Indiana 37, Western Michigan 27

What a night.

A strange night.

A night full of excitement and bewilderment for the Hoosiers and their fans. How do you feel coming out of this win?

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Anyone watching on TV or listening on radio: what’s the report on James Bailey, he could barely walk off the field after making the tackle on that interception and his leg did not look good. Give us the update.

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INDIANA 37, WESTERN MICHIGAN 27

This game will not go quietly into this good night, and Western Michigan is to be given credit for that.

But, good golly, what the heck is Indiana doing? It went into halftime with a 24-four point lead but more than that looked the part of a Big Ten team squashing a MAC team.

Now it looks like the team you’ve come to know and perhaps at times loathe.

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Score update: Indiana 37, Western Michigan 21, 10:50 left in the game.

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Due to deadlines for the paper, I won’t be able to give much analysis on the blog this half. If you’ve got a question, post it in the comments section and we’ll get to it.

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HALF

The stadium is clearing out. Western Michigan fans have had enough. Indiana’s fans want more. They’re witnessing the early work of a team that most certainly seems bound to break the decade-old bowl drought.

A few stats.

Kellen Lewis has completed 12 of 20 passes for 136 yards and 3 TDs. He’s also run for 40 yards on six attempts.

Marcus Thigpen has gained 57 yards on 11 rushes.

James Hardy has three catches for 27 yards and two TDs.

And finally, the fireworks have started and the rain is coming down. Everybody will head home now. Except, maybe, for the Indiana fans, who will soak it up no matter how soaked they become.

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The surprises keep coming at Waldo Stadium. Just after the start of halftime, the crowd started going nuts, which seemed strange considering the halftime score. What had grabbed their interest was a naked young man on the field.

We’re a few decades past the heyday of streakers, but we had one here tonight. It took police a couple of minutes to catch him and take him off the field.

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INDIANA 31, WESTERN MICHiGAN 7 (0:03 left)

Indiana starts at midfield after another turnover and 11 plays, 34 yards and 2:34 later has a huge lead.

  • Sears gets into the game late on 3rd and goal from the 11 and still makes a nice blitz pickup, and Kellen Lewis finds James Hardy for the touchdown.
  • On 3rd and 2 from the 12, Thigpen takes the delay and picks his way forard for eight yards.
  • Lewis continues to make plays. His is not afraid. This time he rolls right, avoids some pressure and guns a pass into Andrew Means, who bobbles between two defenders and comes down with it.
  • But that’s OK. Lewis can do it. He’s already 10th all-time in the Indiana record book for TD passes, and he just pulled a patented Lewis escape job, reversing field a few times, ducking some talks, and running straight for the first down marker on 3rd down. He got there, of course.
  • Indiana can’t get anything going with the run up the middle.

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Western Michigan starts at the 26 but Mitchell Evans comes up with his second pick.

  • Western Michigan changes QBs again, going to Thomas Peregrin. He gets no help from his teammates, as his pass is tipped into the air for Evans to grab.

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INDIANA 24, WESTERN MICHIGAN 7 (3:52 second quarter)

Indiana begins with good field position and momentum and eventually punches it in for a 7-play, 47-yard, 1:47-long scoring drive.

  • OK. Fourth try at 3rd down. Now 3rd and goal from the ten for the Hoosiers. Four wideouts in the game. And . . . Lewis finds Hardy over the middle. Touchdown.
  • So on Indiana’s third try at 3rd and goal, with four wideouts in the game, Indiana starts too early.
  • The Broncos come again on the blitz, but are too early and get an offsides call.
  • Lewis stands in, makes a nice toss to Hardy and . . . it’s all for naught. Illegal shift penalty brings up 3rd and goal from the 10.
  • There’s that toss up for Hardy we called for earlier. He snares it, impressively, but does so out of bounds.
  • Indiana in the Power-I, three guys lined up behind Lewis. Doesn’t work though. Sears hit almost immediately.
  • Western Michigan’s losing it a bit here, as it just took a stupid personal foul penalty after stopping Thigpen on a stretch play. He stepped out of bounds and a second later absorbed a late hit.

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Western Michigan starts on Indiana’s 42 but squanders a nice return by fumbling the ball away.

  • Burdi doesn’t do much better than Hiller, fumbling on a sack by Chris Phillips. Will Patterson recovers.
  • New QB for the Broncos. It’s Drew Burdi, who’s listed as third string.
  • Starr kicked into the wind and West took it 50 yards, as his wedge went right and didn’t have much work to do. He had a clear path until Starr himself made the tackle.

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INDIANA 17, WESTERN MICHIGAN 7 (6:21 second quarter)

Western Michigan starts at its 18 but Hiller fumbles and Greg Middleton returns it for a touchdown.

  • There’s that pressure, and there’s what it can cause. Greg Brown gets to Hiller 12 yards deep and causes a fumble, which is picked up and run 44 yards by Greg Middleton for a touchdown.
  • Indiana’s defensive line must start getting pressure. On 3rd and 9 from the 19, Hiller had 10 seconds — at least — and finally dumped a pass to his tailback, Brandon West, who by then was just chillin’ nearby. Of course Indiana’s secondary and linebackers had been scattered by then.

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Indiana starts at its own 12 and can’t get passed midfield due to Western Michigan’s blitzes.

  • Michael Hines with a nice punt. Excellent hang time but Tracy Porter ran under it and actually got hit by the ball, taking away the chance for a good forward roll to pin WMU even deeper.
  • On 3rd and 15 from the 45, Indiana can’t give Lewis enough time to stand int he pocket. He rolls out and, appearing a bit frazzled, throws it away. Looks from here like he had time to make something happen — isn’t that easy to say when no 250-pound backer is chasing you? — but that Lewis is feeling the pressure.
  • Western Michigan is going after Lewis on every play now.
  • On 3rd and 8 from his own 40, Kellen Lewis stands in as the Broncos send a full blitz. He sees James Baily breaking free from is man coverage and throws a pass his way. E.J. Biggers grabs Bailey and is called for holding. Excellent composure from Lewis, and nice fight by Bailey.
  • On 2nd and 10, Indiana hands to Demetrius McCray for a run up the middle. Nothing going.
  • Ray Fisher stretches up to make a nice grab — remember he’s only 5-9 to start — then takes a screen and busts it for a 1st down.

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Western Michigan starts the drive at its 25, marches down into Indiana territory before throwing an interception.

  • Evans stands back at the goal line and intercepts an errant Hiller pass. Brian Faires makes up for his previous miscue and forces Hiller into a rushed pass.
  • Hiller is handling pressure much better now. He just danced away from a tackle and found RB Brandon West crossing the field for a first down. Hiller missed all of last year with an injury after being named MAC Freshman of the year in 2005.
  • Thomas gets up under his own power, but he’s clearly shaken. He’s being looked at now. Welcome to the big time, Mitchell Evans. The true freshman, who began his career here in August as a quarterback, is in at strong safety.
  • Austin Thomas runs into the hole for that tackle and makes a great hit, but he’s not moving. Very scary scene here. Looking at the replay, it looks worse than I originally thought. This is going to take some time.
  • Another penalty hurts Indiana, this time and offsides by second string RE Brian Faires. The Hoosiers, as the coaches have promised all along, are rotating heavily on the line. The whole second unit is in for this drive right now.

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INDIANA 10, WESTERN MICHIGAN 7 (0:10 first quarter)

Indiana starts at its 25-yard-line and goes 74 yards in 7 plays and 3:33.

  • That was Sears’ first career TD reception.
  • What a gutsy call. Lewis bootlegs against his body on 4th and 1, finds Sears, who’d been the up back, in the flat and Sears rumbles in for a touchdown.
  • Lewis appeared to have the 1st down on that scramble but apparently stepped out a yard short. Indiana calls a time out to talk about it.
  • Two straight hand offs to Thigpen and again he’s going right both times. Gains a total of four yards. Not breaking tackles at all.
  • On 3rd and 4 for the Hoosiers from their 32, Lewis drops back and has plenty of time and lofts a 35-yard bomb to Andrew Means, who actually had to slow down to catch it. He was still a few yards ahead of his defender. Dude’s fast.
  • So, that delayed hand off to Thigpen? Yeah, they figured that one out. He’s stuffed, losing 3, on the first play of this drive.
  • Ray Fisher deep for this return, curving his way ahead to the 25.

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WESTERN MICHIGAN 7, INDIANA 3 (3:43 first quarter)

  • Western Michigan starts at the 20-yard-line and embarks on an epic 16-play, 80-yard drive that lasts 7:10.
  • Hiller finds true freshman Anthony Middleton completely uncovered out in the flat. Had to be a missed assignment. He rolled into the end zone easily. Looks like the Broncos are really bringing in talented tight ends.
  • OK. Middleton makes me looks foolish, getting to Hiller for his 3rd sack of the year.
  • Indiana’s defensive line just isn’t getting a push. On 3rd and 13, Western Michigan held long enough to allow Hiller to notice that he had nowhere to throw. By then his offensive line had pushed Indiana wide, and he squirted up the middle for a first down.
  • Wow. THAT was pursuit by Geno Johnson on the first-down screen pass.
  • And Simmons really hurts Indiana with a fabulous catch over the middle for a first down.
  • Hiller with the squib kick, but Indiana is offsides on the play. Have I mentioned the slopiness of this contest yet?
  • Poor execution by both teams here, so far, as Western Michigan forces itself into a 3rd and 13 with its third false start.
  • On 1st and 10 from the Indiana 36, Hiller finally feels some pressure and is forced out of the pocket. His subsequent throw is off the mark, badly. The Hoosiers need to get him moving.
  • So, this Hiller kid can pass, and this Jamarko Simmons fella can catch. Perfectly executed play over the middle exposes Indiana’s youth at safety.
  • Western Michigan again opens a drive with a quick pass out to the flank, but then keeps it on the ground to pound out a first down.

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INDIANA 3, WESTERN MICHiGAN 0

  • Austin Starr knocks a 21-yard through the uprights to cap an 11-plays drive that went 54 yards and lasted 3:36.
  • On 3rd and 3 from the 3, Lewis rolls right and tries to find Sexton in the back corner but is off target. Indiana didn’t, after all, throw toward Hardy. Starr on for the kick.
  • On 1st and 10 from just beyond the ten, Thigpen gains three, against bouncing right. Wonder if Indiana saw something there on tape and is trying to really work that side?
  • Indiana calls a timeout here on its first trip the red zone. Bill Lynch must want to think about his approach here. One of the three plays will certainly be a pass up for grabs toward Hardy, right?
  • On 3rd and 1 from the 11, Sears charges into the line and gains the yard he needs.
  • Thigpen takes a draw, again shows some toughness pushing up through the line and squirts out for a 9-yard gain.
  • But then Thigpen surges into the line and is stopped, leaving Indiana with a 2nd and 10.
  • On 1st and 10 from the 38, Marcus Thigpen breaks a tackle at the line, then cuts outside for an 18-yard gain.
  • On 3rd and 10, Lewis scrambles for the first down, ending up 19 yards downfield. Superb protection by the offensive line.
  • Mental mistake by Bailey, dropping a pass on a quick slant. The ball was a little behind him but still catchable. Then, Indiana compounds that with a false start.
  • Porter on the return for Indiana. Does a nice job picking through for a nice return.

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Western Michigan starts at 20-yard line, goes three and out and punts to Indiana.

  • On 3 and 15, Hiller has a good six or seven second to throw the ball. Nice work by him to role out and find Brenden Ledbetter, the Broncos athletic tight end. He broke a tackle and got close the first down but came up ultimately a yard short.
  • Broncos’ first successful offensive play is a quick bubble screen, well defended by the Hoosiers. Hiller tried another quick pass, this one to the far side, on the second play but didn’t get the ball there in time. Indiana had it well defended anyway.
  • Then, Western Michigan showing some major nerves with two — yes two — penalties for moving early.
  • Austin Starr kicks the ball into the end zone to start the game. Good start for him after having trouble keeping the ball inbounds last weekend.

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About 10 minutes until kickoff here. Doug advised you on the changes to both team’s lineups in a previous post, so I’ll refrain from repetition here. Waldo Stadium is pretty full and there’s definitely a buzz out there (pun intended.) Indiana fans occupy one corner of the stands and are sprinkled elsewhere throughout. Coin about to be flipped at the 50.

6 comments

  1. Wondering if any of the radio stations carrying tonight’s WMV vs. IU game stream over the internet?

    I tried WIBC, but it’s silent. Any other ideas? Thx.

    – A fan in California

  2. Jimmy, it’s hard to say, there’s a smattering of red throughout the crowd and then one section of IU fans sitting together. So maybe a couple thousand of the 30,000 plus here?

    Jim, I don’t have an answer for you. Can anybody else help out?

  3. A good win…but disheartening to see how awful we were in the 2nd half. Seemed like the players thought the game was over at halftime. Had trouble handling the blitz all game…had some VERY POOR play calling…hope we can pull it together because Akron won’t lay down for us!!!!

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