Hoosiers Head to Happy Valley for Showdown with Penn State

    Go Hoosiers! Junior Demetrius McCray racked up 244 all-purpose yards against Wisconsin last weekend.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Junior Demetrius McCray racked up 244 all-purpose yards against Wisconsin last weekend.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Nov. 10, 2008

    Penn State Weekly Release (11-15-08) Get Acrobat Reader

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Hitting the road for the final two games of 2008, the Indiana football team kicks things off against Penn State, the eighth-ranked team in the BCS, at Beaver Stadium (107,282). Kickoff is set for noon EST on Saturday, Nov. 15, and the game will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst) and Charissa Thompson (sideline) on the call. 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).

    The Hoosiers fell to Wisconsin in their home finale last weekend, while the Nittany Lions dropped their first game of the season at Iowa. Kicker Daniel Murray nailed a 31-yarder with one second remaining to lift the Hawkeyes to a 24-23 triumph.

    The Penn State Series
    Indiana has never defeated Penn State. The Nittany Lions have won all 11 meetings, including five in Happy Valley, five in Memorial Stadium and one at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Following last year's 36-31 PSU victory in Bloomington (Oct. 20), five of the 11 matchups and the last two contests have been decided by seven points or less. The last time the two teams faced off in Happy Valley, Penn State earned a 52-7 win on Nov. 15, 2003.

    Pennsylvania Connection
    Dane Conwell is the lone player on the Hoosier roster from the state of Pennsylvania. The redshirt freshman linebacker attended Upper St. Clair High School and hails from Upper St. Clair.

    M*A*S*H Unit
    Junior free safety Nick Polk became the third starting member of the Hoosier secondary to suffer a season-ending knee injury last week, joining senior cornerback Christopher Phillips and junior strong safety Austin Thomas. Overall this season, Indiana has lost 29 starting games to 13 starters. Phillips has missed seven games followed by Thomas (5), Polk (3), junior QB Kellen Lewis (3), sophomore DT Deonte Mack (2) and junior LT Rodger Saffold (2). Junior wide receivers Andrew Means and Ray Fisher, junior C Pete Saxon, junior TE Brian Zematis, sophomore C Alex Perry, sophomore RG Cody Faulkner and redshirt freshman LG Andrew McDonald have each missed one game.

    The offensive line has been hit hard by injury as well, using six different starting lineups this season and five in the last five weeks. Saxon entered the Iowa game with 23 starts in 24 games at left guard, but he moved to center for the first time in his career and made four straight starts before missing the Wisconsin game with a head injury. He was replaced in the lineup by junior walk-on Mike Reiter, who has played all three interior positions and started at left guard against Central Michigan. Sophomore Jarrod Smith earned his first career start at left guard vs. the Badgers.

    Meanwhile, McDonald filled in for Saxon at left guard against Iowa and started at Illinois. However, he suffered an injury against the Fighting Illini asdid Faulkner. That paved the way for true freshman Justin Pagán to make his first career start at left guard and Reiter to earn his first career start at right guard against Northwestern.

    Pagán, who is the third true freshman to play this season, started at left tackle for the injured Saffold against Central Michigan. He has played left and right tackle in addition to left guard in his five weeks of action. To see the game-by-game starting lineups please go to page 21.

    Let's Play Two, Three... Or Four?
    Three Hoosiers took snaps under center against Central Michigan by design. Four Hoosiers took snaps under center vs. Wisconsin out of necessity. Junior Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell split time the first two-plus quarters against the Chippewas, while sophomore Mitchell Evans saw his first action at QB. Chappell threw for 156 yards and one score on 8-of-16, as Lewis completed 5-of-9 for 57 yards. Evans took two snaps under center and rushed both times, including a 14-yard TD scamper.

    Chappell played the first half against the Badgers before leaving with a head injury. He finished 11-of-20 for 126 yards and one score with six rushes for 24 yards and one TD. Lewis attempted to play but was forced to leave due to his injured ankle after throwing five passes and rushing once. Evans threw for nine yards and rushed five times, playing a majority of the second half before giving way to redshirt freshman Teddy Schell. Schell closed the ballgame, his first career appearance, completing one pass for six yards.

    Lewis has been bothered by his ankle injury since the Big Ten opener vs. Michigan State. He shared time with Chappell against the Spartans and Minnesota before missing the second half against Iowa. Chappell started and played the entire way at Illinois and against Northwestern before Lewis returned vs. Central Michigan.

    On the season, Chappell has started three games and played in nine overall with 1,001 passing yards, four passing TDs and three rushing scores. All four of his touchdown throws have been over 40 yards and the Bloomington South High School graduate has two games with one rushing TD and one passing score. Lewis has thrown for 982 yards with five TDs and a 59.9 completion percentage. He also has 418 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

    Mac Attack
    As Marcus Thigpen continues to deal with a nagging ankle injury and Bryan Payton is out with an ankle injury, running back Demetrius McCray earned a chance to take center stage against Wisconsin. The junior ran for 53 yards on just nine carries (5.9 yards per rush) with a long of 31 yards, but he made his biggest impact in the kicking game.

    Replacing Thigpen, who ranks second in school history and seventh in Big Ten history with 1,913 career kick return yards, McCray racked up 191 kick return yards, the second-highest mark in school history, on eight returns. Thigpen holds the school record with 197 at Illinois on Oct. 7, 2006.

    McCray finished the game with a career-high 244 all-purpose yards. The Brandon, Fla., native sits third in the Big Ten with a 25.4 kick return average (305 yards on 12 returns).

    Stepping In
    With starting safeties Austin Thomas and Nick Polk both out with season-ending knee injuries, the Hoosiers turned to seniors Joe Kleinsmith and Brandon Mosley to start in the secondary on Senior Day against the Badgers. Kleinsmith, who made his fifth start this season for Thomas at strong safety, reached double digits in tackles for the second time this campaign with 10 stops, eight solo. Mosley, who made his third start of the year for Polk at free safety, finished with a career-high and game-high 11 tackles and career-best eight solo stops.

    Kleinsmith led the Hoosiers with a career-high 12 tackles, eight solo, against Michigan State, while Mosley took advantage of his first career start with a career-best 10 stops and one pass breakup vs. the Spartans. Kleinsmith is tied for fifth on the team with 45 stops, 32 solo, and three pass breakups this year, and he collected his first career sack at Illinois. Mosley has 35 tackles, 25 solo, with one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.




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