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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

IU survives many penalties, laterals, blocked field goals

After a bobbled fourth-quarter snap on a Western Michigan punt, IU recovered the ball and stood 14 yards from sealing its second consecutive victory.

If only it were that easy.

Instead, the Hoosiers survived a wild finish Saturday at Memorial Stadium that included an intentional safety, multiple IU penalties and a multi-lateral final play.

The play briefly reminded some of the Cal-Stanford play in 1982, where Cal lateraled its way to a game-winning touchdown as the Standford band and fans stood in the end zone.

While IU (2-0) never trailed Saturday, winning 23-19 against Western Michigan, the fourth-quarter theatrics forced the Hoosiers into their second consecutive nail-biter of the season.

It began with the Hoosiers holding a 23-17 lead against Western Michigan in the middle of the fourth quarter.

After forcing a three-and-out, IU junior safety Jerimy Finch recovered a poor snap on the Broncos’ punt attempt inside Western Michigan’s red zone.

Five plays later, after the drive stalled at the 5-yard line, freshman kicker Nick Freeland still had the opportunity to convert a chip shot field goal for a two-score lead.

But Western Michigan blocked the low kick, earning yet another chance to take the lead.

On the ensuing drive, Western Michigan quarterback Tim Hiller connected on his first four pass attempts before the Hoosier defense began to unravel.

First, freshman defensive tackle Larry Black committed a late hit.

Two plays later, junior cornerback Richard Council was flagged for pass interference.

On the next play, senior linebacker Justin Carrington ran into Hiller after the play and was called for roughing the passer.

Without earning a single yard, Western Michigan moved from its own 24-yard line to IU’s 35.

After driving inside the Hoosier red zone, IU committed a third personal foul when junior linebacker Tyler Replogle grabbed Bronco running back Aaron Winchester’s face mask on a tackle.

IU coach Bill Lynch did not fault the players for the penalties at his post game press conference.

“It starts with me,” Lynch said. “There are some penalties that are great efforts by kids and that happens. We will get them straightened out, but I will hold my hand up on that one.”

With the defense about to allow Western Michigan to take the lead, senior defensive end Greg Middleton jarred the ball from Winchester’s hand and forced a fumble.
Carrington scooped up the fumble for IU.

“I saw the ball on the ground and I jumped on the opportunity,” Carrington said. “I wanted to take it all the way back.”

Carrington said he was relieved when the defense responded after committing four penalties. He was personally pleased with the outcome because he caused one of the penalties.

“Don’t quit,” he said, repeating former IU coach Terry Hoeppner’s motto. “We felt like that was one of our main weaknesses last year. Something would go wrong in the game, and we’d let ourselves go.”

This game, however, was far from over.

After IU’s drive stalled, the team decided to have sophomore punter Chris Hagerup run out of the back of the end zone, taking an intentional safety.

The plan to take a safety punt nearly backfired when Bronco returner Brandon West almost broke free for a long run, saved on an ankle tackle by Replogle.

The Broncos completed four lateral passes on their final play, advancing the ball to IU’s 29-yard line before Finch recovered an errant pitch to end the game.

IU defensive coordinator Joe Palcic said the team can take the end-of-game experience with them for the rest of the season.

“These games have been close,” Palcic said. “We’re learning how to win. In close games, our kids are gaining confidence. Down the road, when a game gets close, we can say: ‘Hey, you’ve done it before.’”

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