Hoosiers defeat Indiana State 24-17
IU’s nine-game losing streak is no more.
In their first game of the year on Saturday night, the Hoosiers defeated in-state Football Championship Subdivision opponent Indiana State 24-17 to open the 2012 season 1-0.
“We need to be better, but I feel a lot better today than I did last night,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said following the game. “A year ago, the way we played, we would have found a way to lose that game (tonight).”
In his first start since IU faced Purdue last November, sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson showed Saturday night why Wilson has been so impressed with the second-year player recently.
Roberson passed for 280 yards on 26 completions, a career-best mark, as he led the Hoosier offense to his first win as a starter. In addition to his one passing touchdown, Roberson also ran for 19 yards and a touchdown.
“I was just listening to the coaches all week, all spring and all fall,” Roberson said. “The O-Line protected really well, wide receivers caught the ball and made plays, and it just felt good and comfortable.”
One of those plays Roberson was able to instigate was a first quarter 71-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Shane Wynn.
Not only was the pass longer than any Hoosier touchdown from scrimmage in the entire 2011 season, it tied the game at seven. ISU would not lead again.
“We caught them off guard a lot,” Wynn said. “We were able to throw the plays we wanted to throw at them, and we controlled the game.”
Despite the Hoosiers’ offensive productivity, the defense struggled to keep Indiana State out of Hoosier territory.
Led by running back Shakir Bell, who ran for 194 yards Saturday night, ISU reached IU’s side of the field on seven of it’s 12 possessions.
On it’s final three drives of the game, ISU was able to get the ball into IU territory each time.
“I wish we had been on it a little bit more,” Wilson said. “Our defense needs to be better.”
On one of those final possessions in which ISU forced the ball into IU territory, sophomore cornerback Brian Williams, making his first start of his collegiate career, earned his first career interception after a 4th-and-11 pass from ISU quarterback Mike Perish.
That fourth quarter interception in turn led to the Hoosiers keeping it’s 24-17 lead, and allowed over four minutes of time to be drawn from the game clock.
“I know there were a lot of key plays, but I guess mine was one of those that made a good impact on the game,” Williams said. “I just knew it was a good play for us, and I’m just happy that we got the win.”
Following Williams’ interception, the Sycamores were able to get the ball back and drove down the field to the IU 36-yard line with only two seconds remaining in the game.
As Perish’s Hail Mary pass sailed into the end zone, IU sophomore wide receiver Cody Latimer knocked down the ball, sealing the Hoosier victory.
Though not the most efficient in its victory, the Hoosier defense still compiled five sacks and two turnovers on the game.
“It’s a decent start, but I’d like to see those guys continue to play better,” Wilson said. “I thought they did well, but with those junior college linebackers and some other guys, it will be interesting to see where we are in two or three weeks from now.”
With Saturday’s victory, IU has now matched last season’s overall win total.
Though some lingering issues remain from the 2011 team, this Hoosier squad is not the same as what it once was, Wilson said.
“We made some of those plays last year where we were on the wrong side of the ledger,” Wilson said. “This year we’ve got to take those plays out, but we were still good enough to overcome those plays and get a W for win one. We’re ready to move forward.”
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