IU crushes Akron, 38-21

AKRON, Ohio — Ray Fisher recorded the first game-opening kickoff return touchdown in Indiana history and Hoosiers scored 28 straight points after giving up a blocked punt to beat Akron 38-21 at the Zips’ InfoCision Stadium on Saturday night.

It was a much easier victory than the first two the Hoosiers managed this season, both of which came down to the final play.

“We’ve been waiting on running the victory formation,” tight end Max Dedmond said, “where we can knee the ball down. It was nice. We were all excited to get in that formation. It was nice.”

Quarterback Ben Chappell overcame a shaky first half to throw for 163 yards and two touchdowns and the running game had another impressive week. Redshirt freshman Darius Willis rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Trea Burgess had 59 yards and a score. The Hoosiers sacked Akron quarterback Matt Rodgers three times and harassed him into three interceptions, two of which were picked by senior safety Austin Thomas.

Fisher’s return was for 91 yards. It was Indiana’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since 2007.

26 comments

  1. Nice game. Defensive front seven played well, and dbs too, except for a couple of bad missed tackles. Running game very good today too. Now that we know we can do it, let’s see it consistently. 3-0? I did not think it possible, and now the games just get more important.

    Go Hoosiers!!

  2. The continuing improvement made this game a piece of cake. I hope with more improvement we pass next weeks test also.

    It is good to see commitment to the run. I have one concern being the running backs may be setting up to deep. On some plays during the handoff the hole is open. As soon as the back clears the handoff the hole is closed or closing. Moving a foot or foot and a half closer to the line would help the timing into the hole. I watched the recording again of the game and still see what I thought I saw on several running attempts during the live broadcast. Anybody else observing that this is happening.

  3. Very impressed with IU’s D-Line today, as well as the debut of Darius Willis – this guy is going to be a stud. To bad the game vs. Michigan is at the Big House next week, but if IU continues to improve the Hoosiers might actually compete next week. GO HOOSIERS!

  4. All smiles here. The offense awoke from an early slumber to assert itself. The defense promised an interception, and boy, did it come through.

    The big test awaits in the Big 10, of course. But optimism is definitely the sentiment to go with.

    The Huskies, after an 0-12 season last year, just knocked off USC. Anything is possible! Go Huskies! Go Hoosiers!!!

  5. IU appears to be improving each week & Purdue is regressing- how sweet is that! I doubt IU will win at Michigan but have done what they needed to so far. The Big Ten looks pretty weak so 6-7 wins are certainly feasible.

  6. What impresses me is that our areas of deficiency are being improved game to game. Turnovers, penalties, 3rd down, red zone, running game. Anything that needs to be addressed, is being addressed.

    Chappell grew today. He had a bad spell but recovered. Well done for Ben.

    The defense is playing well. Both Replogles, Polk, Kirlew, Middleton, Thomas and Black stand out.

    Nice job. Let’s keep the flow going.

  7. I agree with most everything said above. The QB’s were sharp, very sharp. Defense played well, quicker than I remember. Love Kirlew! The second half collapse did not happen, yeah! Also, I have to give Canada and Lynch credit, the playcalling was pretty good. They mixed it up well and were not predictable for the first time since Canada took over the duty. I agree with the poster above about the backs setting up too far back, that is a problem with the pistol so we will see how that goes next week. The line blocked well for the run, big holes. I actually like Burgess the best of the RB’s. I like Evans throwing the ball almost as well as Chap, I love the dynamic of them both taking snaps. Let’s get special teams in order and teach Hagerup how to punt like he did last year! Great win!

  8. Please do more of these vids after games. Like them quite a bit.

    We played very well yesterday. We played like this team was supposed to play.

    It’ll be interesting to see how we play against Michigan. The hope is that we can shut down UMs running game and force Forcier to beat us. We’ve done a hell of a job stopping the run the past three games, so if we can keep that up against better talent, we’ve definitely got a shot in that game.

  9. Mike P

    I did a little research (silly me) on what we talked about yesterday.

    The 6 leading rushing teams in the country are Air Force, Florida, Michigan, Fresno State, Alabama and Auburn. All have played 3 games, and these teams feature a variety of different offensive schemes.

    Air Force has quite a few runners, but 2 that carry more than the others. They have 42 and 38 carries this year.

    Tebow is Florida’s leading carrier at 13 per game.

    Forcier is Michigan’s leading carrier and the next highest is at 9 carries per game.

    Fresno does have a “feature” back, but he only gets 15 carries per game.

    Alabama has a kid with 44 total carries and 2 others with 29 and 27 carries.

    Auburn features 2 backs.

    There was not a single runner on these six teams that was remotely close to even 20 carries per game.

    Indiana is 58 in rushing in the country (I would’ve guessed higher) McCray is our “feature” back, at 14 carries per game. Burgess, Willis and Payton combine for a little less than 18 carries per game.

    The times, they are a changin’.

    Getting away from the specific convo we had, I think we will probably see Payton eased out of the rotation as Burgess and Willis looked really good yesterday. McCray may start getting fewer carries too.

  10. Probably one of the biggest differences in this team and the 2007 team is the talent of the team in different areas. Are only big time talent then was Hardy, Porter, and Lewis. This year we have 9 different NFL caliber players: Saffold, Pagan (maybe the best prospect), Saxon, Doss, Middleton, Kirlew, Black, Mayberry, and Fisher. If I could have one past graduate back, it’d be Porter to pair with Fisher. Indiana’s defense has not been this talented since the days of Bernard Whittington and Damon Watts.

    The keys to IU being successful these next 3 big weeks is not beating themselves. I think they can realistically win one of the next two games if they don’t make mistakes, can get to the quarterback, manage the clock, and run the ball / stop the run.

    Go Hoosiers!

  11. GFDave,

    Thanks for posting those. Still you are not comparing apples to apples in talent levels or offensive schemes.

    I still say pick a feature back to get 20 carries a game, and a secondary back to get 12-15 carries a game. Then if you have a 3rd back who is exceptional at short yardage situations, run him in those.

    Especially if your goal is to be a run first, down hill team.

  12. Mike P

    Again I’m not comparing anything to anything and neither were you. I ‘m responding to your declaration:

    “Hoosier Grad, good running teams have a feature back that gets 25-35 carries per game, not 10-15”

    You did not mention talent levels, make comparisons or mitigate your statement in anyway, that’s why I questioned it in the first place.

    I’d say the top 6 rushing teams in the country are good rushing teams. And there are a variety of talent levels and systems: from Florida to Air Force. None of these teams comes close to fulfilling the one criteria you mentioned.

    Here’s the link to the rushing stats. You’ll see the top 20 is full of different sorts of teams.

    http://espn.go.com/college-football/statistics/team/_/stat/rushing

    Also Read the ESPN link from mmubell. More info on this topic.

    Now, on to Michigan.

  13. GFDave and Mike P, I hate to get in the middle of this, but I know where Mike is coming from and I understand GFDaves stance. IU is working 4 backs, 4. Willis, Payton, Mcray, and Burgess. Let someone have the high majority of the carries! Make someone THE MAN! Any coach knows that is the way you get the other kid (2nd and 3rd string) to work his butt off and the main guy gets confidence! Maybe times are changing, but 4 backs rotating is not going to cut it for the entire season. Maybe 2 but 4…

  14. GFD,

    I understand your point, but using the top 5 rushing teams through the first 3 games of the season isn’t exactly the right comparison.

    Use the 2008 statistics. You will see for yourself that the best rushing teams have 1 or 2 backs that dominate their carries.

    Navy was on top & they used a balance between 4 carriers running the option. With a lot of other carriers thrown in the mix. They carried the ball 7.7 times to every pass thrown. That would be the main reason they were #1.

    Tulsa was second, carrying the ball 1.6 times to every pass. They had a higher yard per carry average than Navy, in fact they only had 49 fewer yards on 41 fewer carries. The min back carried the ball 2.7 times for every carry of their second highest rusher in terms of carries, and that was their QB.

    Oregon was 3rd, they used two running backs to get the majority of their carries, and the 3rd was the QB. 168, 137 & 127 carries respectively. The next highest player in terms of carries had 35.

    Nevada, the 4th on the list. You know the team that Lynch went to learn the pistol from over the summer? They used 2 main ball caries, their RB with 236 carries, their QB with 161 carries. Next highest carry total, 66.

    Next on the list, at number 5 is Georgia Tech. Their running back had 200 carries last year, their QB was second with 172, the next highest total you ask? 81. After that they had one who carried 63 time, then it dropped to 23 and below.

    Air Force used 3 back and a QB pretty evenly to come in 6th.

    Florida at #7 was even between 3, but that was after they had Tebow carry the ball more than twice as much as anyone else on the team.

    At #8 was Oklahoma State, remember that team that kicked our behind in the bowl game in 2007? They used two main backs and their QB to carry mostly. The main back had 241 carries, their secondary back had 102, the QB had 147.

    Next are the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette checking in at #9. Their main back, 226 carries, their QB 144 carries, the next highest total of carries, 46.

    Wrapping up last years top 10 is Army. 231 carries by the RB, 194 by the QB, next highest total is 43.

    IU ranked 49th last year, not a single ball carrier had over 100 rushes on the season.

    One other thing to note, every team except for Army had a higher yard per carry average than Navy.

    From here on out, barring injury, McCray and Willis should pretty much split the carries, and whoever is moving and protecting the ball better should handle the work load.

    NOW we can move on to Michigan.

  15. GFDave, I have to ask you and I know you will research as you have done that lately…how many carries have backs like Dunbar, Thompson, A Smith, and L Williams shared in their time at IU? Just curious. I am assuming that they did not share many carries. In general when a team is not sold on one back, they let 2 share the carries. You best believe that if a team has a stud, they ride him hard. Thanks for the link to Forde, I like his writing and will read it tonight!

  16. J Pat,

    Burgess is 2nd on the team in number of carries. I really like Burgess, but I stand by my belief that McCray and Willis should get 80-90% of the carries from here out.

    They have the highest ypc of the 4 backs and the 2 longest runs to boot. Right now IU is averaging about 37 carries per game, these two should get at minimum 30 carries per game.

  17. Mike, I have to respectfully disagree but it is more of a running style thing for me, not a stat line. You might be right in the long run!

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