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Monday, May 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

In 38-21 defeat of Zips, IU intercepts four second-half passes

AKRON, Ohio – IU had its best second-half performance since early last season on Saturday.

Not that the 17-14 halftime lead was disappointing for the Hoosiers, but IU’s 21 second-half points were the Hoosiers’ most post-halftime points since its win against Murray State last September.

Junior quarterback Ben Chappell connected on a third-quarter touchdown pass and the Hoosiers’ running back corps contributed two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give IU its third consecutive win.

“We could’ve probably scored at least two more,” Chappell said. “We knew we could do it – it’s just a matter of doing it.”

In the first quarter-and-a-half, Chappell struggled to even complete a pass. After throwing an interception to open the second quarter, Chappell threw five consecutive incomplete passes, killing the next two IU drives, including a three-and-out that led to a blocked punt.

Many of his passes were overthrown or simply off-target.

But in the final IU drive of the first half, Chappell found a rhythm that carried past halftime.

He connected on four short passes leading up to a 10-yard touchdown throw to junior wide receiver Mitchell Evans, an intentional move by the team to get the offense connecting.

“We knew our short game was going to be there,” Chappell said. “That got us a couple cheap first downs with that, and we tried to run the ball, which we did very well.”

IU’s offense and defense did not slow down after the halftime break.

The defense collected four interceptions – four more than they had in the first two games – and allowed just one touchdown late in the fourth quarter after IU was firmly in control.

Chappell threw his second touchdown pass of the game to sophomore tight end Max Dedmond for a 24-14 lead. The last time the Hoosiers scored a third quarter touchdown came against Central Michigan last November.

This season, the Hoosiers mustered two field goals last week against Western Michigan in the second half and were shut out by Eastern Kentucky in IU’s home opener.

IU Running backs, junior Trea Burgess and freshman Darius Willis, each scored short rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to extend IU’s lead.

IU coach Bill Lynch said the second half play is a result of hard work in recent practices.

“I think today showed some of that improvement in the areas we’ve talked so much about – running the football and winning the turnover battle,” Lynch said. “And I just like the way the defense is playing.”

Lynch also credited Chappell, who finished with 163 yards and two touchdowns, for not getting frustrated with his early play.

“What I like so much about him is he really doesn’t care about his statistics,” Lynch said. “He’d hand it off every down if that’s what it takes to win a football game.”

Dedmond was happy the players did not have to hold their breath on the final play to determine the winner.

In each of the first two games, the outcome was not decided until the very end.
“We’ve been waiting on that – running the victory formation, kneeing the ball,” Dedmond said.

And for the dominating performance in the second half, Dedmond said it was emphasized in practice and then played out well on the field.

“It was nice,” Dedmond said. “We made a point of that. We’re not going to have a letdown in the second half.”

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