Indiana head coach Tom Allen took the podium after a 33-30 overtime win over Western Kentucky University on Saturday at home and released the staff’s award winners from the week. The Hoosiers now turn their attention to a program that has been on a steady rise in recent years in Cincinnati. Allen mentioned how even though the Bearcats had high roster turnover, the film on them speaks for itself.
Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Caleb Murphy received the Offensive Player of the Game award after coming in on short notice. Following an injury to junior starting center Zach Carpenter, Murphy was tasked with playing a hefty number of snaps.
“That’s something the staff felt strongly about, just because he wasn’t expected to play such a large amount of reps,” Allen said. “With Carpenter going down during warmups and allowing him to play all those snaps, he did a great job.”
On the other side of the ball, senior linebacker Aaron Casey took home Defensive Player of the Game.
Casey has primarily played every season of his eligibility as a special teams member, but he has seen opportunities as a linebacker periodically over the last two years. He made his first career start last November against Rutgers and has been productive since then.
“Really proud of his progress and his development as a player and person,” Allen said. “He played his best football game, I believe, since he’s been here.”
As for the special teams selection, the staff decided to split the honor between two players. Senior kicker Charles Campbell sank a 51 yard field goal to win the game following fellow senior defensive back Jaylin William’s block of the Western Kentucky field goal to start overtime.
Allen now turns his attention toward Indiana’s first road game of the season against the University of Cincinnati.
“I would place a high value on the game without question,” Allen said. “My approach— it’s been this way since I’ve been here— is that it’s the biggest game of the season because it is the next one.”
Cincinnati is coming off a highlight season where they became the first Group of Five conference school to make the College Football Playoff since its inception. This year, Cincinnati has new players all over the field after their quarterback, running back, and top cornerback from last season all departed for the NFL. They have played well this year with all the new faces, but have lost a game early in the season to Arkansas.
“Road games are always big and important and hard,” Allen said. “To play a playoff team, it’s an awesome opportunity.”
After getting off to a 3-0 start with some late game heroics, Indiana will face a true test in its first road matchup of the season Saturday.