A Look Back: Hoosiers Rally For 24-23 Victory over Ball State
Nov. 1, 2007
Sept. 9, 2006
MUNCIE, Ind. - Kellen Lewis threw for 228 yards and ran for 88 more in his debut for the Indiana football team, as the Hoosiers came away with a 24-23 victory over Ball State on Saturday, Sept. 9, in Muncie, Ind. The Hoosiers overcame a 23-7 halftime deficit to improve to 2-0 for the second year in a row.
The Indiana defense shut out the Cardinals in the second half, and the offense came through with 17 second-half points on the back of Lewis, who led the Hoosiers on the ground as well as in the air. Austin Starr's 35-yard field goal with 10:58 to go in the contest gave the Hoosiers their first lead of the game, and IU held on for the 24-23 victory.
Lewis' 316 total yards were the most since Antwaan Randle El went for 467 yards combined against Western Michigan on Sept. 12, 1998. It also marked the most touchdowns for a Hoosier QB making his debut since Randle El had three rushing touchdowns and three through the air in that contest.
Marcus Thigpen scored the only points of the first half for the Hoosiers, returning a Ball State kickoff 100 yards for the touchdown on just his second career kickoff return. It was the third 100-yard kickoff return in IU history, joining Derin Graham (10/3/98 vs. Wisconsin) and Freal McIntosh (1911 vs. Washington and Lee).
The Cardinals came away with seven points on their opening drive, going 80 yards in 4:00 to score first in the contest. Quarterback Joey Lynch had the key plays in the drive, including a 41-yard pass to Terry Moss that brought Ball State to the Hoosiers' 8-yard line. After IU forced a third down and goal, a pass interference call gave Ball State new life, and the Cardinals scored on second down on a 2-yard pass to Brad Salyer for the touchdown.
After forcing a Hoosier three and out, Ball State used another big play to fuel another first-quarter touchdown drive. Lynch found Dante Love up the left side for a 32-yard gain to put the Cardinals in first and 10 from the 20, and three plays later Moss scored on a 9-yard pass from Lynch to give BSU a 14-0 lead just 6:56 into the contest.
Ball State again stopped the Hoosiers offense without a first down, and was looking to go up three scores. But IU forced a third and 22, and Tracy Porter came away with his first interception of the season, returning it to the 45-yard line with 4:09 to play in the opening quarter.
The Cardinals looked poised to strike again on their first drive of the second quarter. After Tyson Beattie's punt was partially blocked, BSU took over at the IU 37 and promptly gained 12 yards on two plays for a first and 10 at the 25. The Hoosiers made back-to-back key defensive plays to force fourth and 20 from the 35, but Ball State got a clutch 52-yard field goal from Brian Jackson to stretch the lead to 17-0.
For the second straight week, Indiana got a huge play from its special teams, as Jackson's field goal was followed by Thigpen's 100-yard kickoff return to trim the deficit to 17-7. Thigpen followed his blocking up the right side and went nearly untouched into the end zone for his first career TD return on a kickoff. Against Western Michigan last week, Porter returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown.
Ball State struck once more before the end of the half, with Lynch engineering a 55-yard scoring drive to put the Cardinals up 23-7 with just 29 seconds to play in the half. On third and 10, Lynch looked deep for Darius Hill and found the sophomore for a 40-yard TD strike to enter the locker room up 16 points.
The Hoosiers roared back in the second half, scoring 17 straight points in the second half to take a 24-23 lead. Lewis helped the Hoosiers march downfield on their first second half possession to trim the deficit to 23-14. Lewis went 5-for-6 for 78 yards on the drive, which culminated with a 12-yard touchdown pass to James Hardy. The catch put Hardy over the 1000-yard mark for his career.
IU followed that up with a six-play, 71-yard drive that wrapped up with a remarkable 23-yard touchdown scamper by the redshirt freshman. Lewis handled every play on the drive, going 3-for-4 in the air for 34 yards and adding 37 on the ground on two runs.
Indiana got its first lead with 10:58 to play in regulation. The Hoosiers turned out a nine-play, 66-yard drive that finished off with a 35-yard field goal from Austin Starr. Lewis again showed his talent on the drive, as the key play came on a 32-yard pass to Andrew Means and a personal foul on Ball State added 15 yards to that. A Lewis 12-yard rush put Indiana inside the 25, and four plays later, Starr booted the ball through the uprights for the game-winning field goal.
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