Indiana Daily Student

Indiana football defeats Western Kentucky in overtime after special teams heroics

<p>Redshirt junior Connor Bazelak looks for an open reciever Sept. 17, 2022, at Memorial Stadium. Indiana defeated Western Kentucky University 33-30.</p>

Redshirt junior Connor Bazelak looks for an open reciever Sept. 17, 2022, at Memorial Stadium. Indiana defeated Western Kentucky University 33-30.

Indiana football won in dramatic fashion against Western Kentucky University Saturday afternoon. Following the trend of the season thus far, the offense struggled to get rolling early, with little to no run game through the first half. After falling behind by two scores in the second, the Indiana defense made timely plays to give the offense a chance.

The game needed overtime to choose a victor, and the Hoosiers came out on top 33-30. Senior defensive back Jaylin Williams blocked a field goal to set up the Indiana offense with a chance to win the game with any possible score. The offense took the field and went backward before senior kicker Charles Campbell came in to sink the game-winning field goal from 51 yards out. 

Coming off the Idaho game, Campbell went 4-4 on his field goals which all came from below 35 yards before the game winner.

“Last Thursday, Charles missed two field goals in practice, which he never does, and he missed two in the (Idaho) game,” Head coach Tom Allen said. “I was hard on him. That’s why I gave him the game ball, because today when this team needed him most, he was at his best.”

[Related: Indiana meets its match on offense, hangs on by a thread to escape in overtime thriller]

The Hoosiers offense, defense and special teams all made splash plays to contribute to the win.

The Indiana defense continued its trend of bending without breaking in the contest. Leading the defense was senior linebacker Cam Jones, who forced a fumble with 8:33 left in the fourth quarter and helped keep the communication going throughout the game.

“I just try to tell them to settle down and just play our game,” Jones said. “My phrase is, ‘We are built different.’ I emphasized that everyone needs to be on the same page and lock in. We were able to get the job done, but there are still some things to clean up.”

Another trend carrying over from previous games was missed tackles. The defense gave up a total of 545 yards of offense, 216 of which came on the ground and allowed the Hilltoppers six yards per carry. 

Jones finished the day with 13 total tackles, one tackle for loss and a forced fumble, which led to an Indiana field goal in the fourth quarter. As the game entered overtime, Jones went to the 50 yard line to represent the Hoosiers at the coin toss, where he elected to defer possession of the ball.

“Coach Allen kind of came up to me, and we looked at each other and both agreed: defense,” Jones said. “I was glad we were on the same page, and he led us out there and called some key plays that allowed us to be in the best position to win.”

As the majority of the Big Ten schedule is on the horizon, Indiana’s timely defense will be tested and its ability to make teams settle in the red zone may carry over.

Indiana will hit the road for the first time this season next Saturday when they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN 2.

Follow reporters Garrett Newman (@GarrettNewman20) and Jacob Spudich (@spudichjacob) and columnist Will Foley (@foles24) for updates throughout the game and the rest of the Indiana football season. 

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