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Saturday, Feb. 24
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

IU defeats Western Michigan, 23-19

IU vs WMU football

The IU football team did almost everything wrong in a four-minute stretch at the end of its game against Western Michigan.

One missed field goal. Three personal foul penalties. Zero incomplete passes by Bronco quarterback Tim Hiller as he marched his team down the field.

But as the Broncos lined up five yards from taking their first lead of the game with less than three minutes remaining, IU senior defensive end Greg Middleton bailed out the Hoosiers by forcing a fumble. Instead of giving away its lead, the Hoosiers (2-0) survived to a 23-19 victory.

Down 23-17, the Broncos put together a 72-yard drive with assists from four IU penalties, including three personal fouls. However, on first-and-goal at the five yard line, Middleton jarred the ball from running back Aaron Winchester. IU linebacker Justin Carrington scooped up the ball and carried it for 16 yards.

On the ensuing drive pinned near its own end zone, IU chose to run the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety and take the safety punt.

Western Michigan had a final chance to win the game on a multi-lateral play that briefly evoked a similarly famous play in college football in IU coach Bill Lynch’s mind.

“Someone’s going to jump in the end zone and the band’s going to be there,” Lynch said after the game, referring to the 1982 Cal-Stanford game.

However, after several laterals, IU safety Jerimy Finch recovered an errant pitch to end the game.

Western Michigan had an earlier drive in the fourth quarter with the same 23-17 deficit. IU forced a three-and-out. On fourth down, Bronco punter Ben Armer mishandled a poor snap which Finch recovered at the 14-yard line.

IU did not capitalize, as the drive stalled at the 4-yard line, and kicker Nick Freeland’s field goal attempt was blocked.

Before the frantic finish, IU established the run game in building its lead. A point of emphasis after struggling last week to 73 rushing yards, the Hoosiers rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior running back Demetrius McCray posted a career high 134 rushing yards, including a 59-yard burst to the end zone in the second quarter to give IU a 17-7 halftime lead.

McCray emphasized the play of the offensive line in producing the rushing yards.

“I was seeing linebackers before I was seeing D-tackles,” McCray said. “And I get to the second level and make someone miss, that’s my job.”

Indiana marched down the field on its opening drive of the game, but stalled inside the 10-yard line and settled for a 21-yard Freeland field goal.

The coaching staff introduced a new offensive look on the first drive, lining up all-purpose wide receiver Mitchell Evans at quarterback. Evans rushed for 21 yards on the drive, leading the Wildcat and pistol offense formations. He finished with 35 rushing yards and one incomplete pass.

Lynch had planned to use this formation for awhile and Saturday afternoon was the team’s first opportunity.

“We may have not got big yardage,” Lynch said about the offensive package, “but that’s one more thing that on the sideline (the opposing coaches) have to draw up and make adjustments, so that gives us flexibility.”

The Hoosiers sustained another long drive early in the second quarter with an 11-play, 74-yard drive. It ended in Ben Chappell sneaking the ball for a 1-yard touchdown run, giving IU a 10-0 lead.

Western Michigan scored on the ensuing possession as Drew Burdi capped the 74-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.

After McCray’s long run gave IU a 17-7 halftime advantage, Western Michigan opened the third quarter with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Hiller to wide receiver Robert Arnheim, closing IU’s lead to 17-14.

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