoln.

    Bolser-Ing The Offense
    Ted Bolser has worked his way into the IU record book in his first season of action and also secured a spot on the John Mackey Award midseason watch list, the lone freshman on the 22-player watch list. The redshirt freshman tight end pulled in his fifth touchdown of the season, a 22-yarder at Illinois, to break the school record by a tight end of four, set by Bob Stephenson in 1979. His five scores are also the second-highest total for a freshman pass-catcher in IU history behind James Hardy's 10 in 2005.

    On the season, Bolser has 16 catches for 271 yards, both IU freshman tight end records, to go along with his team-best five TDs and 16.9 yards per catch. The Cincinnati native's receptions are the most in a season since Aaron Halterman recorded 23 catches in 2003 and the most yards since Halterman collected 292 yards in 2002.

    He finished the Illinois game with four catches for 77 yards, the first time a Hoosier tight end went over 70 yards since Halterman vs. Kentucky on Sept. 20, 2003. Bolser has scored on all four balls thrown his way in the red zone. He has been targeted 19 times overall, and he has made the most of his opportunities with his 16 catches, 13 for first downs, and his five touchdowns.

    With his two-score performance against Akron, the Cincinnati native became the first Hoosier receiver with a multi-score game since Tandon Doss had two against Wisconsin on Nov. 7, 2009. Bolser, who also caught TD passes in his first two contests, became the first freshman since James Hardy (2005) to score a touchdown in each of his first three games.

    Bolser finished the season-opening win over Towson with four catches for 68 yards and a 12-yard touchdown on his first career touch. The 6-6, 252-pounder had two grabs and 25 yards, including a sliding 11-yard TD, in the team's win at Western Kentucky the following week.

    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 opening game totals marked the most catches and yardage for a Hoosier receiver in his debut since Hardy had five catches and 107 yards against Central Michigan in on Sept. 2, 2005. He became the first Hoosier since Damarlo Belcher (vs. Western Kentucky on Aug. 30, 2008) to score on his first career touch.

    Countdown To 100
    With the team's win over Arkansas State, Indiana Head Coach Bill Lynch claimed his 99th career victory. In 18 seasons as a head coach. Lynch owns a 99-93-3 (.515) overall record. He is in his fourth year as Hoosier head coach and has 32 years of coaching experience in the state of Indiana. In his first three seasons, the Hoosiers reached the postseason and won seven games in a season for the first time since 1993 and won the Old Oaken Bucket for the first time since 2001. IU has boasted three All-Americans, three second-round and five total NFL Draft picks, nine All-Big Ten selections, one Academic All-American and 52 Academic All-Big Ten honorees.

    Men In The Middle
    With two starting linebacker spots open following the departures of Matt Mayberry and Will Patterson, it appears the Hoosier defense has found a duo to start with strong-side linebacker Tyler Replogle. Leon Beckum moved from inside to outside linebacker at No. 2 Ohio State, while Jeff Thomas made his second straight start in the middle. The trio has started together ever since.

    Beckum, who has played at all three linebacker spots in his career, finished with a game-high nine tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack vs. the Buckeyes. The junior out of Bloomington North High School matched a career high in tackles, which he first set earlier this year against Akron, and became the first Hoosier with three tackles for loss in a game since Jammie Kirlew had three at Akron on Sept. 19, 2009. He added seven stops with one TFL against ASU and recorded a sack at Illinois.

    Thomas, who arrived in Bloomington during spring practice from Foothill (Calif.) Community College, added six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and his first career interception vs. OSU and matched Beckum with seven stops against Arkansas State. He set a career high and finished with a game-high 13 tackles at Illinois, with one TFL included.

    Hoosier linebackers rank 1-2-3 on the team in tackles. Replogle leads the way with 50, 25 solos, followed by Thomas with 47, 21 solos, and Beckum with 39, 25 solos. Beckum also leads the team and Big Ten linebackers and shares sixth in the league overall with three sacks to go along with a team-best five tackles for loss. Thomas has the INT and 2.5 TFLs.




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