Sports

IU 20, Cent. Michigan 13

Hoosiers win in season opener against Chippewas

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Sep. 2, 2005 

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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - The new-look IU Hoosiers liked the look of the final score Friday night, if not every play along the way.

Blake Powers threw for three touchdowns in his first start to help IU beat Central Michigan 20-13 in Terry Hoeppner's debut as Hoosiers coach.

"I love this team," said Hoeppner, who took over for the fired Gerry DiNardo after compiling a 48-25 record in six seasons at Miami (Ohio). "They're so happy. And the fight song sounded great in the locker room."

The Chippewas pulled to within 14-13 on freshman Ontario Sneed's 80-yard TD run just 18 seconds into the fourth quarter. IU responded with a 74-yard TD pass from Powers to Marcus Thigpen just 1:18 later.

The Hoosiers killed the clock on the ground and with an interference call on a fourth-down pass from Powers to James Hardy in the final minute.

"It's not good enough," second-year coach Central Michigan coach Brian Kelly said. "We can't continue to go down the road of `We played hard.' The bar is set too high for us to be satisfied with the way we played."

Penalties and missed opportunities hurt Central Michigan, which failed to score on first-quarter drives to the IU 36, 35 and 23.

The Chippewas scored first on a 30-yard field goal by freshman Rick Albreski with 6:10 left in the first half. An apparent IU fumble on the following kickoff was negated by a Central Michigan offside penalty. The Hoosiers seized that opportunity and took a 7-3 lead on a 21-yard pass from Powers to Hardy.

IU went up 14-3 on its next series when Matt O'Neal took Powers' 2-yard toss at the back of the end zone. The 6-foot-7 Hardy set up the touchdown with a one-hand grab for a 54-yard pickup.

"We had some first-game jitters," said Powers, who completed 17-of-35 passes for 276 yards. "All we needed was one big play to get our confidence going."

Hoeppner described a different approach: "I tried everything. "I hollered at 'em. I was nice to 'em. Finally, I said, `Here's the deal. You're going to walk home if you don't start making some plays."

Albreski kicked a 39-yard field goal that made it 14-6 late in the third quarter.

Sneed, a freshman, finished with 148 yards on 14 rushes.

IU's Yamar Washington finished with 108 yards on 20 carries.

 

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