Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hoosiers win, but it's not pretty

After scoring two touchdowns, a field goal and a safety in the first half, the Hoosiers are shut out in the second, yet still hold on to win by six, 19-13. The key play was a forced fumble on the goal line by the Hoosier defense that preserved the six-point lead.

But the Hoosier offense fell asleep in the second half, which will be a major problem this season if not fixed.

Ben Chappell had a decent day, throwing for 327 yards and a touchdown, but also had two interceptions. I was really impressed with the IU receivers, who surprised me with some of their catches and speed. Doss, Belcher and Turner appear able to run after the catch and aren't afraid to make a catch in front of a defensive back.

Something has to be done about the running game. The Hoosiers rushed for 73 yards, averaging 2.4 yards per carry. It caused real problems trying to run the clock out late in the game.

It was an ugly win, but as they say, it still counts. However, this performance will not beat any Big Ten team.

Next week: Western Michigan comes to Bloomington at noon Sept. 12.

Hoosiers still lead after third, 19-13

EKU crept closer in the third quarter and exposed some weaknesses in the Hoosiers defense.

The defense allowed a 36-yard run on 3rd and 11 that eventually led to a field goal. The only good news is instead of touchdowns, the Hoosiers are holding the Colonels to field goals.

And while the EKU offense is improving in the second half, the IU offense is sputtering. Chappell only threw for about 25 yards, including one interception. The Hoosiers now have three turnovers in the game.

I hope IU's defenders aren't tiring, because they need to step up in the final quarter.

IU up by 9 at halftime

Indiana leads Eastern Kentucky 19-10 at halftime. I'm starting to believe, just a little bit.

The IU offense is clicking. Maybe that's because EKU's defense is not a Big Ten calibre unit, but I'm starting to wonder if the Hoosiers could give a few more teams fits this season.

It's the speed on the outside that's impressive. Tandon Doss is the prime example. Doss has accounted for a huge chunk of the IU passing game with 7 catches and 117 yards receiving. Quarterback Ben Chappell has thrown for 214 yards.

The only bone I have to pick is it seems like IU is dominating this game on both sides of the ball, yet only leads by nine points. The Hoosiers gave EKU seven easy points on a blow coverage and then held them to a field goal after EKU returned a punt inside the 20 yard line.

The offense has to keep the foot on the pedal in the second half. Hopefully, the defense will tighten up as well.

The box score is available here.

First Quarter: IU leads

The Hoosiers lead Eastern Kentucky 9-7 after the first quarter.

The defense forcing a safety was a welcome change from last season, especially after the offense turned the ball over on its first series. Other than the one big mistake, the defense played pretty well. They only gave up 67 yards of total offense, all of it coming on one pass completion.

Offensively, the wide receivers have been impressive. There is some speed there, among Terrance Turner and Tandon Doss, and Damarlo Belcher made a heck of a catch on 3rd and long to keep a drive going. The running game has been at least servicable, but it's clear the Hoosiers' strength is going to be in the passing game. Chappell threw for 112 yards in the quarter.

Hoosiers still driving in EKU territory to start the second quarter.

Pre-game meal

We are less than 45 minutes until kick-off of Indiana-Eastern Kentucky. Here is an interesting story to chew on while you wait for the game to start. Interesting trends for both teams are here.

I'll be providing commentary throughout the game here and on Twitter as the need warrants.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The 2009 season: The rule, not the exception

When I asked my Facebook friends their thoughts on the upcoming IU football season, I set the over-under for wins at four. Not surprisingly, everyone took the under.

After looking at the play in camp, predictions for the rest of the conference, as well as the
schedule, I'm going to predict a push: the Hoosiers will go 4-8.

IU beats Eastern Kentucky, loses to Western Michigan, and beats Akron in close games to start the season 2-1. The team heads to Michigan, a team still rebuilding, learning a new offense and now reeling from internal problems
outlined in the Detroit Free-Press, and upsets the Wolverines 24-23. Michigan's players and coaches expect to steamroll the Hoosiers, only to find a team looking to end its decades long losing streak at Michigan Stadium.

The Hoosiers move to 3-1, and the word bowl is thrown around. Then Ohio State comes to town favored by at least 21 points and reminds the Hoosiers where they stand in the Big Ten power structure. The Buckeyes more than cover the spread and IU is 3-2. The loss lingers in Charlottesville, Va., as the Hoosiers lose to Virginia by 10.

The Hoosiers find themselves at .500 at Homecoming, when Illinois is in Bloomington. The Illini offense is too strong and IU loses its third in a row.

The slide continues with a close loss at Northwestern, followed by a convincing loss at Iowa. Wisconsin then comes to Bloomington with the Hoosiers at 3-6 and mauls them behind their huge offensive line and power running game.

The game at Penn State is a mismatch and IU leaves with another loss. The Hoosiers enter the Bucket game at 3-8 and looking for a new coach. Athletic Director Fred Glass decides before the game that Coach Bill Lynch's contract will not be renewed, but lets him and his staff finish the season.

In a both a tribute to Lynch and payback for last year's embarrassing loss in West Lafayette, the Hoosiers squeak by Purdue to regain the Old Oaken Bucket and finish at 4-8.

It's another sub-par season for Indiana, but really that is the rule in the last 20 years, not an exception. Once again we hope for next year and eagerly await basketball season.