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Monday, Feb. 26
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Ben Chappell leads IU's new pistol offense

IU-Eastern Kentucky Football

With a brand new offense emphasizing the running game, Ben Chappell’s arm played an uncomfortably large role in IU’s season opener.

IU’s junior quarterback threw for 326 yards, but also tossed two interceptions in the team’s 19-13 win against Eastern Kentucky.

“We knew we could do it,” Chappell said. “We threw it well.”

The IU coaching staff implemented the pistol offense – putting Chappell in a mini-shotgun formation – to allow the running backs to hit the line of scrimmage quickly.

However, the four-man rushing crew struggled for most of the game, gaining only 73 yards.

The running backs struggled from the outset. In his first carry as a Hoosier, former Indiana Mr. Football runner-up freshman Darius Willis fumbled after a 4-yard carry, killing the 52-yard opening IU drive. Willis finished the game with three yards on three carries.

In the fourth quarter, however, the running game allowed IU to run clock, sustaining a 6:44-minute drive, including consecutive 12- and 9-yard rushes by McCray.

“We didn’t run the ball well enough,” IU football coach Bill Lynch said. “That was probably a little disappointing, but again you have to give Eastern Kentucky (credit) – they weren’t going to let us run the ball.”

In place of the running game, Chappell connected on 27 of 36 passes, with one touchdown.

Chappell threw early and often to sophomore receiver Tandon Doss. Doss finished with eight receptions for 125 yards, including a 35-yard reception in the second quarter.

Sophomore Damarlo Belcher added six receptions for 97 yards and junior Terrance Turner had five catches for 57 yards.

“We wanted to run the ball a lot,” Belcher said. “But when they started biting on the run, that’s when we were going to hit them with the pass.”

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