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Friday, Dec. 1
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

6th loss comes in close contest with Chippewas

Senior running back Marcus Thigpen walks off the field following Indiana's 37-34 loss to Central Michigan on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.  Thigpen ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns.

Completely outmatched through the air, the IU football team could not stop Central Michigan’s backup quarterback Brian Brunner in a 37-34 loss to the visiting Chippewas.

Brunner threw for 485 yards and four touchdowns in the non-conference victory on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The loss was IU’s sixth of the season, dropping its record to 3-6.

“We don’t feel very good,” sophomore quarterback Ben Chappell said of his team’s emotion following the game. “They played good, but we just didn’t play well enough to win.”

Brunner’s 485 yards are the third-most IU has let up all time.

“He did a tremendous job,” IU coach Bill Lynch said in his post-game press conference. “He is a fifth-year senior and has been in a program that has won a lot of football games. They certainly play with a lot of confidence.”

To counteract Brunner’s success, the Hoosiers amped up their pass rush at the beginning of the second half.

And it worked.

Brunner was sacked five of his seven total times in the final half.

But Brunner and the Chippewas also adjusted and found receivers left one-on-one in man coverage as Hoosier linebackers blitzed.

“We were playing 75 percent of great football,” junior defensive end Jammie Kirlew said after the game. “And 25 percent of the time, they knew we were bringing pressure. They adjusted to it, and sometimes there was a mental breakdown, and they made a big play.”

Still, late in the third, the Hoosiers held momentum.

After big runs from backs Bryan Payton and Zach Davis-Walker, respectively, Chappell connected with tight end Max Dedmond for a 12-yard completion to the Central Michigan 3-yard line. On the next play, junior running back Demetrius McCray scored to give IU the 34-28 lead.

Senior kicker Austin Starr had his extra point blocked following McCray’s run. Starr had also just sent a 30-yard field goal attempt wide the drive before.

The Chippewas started their next drive off with a boom, when Brunner connected with Ontario Sneed for a 44-yard bomb on the drive’s second play.

Faced with third-and-34 following a penalty, an incompletion and a sack, Brunner dropped back, was flushed out of the pocket and ran for 16 yards, allowing kicker Andrew Aguila to bring them within three of IU at 34-31.

When a Chappell interception put the ball in Central Michigan’s hands, wide receiver Antonio Brown broke a big run, and Brunner connected on two more passes, brought the ball down to the IU goal line and gave his team the lead by punching the ball in on a sneak.

A missed point-after brought the game to its final tally of 37-34.

“We didn’t make enough plays offensively in the fourth quarter to keep the ball away from them,” Lynch said. “And a couple of plays in the kicking game certainly came back to hurt us. But I’ll give them credit; they came in here and played a good football game.”

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