Friday, November 9, 2007

Reflections on the Ball State victory

I took the picture in the previous post from the Club Level at Memorial Stadium. Thanks to my wife, who procured the tickets, we were able to make the trip back to B-town for the game. I must say the press box is an impressive place to watch a football game.

Not only is it enclosed, but has plush seats much more suitable than the benches in the grandstand and a free food buffet. There were several TVs in our section, one showing essentially what appears on the scoreboard video screen, another showing ESPN and a third showing Big Ten Network. And speakers posted at several places allowed us to listen to the IU football radio call.

They were not luxury boxes, but I preferred this set-up to a luxury box.

My only complaint was that I felt separated from the rest of the fans. It didn't seem polite to clap along with IU fight song and it was difficult to hear the band when they played. There were cheers for touchdowns and defensive stops, but it didn't seem the same as when I used to sit outside in the student section.

It still was a wonderful experience. I would highly recommend it.

Note: The picture above is of the construction project at Memorial Stadium, which will enclose the north end of the grandstand. I took this one as well.

IU football turning the corner

The Indiana Hoosiers play Northwestern Saturday in Evanston, Ill. For the first time in many years, an IU football game in November will have significant meaning. Check out this interesting story that marries the importance of the game with the heartache both teams have shouldered.

A lot is on the line for both teams. The Hoosiers (6-4) became bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 last weekend. They beat Ball State 38-20 in Bloomington to guarantee at least a .500 record. In '94, the team beat Purdue on the last week of the season to finish 6-5, but received no bowl bid. A win against the Wildcats would guarantee a 7-5 record, which puts them in much better position for that 13th game.

The Wildcats also are looking to get bowl eligible. At 5-5, the team needs to win their last two games to get to 7-5. Ten of the 11 Big Ten teams are .500 or better, meaning they all have a chance to become bowl eligible. The Big Ten has only seven bowl tie-ins and once those are gone, it is probably just dumb luck if a Big Ten team gets a bid.

This is the week for the Hoosiers to get win seven. I wouldn't want to go into the Bucket game with the additional pressure of needing a win to get a bowl bid. Northwestern is coming off two loses in a row, at Purdue and against Iowa. They beat Michigan State by two in East Lansing and Minnesota by one at home.

Northwestern has given up more points than it has scored overall this season. They score about 26 points per game and give up slightly more than 30. If the Hoosiers can get the offense going, especially early, they should have a good chance of winning, even though the game is on the road. IU averages more than 32 points per game and has given up about 27 a game.

Once again the key will be turnovers. Against Ball State IU started slow and got behind quickly because of two turnovers, including an interception on the first play of the game.

The IU defense has been playing well lately. They shut down Ball State after the early turnovers, only giving up 10 points in the first quarter while the IU offense got into rhythm. Then in the second quarter, the defense shut out the Cardinals, while the Hoosiers scored 21 points and took control.

In their six wins, the Hoosiers are giving up less than 20 points a game and scoring more than 41. However, in their four loses, the average is reversed -- the Hoosiers give up 37 points per game and score only less than 19. Minimal mistakes from Kellen Lewis and James Hardy and some quality defense should go a long way to get IU win number seven. That would be the most since 1993, when the team was 8-3 and lost in the Independence Bowl.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Interesting reading

For those who read this blog (all two of you), you all know that I'm a reporter. As it is my craft, I enjoy reading newspapers. Today's Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette had an interesting story by my friend Dan Stockman. He interviewed a convicted murderer in jail in Michigan City and wrote this, which ran today.

It was an impressive piece that reflected the research and all the work Stockman did. Give it a read, it is divided into several short chapters that make it much more readable.