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Tuesday, June 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Football wracked with injuries ahead of Penn State clash

IU receiver Terrance Turner is tackled by Wisconsin's Mike Preisler (17) and Aubrey Pleasant (8) during IU's 55-20 loss on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Last week, both the IU and Penn State football teams had dreams dashed.

IU lost its seventh game of the season, making it impossible for them to go to a bowl, while Penn State had its undefeated season busted, likely knocking the team  out of contention for the national championship.

The two will meet at noon Saturday in Happy Valley.

“We are not going to go to a bowl game; that’s not part of the equation,” IU coach Bill Lynch said at his press conference Tuesday. “But the opportunity to play at Penn State, play in that environment against this football team, I think our guys are going to be excited for that opportunity.”

Lynch went on to say none of the players in his program had ever made the trip to State College, Penn., adding that he thinks that will add to their excitement.

Lynch and his team will have more to overcome than his players’ unfamiliarity with the area, his opponent being ranked No. 7 in the country or even Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s 11-0 record against the Hoosiers. IU will have to battle through injuries that have plagued the team all season.

Helping that effort will be the progression health wise of quarterbacks Ben Chappell and Kellen Lewis.

“Ben was much better (on Monday), so we feel pretty good about that,” Lynch said. “Kellen is feeling better ... you know, that ankle comes and goes, and he had got it tweaked pretty good the week before at Central Michigan, but I think he’s doing better.”

Chappell led the Hoosiers in a tight first half last weekend against Wisconsin before being knocked from the game with a head injury.

Lewis stepped in after the half, but Lynch said it quickly became apparent he wasn’t fully healthy.

By the end of the game, the Hoosiers had used four quarterbacks in a 55-20 loss.
But the signal-caller position hasn’t been the only bruised up slot in the depth chart for IU this season. The Hoosiers moved through three different centers from the warm-ups to game’s end against the Badgers.

“(Offensive lineman) Rodger Saffold practiced (Monday),” Lynch said Tuesday. “That’s good news for us.”

Lynch added Saffold’s progression through this week would have to be closely monitored before he would be cleared to take the field against the Nittany Lions.

The secondary has taken a beating as well, as three of IU’s four starting back four all missed the Wisconsin game. With senior cornerback Chris Phillips and junior safety Austin Thomas both done for the year, two rather unfamiliar faces for Hoosier fans will be getting playing time in IU’s secondary.

Lynch said junior safety Collin Taylor and freshman safety Andre LaGrone will both contribute plenty.

“Here is what we are looking for,” Lynch said of Taylor. “We are looking for a good athlete who is really committed to Indiana football – Collin is one of those guys. He goes at it in the weight room and practice.”

Lynch went on to say Taylor, who is also listed as a wide receiver on the team’s roster, is a gifted athlete who can do whatever is asked of him to get on the field.

Joining Taylor will be LaGrone, who can work for IU as either a safety or corner.

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