Indiana vs. W. Michigan – Pregame report

With arms raised above his head, Terry Hoeppner stood under a red “The Walk” banner on the west side of Assembly Hall as fans cheered the arrival of the Hoosier football team.

Just before 4 p.m., Hoeppner strode through the path of fans, lined up about five deep on each side, leading the Hoosiers toward Memorial Stadium for their season-opener.

Freshmen grinned and gave high-fives to fans as they experienced The Walk for the first time. Veterans like Chris Mangiero, Blake Powers and Nick Sexton looked serious and determined.

Afterward, dozens of fans started moving toward Assembly Hall, presumably to try to watch the pickup game to be played with recruits Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose. They were stopped by an announcement was made over the P.A. that Assembly Hall was closed. Some reporters and fans made it into Assembly Hall, but were prevented from entering the court area.

Traffic toward Memorial Stadium on cool, cloudy day was heavier than normal a couple of hours before the game. Indiana Assistant Athletic Director Chuck Crabb said the front row of tailgating spots was gone by 8:30 a.m. “They were eager to get in here,” Crabb

Lots of kids and adults were throwing footballs in the parking lot as Rock You Like a Hurricane played over loudspeakers as The Walk was about to begin. Unlike some Big Ten games, the early crowd in the parking lot was almost entirely composed of Hoosier fans with few wearing the colors of the visiting team.

One notable tailgater was former Hoosier lineman Adam Hines. Hines is working in Atlanta, Ga. selling medical equipment. “I love it there,” he said. He arrived in Bloomington Friday for the game.

Hines, a 2005 team captain, said it felt very strange to be back for the first time in a game he won’t be playing in. “I don’t like it,” he said.