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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Who will be Mr. October?

October – it’s the scariest 31 days of the year.

If you think baseball’s playoffs rule the month, think again. It’s make-it or break-it time for college football as teams enter the core of their schedules.

A stadium full of cheers can turn into jeers with one catch, one run, one tackle.

Seasons of hope can morph into seasons of shame with one blink of the eye, one turn of the head, one play of the game. Dreams, goals and wishes can ultimately be destroyed all in one day’s work.

And you thought Halloween fell in this month by accident?

It appears the ghosts and goblins didn’t wait until mischief night to shake the Hoosiers’ season. 

As if the loss to in-state foe Ball State wasn’t damage enough, the phantoms of yesteryear called for a second consecutive loss last week to Michigan State.

So, what’s your next plan of attack? Villains, a black cat?

This calls for some magic potion. Better yet, a Mr. October.

This is the month the Hoosiers have to unlock the coffin and bring back their fans. Moreover, now is the time IU must obtain some respect.

Starting on Saturday with Minnesota, IU doesn’t have as tough of a schedule in October as opposed to the final four games of the season. After a trip to the Metrodome, the Hoosiers will battle Iowa, Illinois on the road and Northwestern.

IU coach Bill Lynch desperately needs his squad to win at least three of four in that swing. And who better to lead the charge than the man of the month himself?

The following are the projected candidates – along with their running mates – for IU’s Mr. October:

1. Kellen Lewis and Ben Chappell

The dynamic duo of Chappell and Lewis can be jaw-dropping. Whether the two switch off under center or Lewis lines up out wide, the Hoosiers’ offense is at its best when unpredictable.

At his weekly press conference, Lynch said he will opt for either Chappell or Lewis depending on the opponent. If the combo excelled last week against a highly-talented Spartan team, Chappell and Lewis should both split time against Minnesota and the games to follow.

Not to mention, more throws to Lewis are expected this month.

2. Marcus Thigpen and the offensive line

If you weren’t impressed by Thigpen’s 78-yard touchdown run against the Spartans, then I don’t know what will. Don’t forget his impressive game against Murray State, when he rushed for 100 yards and scored twice.

I have full confidence in Thigpen this month, but Lynch has to give him more carries. In the Hoosiers’ four games this season, Thigpen only has averaged eight carries per contest. Eight carries, are you kidding me? His blazing speed is too precious to waste.

With offensive linemen Alex Perry and Roger Saffold back, the men up front are definitely improved from 2007. Lynch just has to utilize them to their potential and give Thigpen roughly 30 carries a game.

3. Will Patterson and the secondary

Junior linebacker Will Patterson is one of a few who’s actually doing his job on defense. He anchors an inconsistent unit with a team-leading 23 tackles.

You have to expect Patterson to continue his dominance if the Hoosiers don’t want to embarrass themselves this season. The secondary has to rally behind Patterson and limit opponents’ receptions.

No matter who the cornerbacks or safeties are, you have to hope the Hoosiers learned from their dismal outings against two quarterbacks, Ball State’s Nate Davis and Michigan State’s Brian Hoyer. This is the month they have to get it together.

No matter which duo wins, all three have to unite if the Hoosiers want to salvage their season. Right now, Lynch’s squad needs a player to step up. IU must play every game as if it’s the last chance to reach a bowl game.

No matter how haunted October is, everything is on the line.

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