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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Metrodome notoriously unkind to visiting Hoosiers

IU quarterback Kellen Lewis runs with the ball during a game verses Minnesota on Oct. 6, 2007 at Memorial Stadium. IU beat Minnesota 40-20.

The last time the IU football team knocked off the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Minneapolis, the price of a gallon of gas was about $1.08.

Now at .500 through four games, IU faces Minnesota, who “is a good football team and a much-improved football team from a year ago,” said IU coach Bill Lynch.

IU pummeled Minnesota 40-20 at Memorial Stadium last season, but this weekend, the team plays in Minneapolis, a place where the Hoosiers haven’t won in 15 years.
This time around, there could be some fresh faces taking the field for the Cream and Crimson.

“We’re going to have a lot of guys up there playing meaningful minutes that weren’t there the last time,” Lynch said.

One of those young players getting “meaningful minutes” that did not bear witness to IU’s 63-26 beating at the hands of the Gophers two years ago is freshman wideout Demarlo Belcher.

“I’m excited,” said Belcher, who was 5 years old when the Hoosiers last won in Minneapolis. “This is an opportunity I have been waiting on, so I need to take advantage.”

Belcher is currently fourth on the team with eight catches for 115 and is one of only three Hoosiers with a touchdown grab.

The Fort Wayne native and the rest of the Hoosier offense will face a tough task Saturday when they battle a defense that currently leads the Big Ten in turnover margin at plus-nine.

“They play with both four-down and three-down (defensive linemen), so that makes you work on different things,” Lynch said. “But I think overall, there’s some good athleticism in the back end of (their defense), where they run and they make plays and they create turnovers, and the turnovers that they created made a big difference in quite a few of the games. It always makes a difference but really got them going in those games.”

An offensive threat IU hopes will crack the Gopher defense is the pairing of quarterbacks Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell. IU unveiled the new offensive formation last week against Michigan State, where Lewis plays wide receiver, both in the slot and along the sidelines. 

“When they’re both out there, I think it certainly creates something for the defense, gives another way to get the ball in Kellen’s hands and we have a lot of confidence in Ben being the quarterback,” Lynch said. “So I think in that sense, it’s different.”

Like the new offense, Lynch hopes the Hoosiers’ play in the Metrodome is different from years past.

“I was there in 1993 when we won, and I was there in 2006 when we got hammered,” Lynch said. “So, I know both sides of it. I don’t know if there is anything to it.
“It’s a loud environment, it’s indoors, it’s a tough place to play, but that’s part of playing in the Big Ten. But you have to overcome all of that and have (your players) prepared for this week, and we’ve got to go up and be focused on what we do and not be worried about that.”

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