____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>A new IU baseball/softball complex has been in the plans of the IU athletics department for more than four years, but its construction progress has been plagued by a series of funding redirections toward other projects.Now, with a tangible goal of its completion sometime in 2013, the spring sports might finally get new playing and practicing digs akin to football’s North End Zone project and basketball’s Cook Hall.But a new blip on the IU athletics’ financial radar showed up with Tuesday’s hiring of football coach Kevin Wilson. His seven-year, $8.4 million contract is by far the largest IU has ever doled out to the football program.It means that IU, with the lowest athletic budget among public schools in the Big Ten, could have had to figuratively pump thunder from a drought to pay Wilson and his future staff, which also figures to be paid much better than the previous administration.IU Athletics Director Fred Glass quelled these fears during Tuesday’s press conference to announce Wilson’s hiring. Glass said IU both significantly restructured a marketing contract with Learfield Sports and calculated new expected revenue from the Big Ten thanks to 2011’s inaugural Big Ten football championship game.As a result, IU isn’t paying Wilson on hopes and prayers that the new coach will drive significant increases in football revenue from attendance and other sources.“It is not that we are wishing or betting that it will come with more ticket sales or anything like that, although with the success that I anticipate, that will happen,” Glass said. “That would be irresponsible to bet on it to come that way.”With the newly found and anticipated money, Glass expects no more delays to getting the baseball and softball complex started. He said he has been trying for quite some time to create a funding structure for the project, which is back on track after derailing slightly to accommodate the football program.This good news, was not unexpected for IU baseball coach Tracy Smith.“I think Fred has made this (baseball/softball complex) the No. 1 priority. Nothing he’s done has made me change my feelings from that,” Smith said.Smith, who coached with Wilson at Miami of Ohio in the 1990s, was extremely supportive of the hire during an interview in his office Tuesday.If Wilson transforms IU’s football program in a positive way, the 23 other sports in IU’s athletics department stand to benefit. Glass has said many times that he believes football is the key cog to funding IU’s athletics department in terms of both resources and attention.“I do think it’s very important that these dollars come from a steady revenue stream that aren’t tied to attendance with basketball or football or anything like that,” Glass said. “That will all be gravy that will help the entire department. That tide will rise all boats.”
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____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Abruptly, Kevin Wilson was in Bloomington.Touching down on runway 35, the private twin-engine jet carrying Wilson and Bloomington’s newest famous family arrived at Bloomington’s Monroe County Airport seven minutes early Tuesday. The landing jolted a few reporters awaiting his arrival into action after they missed its descent.In a sense, the surprise landing was akin to Wilson’s hiring as the newest leader of IU football. The coach doesn’t fit the bill of a big name in the college ranks, but yet it took mere days — and few other candidates, if any — for IU Athletics Director Fred Glass to make the eye-raisingly quick hire.Wilson, despite not finding a preliminary spot on the list of rumored, potential hires after rounds of media guesswork, was officially introduced as IU’s newest football leader Tuesday with a hefty salary and seven-year contract in his pocket.“I think it demonstrates part of the value of hiring Chuck Neinas,” Glass said of the consultant he used to locate IU’s next coach. “(Neinas) was the first to bring Kevin’s name to my attention.”But the North Carolina-born coach, with a hint of a southern drawl, however — surprising to followers of IU football — already had ties to IU’s Athletics Department.Wilson’s pedigree includes time at a pair of traditional black colleges as an assistant before he was hired as an offensive assistant at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Wilson’s most recent background was as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.Often nicknamed the “Cradle of Coaches,” Miami has employed an incredible array of successful coaches, ranging from legendary Ohio State coach Woody Hayes to former IU coaches Bill Mallory and Terry Hoeppner.Such begins Wilson’s inadvertent but very real connections to IU.While at Miami, Wilson worked alongside Hoeppner for several seasons — and in a very direct way.“Terry was the defensive coordinator, and Kevin was the offensive, so they had some battles (on the field),” Hoeppner’s widow Jane said with a smile after Tuesday’s announcement.Terry Hoeppner tragically passed away in June 2007 after coaching IU for just two seasons.“We lived near each other for 10 years. He lived in our neighborhood,” Jane Hoeppner said about Wilson. “When I heard there was a chance that he might get the job, I was just beyond thrilled.”Wilson only needs to look toward IU’s Sembower Field to find another acquaintance from his days at Miami.Tracy Smith, IU’s baseball coach, was a member of the RedHawks baseball staff during part of Wilson’s time in Oxford.“You have to remember Miami University in Oxford, Ohio is not a real big place,” Smith said. “I knew him from his coaching days there. We weren’t great buddies, but we knew each other professionally. We certainly knew each other well enough to sit down and talk.”Smith said Tuesday he thought bringing Wilson, and more narrowly his demeanor, to IU football would work out well.“The thing you always got from him was that, yes, he was always a very intense guy, very direct,” Smith said. “I think what everyone is going to see from him is that he is very focused. ... He’s a very confident guy, and he’s been-there-done-that in the Big Ten.”Smith credited Glass’ outlined process with bringing in a coach he feels will fit well into the IU athletics culture.“As Fred always says, take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously,” Smith said. “That’s kind of how I would see Kevin. I think he’s going to come in here and have an understanding of what he wants to do, but he’s going to bring other people along with him. As my wife Jamie said, he’s unpretentious.”Former IU coach Bill Mallory — credited with leading the Hoosiers to six bowl games — never worked alongside Wilson but formerly mentored and worked with Wilson’s boss both at Miami and Northwestern in the late Randy Walker.“Randy always spoke very highly of Kevin when he was coordinating his offense there at Miami and then at Northwestern,” Mallory said. “I followed (Kevin) through Oklahoma. In fact, my son Doug was at Oklahoma State so he and Kevin knew each other that way, too. They’ve got a good man.”Mallory said Wilson draws his style of football coaching from a pretty astute heritage.“I think we all come from a similar background and approach to the program, I think the same with John Pont,” Mallory said about the former coach. “He goes back to Woody (Hayes) and that kind of drifted down. The impact it had on him had an impact on me. I took it with me, I know Randy carried it on with him. Kevin’s the same way.”Wilson and Glass made no hesitation to draw upon the indirect connections during Tuesday’s press conference, and it left Wilson to make one simple summation of why IU felt like the right fit.“I knew this was a great place, a place I could be a part of,” Wilson said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>There’s no shying away from the fact that Kevin Wilson’s salary with IU is an enormous upward climb for the program. According to the terms Wilson and IU athletics director Glass have agreed to — there’s no final contract as of yet — Wilson stands to make $1.2 million per year at IU with a seven-year deal.In comparison, former IU coach Bill Lynch made $658,750 per season according to the 2009 USA Today Salary Survey.Where will IU get the money?“There’s really two sources on that,” Glass said, before noting that the money is not coming from hoped-for increases in tickets sales. “It’s not wishing. ... I think that would be irresponsible.”Instead, the money is coming from a renegotiated marketing agreement with Learfield Sports as well as expanded revenues coming to IU via the Big Ten Network.To get that go ahead, Glass had to get approval of the funds from IU president Michael McRobbie. The school president was involved with Wilson’s hiring and met with the new coach Monday in Indianapolis.“Ultimately the allocation of those funds goes through the University,” Glass said. “And while I think the University will appropriately retain some of those for non-athletic purposes, they will let us have enough to do the things that we need to do to show our commitment to the football program.”Straight businessThe demeanor of Wilson never delineated much from a business-like approach during the announcement. His answers concerning the day-to-day operations of his team followed suit — and might have included an off-hand reference to former coach Bill Lynch’s practice style regularly avoiding full contact.“The place I come from, shoot, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days,” Wilson said. “We’re going to learn how to win on a daily basis.”‘We’ll meet again’With Nebraska having played their last game in the Big 12 against Wilson’s Oklahoma Sooners, he was asked his thoughts about having to face Nebraska again when they joined the Big Ten. Although Nebraska and IU are not scheduled to play each other for the next two seasons, Wilson confidently believed their paths could still cross.“If they’re good enough to win their division, then we got a chance to see them in the next two years,” Wilson said with a straight face amidst a roar of laughter from the crowd referring to the newly-created Big Ten championship game for 2011. “So we’ll see if they can get there.”A family manSeated in the front row for the announcement was Wilson’s wife Angie and their five children who made the trip Tuesday from Norman, Okla. To close the press conference, Wilson had them all stand while he introduced each by name — somewhat to the chagrin of his 14 and 11-year-old daughters.“We’ve already enhanced our attendance right there,” Wilson joked.Players present, unavailableWilson met with IU’s current players in a meeting just before Tuesday’s press conference, and several of them watch Wilson’s announcement inside the Henke Hall of Champions.Those players included wide out Tandon Doss, linebacker Jeff Thomas, offensive lineman Justin Pagan, defensive tackle Larry Black, linebacker Chad Sherer and others. However, none of the players were permitted to talk with the assembled media.Offensive strategy a fluid ideaWilson has been blessed with the likes of working with Heisman-winning NFL quarterback Sam Bradford and All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson. But at IU, Wilson will be working with less experienced ball offensive players such as sophomore tailback Darius Willis and redshirt freshman quarterback Edward Wright-Baker.Instead of being set on running the oft-used spread as he did at Oklahoma, Wilson is not willing to pinpoint a specific style of offense that he will incorporate. Wilson’s style of play will be determined from the personnel.“We’ll play to what we can block, and we’ll play to what the quarterback can handle,” Wilson said. “If we can’t do it or we can’t block, then it doesn’t matter.”Wilson begins pitch to current IU recruitsLynch was set to bring in his highest rated recruiting class in 2011. With Lynch’s termination, several of these recruits have either opted to go elsewhere or are evaluating their options.Wilson, who will honor all prior commitments, is now faced with the task of convincing the on-the-fence recruits to stay committed to IU.“A commitment is no different than getting engaged. We can all bail out if want to until we walk down that aisle,” Wilson said, again drawing laughter. “But in the end, they picked a great school, they picked a tremendous community in a Big Ten environment, and I don’t think they’ll do anything but be excited about what we’re going to put on the field for them.”Fiesta Bowl plansWith Oklahoma preparing to take on Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl, Wilson’s status as OU’s offensive coordinator after the hire is very much in the air.Wilson said he would be staying in Bloomington for the next few days to get acclimated. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops will decide if Wilson will coach the Fiesta Bowl, Wilson said. Meanwhile, he’s not leaving IU out to pasture.“Within our league we got eight teams playing bowls. They’re not sitting around eating sweet potato pie,” Wilson said. “I need to give our team some direction in the next month.”
IU introduced Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson as its new football coach during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Athletics director Fred Glass opened the press conference by reflecting on making a quick hire just a week after firing former coach Bill Lynch. "Indiana got our guy," he said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>For the fifth time in 16 years, IU is searching for a new football coach.Bill Lynch, the Hoosiers’ coach since 2007, was fired Sunday morning by IU Athletics Director Fred Glass. Prior to the dismissal, Lynch had one year remaining on a contract he signed after his first season.“My view was, given the circumstances of the last seasons, that extending the contract was not a viable option,” Glass said. “It would send the signal of what merited an extension at Indiana University and in my view was not the right thing to go.”The athletics director considered other options, including allowing Lynch to serve out his contract, but didn’t feel comfortable proceeding in any other direction.Glass made the announcement Sunday in Assembly Hall, mainly citing Lynch’s record in the Big Ten as the primary cause. Lynch’s team won a season-ending thriller Saturday at Purdue in overtime to capture its lone Big Ten win of the 2010 season.“While it’s a tough decision, I’m confident it’s the right one,” Glass said.Starting in a promising fashion by taking IU to its first bowl game since 1993, Lynch simply could not sustain his initial pattern of winning.Lynch was 19-30 overall during his four-year campaign in Bloomington.The 2010 season started with optimism from both Lynch and Glass. At Big Ten Media Days in August, Glass said he expected Lynch to remain IU’s coach well into the future.“I really feel like Bill and his staff have this program going in the right direction,” Glass said then. “My sincere expectation is that he’ll be the coach here for a long, long time.”Glass’ support was welcome to the coach.“I think the support he’s given us has been great. I couldn’t ask for more,” Lynch said. “It’s been a really good relationship since he’s got there. He’s shown a great commitment to football.”Lynch’s starting quarterback, senior Ben Chappell, also shined praise on the coach during the conference’s preseason media event.“All of us want to win for him,” Chappell said in August. “The way he treats all of his players, whether it’s the starting left tackle or the eighth-string safety, he treats us all the exact same. What you see is what you get with coach Lynch, and I think that’s why I have such respect for him.”Lynch, 56, was initially brought to IU in 2005 to serve as then-coach Terry Hoeppner’s assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.Previously, Lynch coached quarterbacks at IU in 1993-94 under Bill Mallory before beginning an eight-year stint as coach at Ball State.As Hoeppner struggled with an unknown illness in 2006, Lynch assumed coaching duties in two games that season. Lynch was later charged with leading the program when Hoeppner was too ill to do so during the 2007 spring practice.Hoeppner succumbed to his illness on June 19, 2007 — later revealed to be terminal brain cancer — and Lynch was named the interim coach for the 2007 season by former IU Athletics Director Rick Greenspan.Rallying around their former coach’s memory with a motto to “Play 13,” Lynch led the 2007 Hoosiers to the program’s first bowl game since 1993 on the heels of a 7-6 record. The season included the Hoosiers’ first win against Purdue since 2001.IU fell to Oklahoma State 49-33 in the Insight Bowl, but it was still enough to earn Lynch a four-year contract as IU coach.“I think when you’re an Indiana kid and you’re a coach, I think this is your dream, to coach at Indiana,” Lynch said after signing the new deal in 2007.The next season — nor the next few — wasn’t such a dream for the coach.After winning their first two games of the year against non-conference opponents, the Hoosiers would drop five straight games. They attempted to right the ship by beating Northwestern 21-19 in Bloomington on Homecoming weekend, but it didn’t last.IU wouldn’t win again that season and finished the year taking a 62-10 drubbing from the Curtis Painter-led Boilermakers in West Lafayette. The Hoosiers’ final record was 3-9.Prior to the start of the 2009 season, Lynch lost a key cog to his offense in quarterback Kellen Lewis. After multiple unspecified violations of team rules, IU’s all-time leader in passing yards was kicked off the team.The move allowed Bloomington native Ben Chappell, then a junior, to step into the role as IU’s full-time starting quarterback. In 2008, he and Lewis had split time behind center.Chappell passed for single-season school records in completions (268) and passing percentage (.626), but the Hoosiers again fell short of bowl eligibility, perhaps more painfully so. Flashes of success without victory proved to be the story of the season as IU recorded three of its five losses against ranked opponents by an average of just more than five points.IU finished 4-8 last year, 1-7 in conference play.The trend of dropping pivotal games for the program continued into 2010 for the ever-optimistic Lynch, and such results translated into Sunday’s decision.Until the end, Lynch, who earned his 100th career win Saturday, maintained the unwavering support of his players.“I know everyone I talked to, we really wanted to win it for him,” IU senior linebacker Tyler Replogle said. “It’s my last game playing for him, and I couldn’t have asked to play for a better coach. “He’s one of the best people I know.”Now, the Hoosiers will look to find a new direction. Glass mentioned no timetable for when he could announce IU’s 30th coach since the first record of the program in 1887.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>WEST LAFAYETTE — A season wrought with dropped goals and disappointments, Saturday’s closing game of the 2010 IU football campaign looked nothing like the Hoosiers’ first 11 tries.They battled back from deficit. They overcame penalties. They simply made plays when plays had to be made.And IU did it in this season’s last try against its most bitter rival in Purdue — all with the real possibility of program-rocking news mere hours away.In what proved to IU coach Bill Lynch’s final game at the helm of the Hoosiers, his team sent the embattled coach out the best way it could. IU (5-7, 1-7) overcame Purdue (4-8, 2-6) in overtime, 34-31, to bring the coveted Old Oaken Bucket back to Bloomington for the first time since 2007.The winning play came from redshirt freshman kicker Mitch Ewald nailing a 31-yard field goal in overtime to send the IU sideline scurrying to hoist the Old Oaken Bucket while the Purdue stadium emptied.“Our players battled as hard as you could ever battle, and they were awarded with a big win in overtime,” Lynch said. “That’s a great way to finish.”Lynch was told of his future Sunday morning by IU Athletics Director Fred Glass, the day after he completed a third straight season of just one win in Big Ten play.But before all of that, before the future of IU football was sent into what will likely be a weeks-long search to find a new leader, IU completed what it hadn’t done at Ross-Ade Stadium since 1996 in beating the Boilermakers.They didn’t do it without dramatics, either.Just as kicker Austin Starr sealed IU’s last win against Purdue in 2007 with a game-winning field goal, Ewald proved to be the hero this time around.Ewald connected on a 26-yard field goal with nine seconds left in regulation to force the game into overtime — a first in the storied series between the Indiana schools.The field goal was the culmination of a 14-play, 71-yard drive largely led by hobbled senior quarterback Ben Chappell. In his last start in an IU uniform, Chappell was 31-of-50 passing for 330 yards.The Bloomington native finished as IU’s all-time leader in completions, passing attempts and completion percentage and second all-time in passing yards.Tied 31-31, IU won the coin toss to start overtime and deferred to take their offensive shot last of the overtime period, giving the ball to Purdue to start.Purdue’s first play of the extra period from the IU 25-yard line was an ominous one for IU. Purdue quarterback Rob Henry hit a wide-open Kyle Adams for a 19-yard pass to the IU 6-yard line.Two plays later, the Purdue scoring attempt was sidetracked when IU junior linebacker Jeff Thomas made a diving interception.“We were sitting in the locker room during halftime, telling the team that we’re going to get a turnover,” Lynch said. “It took us until overtime to get it, but it was a great play by Jeff.”Just needing any type of score, Chappell returned the offense to the field and followed Purdue’s lead by throwing a first-play completion to a tight end. IU redshirt freshman Ted Bolser caught the Chappell pass for a 14-yard gain.Conservatively, IU rushed twice on the next two plays before Ewald was again called upon — this time for the win. The kick easily split the uprights.“This was our bowl game,” Ewald said. “It was just so important to win this game, and I’m so happy I could send the seniors out with a win.”Junior wideout Tandon Doss might also be leaving the program after the season to pursue options in the NFL. He finished the season in quite a fashion Saturday, catching three touchdown passes and gaining 82 total yards on offense.After the game, Doss said he would take a few weeks to make his decision for next season.“It’s great to win, and its great to get it against our rival. Whatever happens, happens,” Doss said.Never a team known for comebacks in Lynch’s tenure — IU’s biggest comeback during the coach’s four-year run prior to Saturday was eight points — IU looked to be falling apart again in the first half. The Boilermakers had jumped to a 21-7 lead before IU tied the game in the third quarter.Purdue’s final field goal came as part of a field position battle IU had lost after a penalty and ejection of senior defensive end Terrance Thomas for unnecessary roughness in the fourth quarter. The Hoosiers, though, weren’t finished.The game left no hint at what was to come for the program, with players smiling and celebrating while several verbally supported their embattled coach.“I love coach Lynch and what he does and how he supports us no matter,” Chappell said. “It’s just his inner strength and how he leads us. He always believes in us, no matter what.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The 2010 Old Oaken Bucket game will be decided Saturday between two of the Big Ten's biggest rivals. IU and Purdue collide for a noon kickoff at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette.Before the rivalry contest -- the last of the season for both teams as they both will finish without postseason bowl eligibility -- here's some need-to-know information.Who: Indiana Hoosiers (4-7, 0-7) @ Purdue Boilermakers (4-7, 2-5)When: Saturday, noon (TV: Big Ten Network)Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.Forecast: Sunny, high near 37. Light wind.Notes-Though a part of the storied intrastate IU/Purdue rivalry, the series in football has been decidedly not a close matchup. The Boilermakers dominate the series 70-36-6 overall. The teams have officially battled for the Old Oaken Bucket since 1925, and Purdue also leads that 56-26-3. IU is just 2-8 in the teams' last 10 meetings.- IU senior quarterback Ben Chappell takes an impressive career run as IU signal caller into his final game Saturday. This season, Chappell has taken command of IU's all-time completions record (620) and leads in completion percentage (.610). More records would require an incredible aerial assault from the Hoosiers with Chappell second all-time in passing yards and passing touchdowns, and third in passing attempts. The Bloomington native needs six touchdowns, 46 pass attempts and 548 passing yards to tie for IU's career marks.- The Boilermakers have been beset by a heavy amount of key injuries this season to their offensive skill set. Starting quarterback Robert Marve and wide out Keith Smith both suffered season-ending knee injuries, but the Boilers have tried to overcome with defensive leadership from senior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan.Kerrigan, from Muncie, Ind., leads the nation in tackles for loss (25), is second nationally with 12.5 sacks and has forced five fumbles. All told, Kerrigan has 66 tackles and figures to be a frontrunner for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.- The contest may prove to be significant for IU coach Bill Lynch's future as the Hoosiers' leader. In his fourth year in Bloomington, Lynch is in the midst of IU's first 0-7 start to the Big Ten since 1996. The last time they finished winless in the conference was 1995, but the 1996 0-7 season concluded with the Hoosiers topping the Boilers 33-16 at West Lafayette.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>IU coach Bill Lynch said Monday that he has not thought about his future in Bloomington and instead is focused on his team's final 2010 game."No I have not," Lynch said when asked what's to come for him at the school. "I'm worried about Purdue, just like we were worried about Penn State. That's my job, and that's what I'm going to do."Lynch's squad lost 41-24 Saturday to Penn State in a neutral site game outside of Washington D.C. IU is now 4-7 this season, 0-7 in conference play for the first time since 1996. The fourth-year coach is 5-26 overall in the Big Ten and is in his third-straight losing season.The Hoosiers square off with in-state rival Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket at noon Saturday in West Lafayette.When asked if he had discussed his future -- Lynch is in the third year of a four-year contract signed in 2007 -- with IU athletics director, the coach deferred slightly from the question."(Glass') support has been unbelievable," Lynch said. "Everything that he has said has been exactly what its been throughout the year. He's been as supportive as can be, week-by-week."Prior to the season, Glass said he wants to stick by IU's contract with Lynch and has yet to say anything to the contrary.IU's game adjustments derailed by blocked puntFollowing Saturday's loss to the Nittany Lions, Lynch was complimentary of Penn State's on-field adjustments to the Hoosiers' attack, and signified that was the turning point in the game.Asked Monday if his team made similar adjustments, and if so why they didn't work, Lynch placed the blame on Penn State returning a blocked punt from junior Chris Hagerup for a touchdown. The play gave PSU a 31-24 lead with 1:40 left in the third quarter."Let's go back," Lynch said in response. "At halftime what was the score? 17-14 (in favor of Penn State). And when the blocked punt took place, what was the score? 24 all. When we came out to start the second half up until the blocked punt at the end of the third quarter, we had outscored them. We had outplayed them. So, no. I think we did a great job of adjusting, and Penn State's a very good football team."The Hoosiers threw an interception on the next drive and wouldn't score again while the Nittany Lions would finish the game on 17-0 run.Chappell, Wright-Baker both expected to playA combination at quarterback for IU during the Penn State loss featured senior Ben Chappell and redshirt freshman Edward Wright-Baker taking snaps. Lynch said he expects both to be used Saturday at Purdue, but wouldn't reveal the extent."Maybe," Lynch said coyly. "I would say that they probably both will play. How much? I don't know."Both quarterbacks playing for IU was a bit of a necessity move after usual starter Chappell had left the previous game at Wisconsin with knee and hip injuries. Dusty Kiel, another IU backup, injured his thumb in the Wisconsin game and won't play again this season."We really didn't know if Ben would make it through the game," Lynch said. "We had to have a plan going into it and it was Ed."Over the course of practice in preparation, IU's coaches decided Wright-Baker may make an interesting wrinkle in IU's offense."As we got closer to the game, we liked the plan," Lynch said. "It'd be a little bit different for Penn State and it would get Ben off the field for so many plays where he wasn't going to get banged up."
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>LANDOVER, Md. — Six straight losses in conference play left IU scrambling to find something new to strike its losing ways.What better, then, than for the Hoosiers to take their game to a place they’ve never played before?The move — IU’s first regular season game at a neutral site in 10 years — brought the game to FedExField in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.The result was just more of the same for the beleaguered squad.IU (4-7, 0-7) continued a history of nothing but losing against Penn State (7-4, 4-3) on Saturday, losing 41-24. The Nittany Lions finished the game on a 17-0 run to easily top the hapless Hoosiers just outside the nation’s capital.It was a game that turned on IU mistakes.First, a bit of an errant snap to IU punter Chris Hagerup disrupted the junior’s kick sequence enough to let Penn State’s Andrew Dailey fully block the punt. PSU’s James Van Fleet scooped up the fumble and returned it 21 yards to break open a 24-24 tie with 1:40 left in the third quarter.“The snap took him outside the wall. Then once the ball is outside the wall it’s very, very difficult for the wall to know where the ball is,” Lynch said, referring to Hagerup’s blockers.Dailey appeared to make the block nearly untouched.The very next drive, IU senior quarterback Ben Chappell threw a tipped interception to PSU’s Drew Astorino at the IU 43-yard line. The Nittany Lions would convert the turnover into a 35-yard field goal and seemingly deflate the Hoosiers.IU wouldn’t score again.“It’s getting old,” IU senior safety Mitchell Evans said. “We’re out there fighting every down, and we can’t help the outcome. All we can do is keep competing. Hopefully, the ball will fall toward us one of these times, and we’ll get a ‘W.’”Early on, IU looked to at least be catching the breaks the team needed and at best countering every shot from Penn State.The Hoosiers trailed 14-0 early after Penn State scored its second touchdown just after the start of the second quarter. By halftime, IU trailed 17-14 after senior wideout Terrance Turner hauled in a 12-yard pass from Chappell with 2:35 left in the half.“I was really proud of the way our guys and the way they battled. We fell behind 14-0 when they really dominated the first quarter,” Lynch said. “The next two quarters, I really thought we played well...I thought there were some really gutsy performances by guys who were banged up.”Included among that list of players playing hurt was Chappell. The senior quarterback finished 22-of-41 for 235 passing yards.He shared time with redshirt freshman quarterback Edward Wright-Baker, who played several snaps in a Wildcat-like offense and rushed three times for 15 yards.But the Hoosiers couldn’t maintain. Penn State, with a 31-24 lead and the ball to start the fourth quarter, never let up. The Nittany Lions added another touchdown and a field goal in the fourth to seal their perfect 14-0 record all-time against IU.As a result, IU’s season will have a very finite ending. The loss guaranteed IU can’t win six games and therefore earn bowl eligibility. IU plays at Purdue on Saturday for the Old Oaken Bucket.“I’m really disappointed for those guys in that locker room,” Lynch said.IU will now have played in a single bowl game (2007 Insight Bowl) during Lynch’s four years at IU’s helm. The Penn State game was originally supposed to be a home game for IU, slated to be played at Memorial Stadium, but IU Athletics Director Fred Glass opted to move the game to the home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins for financial reasons. The Redskins offered $3 million to IU for the game — money Glass said last week was being used to fund IU’s new student-athlete Academic Resource Center.The expense of the move was a crowd heavily partial to the “visiting” Nittany Lions. With the exception to lone swath of Cream and Crimson fans backing one half of IU’s sideline in FedExField’s lower bowl, the vast majority of the 78,790 in attendance seemed to support Penn State.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>LANDOVER, Md. -- Six straight losses in conference play had left IU scrambling to find something new to strike their losing ways.What better, then, for IU to take their game to a place they've never played before?The move -- IU's first neutral site, regular season game in 10 years -- brought the matchup to FedExField in the suburbs of Washington D.C. The result was just more of the same for the beleaguered squad.IU (4-7, 0-7) continued a history of losing to Penn State (7-4, 4-3) Saturday, downed 41-24. The Nittany Lions finished the game on a 17-0 run to easily top the hapless Hoosiers just outside the nation's capital."We just didn't get enough stops on third down during the game," IU coach Bill Lynch said. "A lot of that is Penn State. They're obviously a good football team that's really improved over the last few weeks. It's a tough loss for us."Doubly frustrating for Lynch and his players was that the loss officially ended any hopes the Hoosiers had of playing in a postseason bowl. IU now has played in just a single bowl game (2007's Insight Bowl) during Lynch's current four years at IU's helm."I'm really disappointed for those guys in that locker room," Lynch said of missing out again on a bowl trip.Clinging close to Penn State at halftime trail just 17-14, IU's defense produced a turnover-on-downs during the Nittany Lions' first drive of the third quarter. IU, utilizing a combination at quarterback of senior Ben Chappell and redshirt freshman Edward Wright-Baker much of the game, drove the ball 30 yards on five plays to set up a 49-yard field goal try. Redshirt freshman kicker Mitch Ewald connected on a wobbly, low kick for a new career-long, tying the score at 17-17.Penn State found the end zone on their next drive when quarterback Matt McGloin completed a 21-yard pass on 2nd-and-17 to wide out Derek Moye.Trailing again -- IU never once led -- Chappell completed three passes and junior wide out Tandon Doss rushed for a 39-yard gain as part of a seven-play, 70-yard drive. Chappell tossed a three-yard touchdown pass to Doss to tie the game at 24.It would be IU's last score, as the next two offensive drives ended on disaster.First, a bit of an errant snap to IU punter Chris Hagerup disrupted the junior's kick sequence enough to let PSU's Andrew Dailey fully block the punt. PSU's James Van Fleet scooped up the fumbled and returned it 21 yards for another touchdown.Three plays later, IU turned the ball over again when a Chappell pass was tipped into the arms of PSU's Drew Astorino.Penn State, with a 31-24 lead and the ball to start the fourth quarter, never let up. IU unable to answer, the Nittany Lions added another touchdown and a field goal in the fourth to seal their perfect 14-0 record all-time over IU.A home game for IU originally slated to be played at Memorial Stadium, IU athletics director Fred Glass opted to move the game to the home of the NFL's Washington Redskins for financial reasons. The Redskins offered $3 million to IU for the game -- money that Glass said last week was being used to fund IU's new student-athlete Academic Resource Center. The expense of the move was a crowd heavily partial to the "visiting" Nittany Lions. With the exception to lone swath of cream and crimson fans backing one-half of IU's sideline in FedExField's lower bowl, the vast majority of the 78,790 in attendance looked to support Penn State.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Miserable, monsoon-like conditions for Monday’s Philadelphia road blowout of the home Washington Redskins brought 84,912 fans to FedExField.Don’t expect that many for Saturday’s game at the Landover, Md., stadium, though forecasts are sublime for the time of year with sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s expected.In the team’s first regular season neutral site game since 2000, IU (4-6, 0-6) plays Penn State (6-4, 3-3) at FedExField just outside of the nation’s capital.“I think the Redskins felt like (ticket sales were) a little lower than they had originally hoped,” IU Athletics Director Fred Glass said Wednesday.The game is being promoted by Redskins Special Events and is part of a series of other college football games being played at FedexField this season. Glass said the latest he heard, from “a few weeks ago,” pegged attendance of about 50,000.Redskins officials indicate, however, that ticket sales have improved since that conversation. Adam Shuman, a client services representative with the Redskins, said the company is expecting a crowd of more than 70,000.“Frankly, I have mixed feelings about that,” Glass said. “On the one hand, you’d love to play in a big time atmosphere. It’s the biggest stadium in the NFL. If it was full that’d be great. On the other hand, I understand that if it’s going to be full, it’s going to be full of Penn State people.”Glass said IU has met all of its contractual requirements.“Our allocation that we’re expected to sell as a part of the agreement is 7,000 tickets,” Glass said. “We negotiated pretty heavily with the Redskins to make sure they were premium tickets. Those are all but sold. I’m confident that before Saturday we’ll have 7,000 sold out, which is good news for us because it fulfills our contractual obligation.”Redskins Special Events originally wanted IU to sell 12,000 seats, but Glass negotiated that down, he said.IU was guaranteed $3 million as a part of moving the game — one originally scheduled to be played in Bloomington — to the Washington, D.C. area. In return, Glass secured October’s Homecoming matchup with Arkansas State to fill the vacated home game’s slot.The money won’t just be dropped into the athletics department operating budget. Instead, Glass said, it was mostly designated to fund the recently completed Academic Resource Center for student athletes at Memorial Stadium. “Essentially we’ve assigned that money to the build-out of the academic center,” Glass said. “It’s not like it’s just going in to our operations budget. I don’t think that would be a good thing to do with something extraordinary like this.”On the field, the game may as well be the 10-year anniversary of the last time IU played a regular season game at a neutral venue. The contest — also against Penn State on Oct. 28, 2000 — saw the Hoosiers fall 27-24 at the Indianapolis’ RCA Dome.IU has yet to beat Penn State.“It’s a different kind of trip, and going to D.C., staying downtown, going out to the stadium, I know our guys are excited for it,” IU coach Bill Lynch said.Penn State coach Joe Paterno, the coach since 1966, wasn’t too worried about the game’s location when asked about it during his weekly press conference.“I was told that they were going to move the game to Washington, D.C. and I said to myself, probably, ‘Hey, I wonder why they are doing it,’ but I have not bothered to ask them,” Paterno said. “There’s nothing I can do about it. As I’ve said many times to you guys, I don’t really worry about anything I can’t do anything about."“If they want to play in Indiana, it’s their prerogative. And if they want to play in Washington, that’s their prerogative.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>MADISON, Wis. — The superlatives in Wisconsin’s wallop of IU on Saturday were not hard to find.The 83 points allowed by the Hoosiers? Only the most IU football has ever given up.The 63-point losing margin? It ties a 1915 defeat as the worst in IU program history.The 573 pushups that Wisconsin mascot “Bucky” was charged with completing after Wisconsin’s 13 total scores? Well, the feat reportedly required several different people under the costume.Oh, the loss also continued IU’s winless start in a waning Big Ten season — the team’s first 0-6 conference start since 1996. The Hoosiers had a new coach following that season.IU (4-6, 0-6) never once could halt Wisconsin’s offense as the No. 6 Badgers (9-1, 5-1) ripped, thrashed and mauled the helpless Hoosiers, 83-20.“We got beat every way possible by a good football team,” IU coach Bill Lynch said afterward. Lynch’s summation still doesn’t seem to describe the drubbing his team endured.Wisconsin — utilizing the second- and third-team players for much of the second half — piled on touchdown after touchdown on the Camp Randall Stadium scoreboard. The Badgers finished with 11 total touchdowns, the most scored in the Big Ten since 1950.“We actually weren’t surprised about scoring (83 points),” Wisconsin sophomore running back Montee Ball said. “We practiced very hard, and we were expecting to impose our will upon them.”To steal Ball’s words, Wisconsin’s efforts tied the best imposition of a team’s will in the Big Ten conference — ever. It was also the most points scored by any team in the Football Bowl Subdivision since Arkansas State dropped 83 in 2008.And all of it — all of the points, all of the scores — seemed to hinge on one series for IU.“I’ve never seen a game get away as fast as this one got away after about the six-minute mark of the second quarter,” Lynch said.The point Lynch referred to saw the Hoosiers trailing the Badgers 17-10 with possession in Wisconsin territory.IU senior quarterback Ben Chappell — hit hard on the first play of the drive by Wisconsin’s Louis Nzegwu — initially got the call to attempt a six-yard fourth-down conversion at the Wisconsin 33-yard line.Lynch, however, noticed Chappell in pain and limited in mobility, and he called a timeout. The Hoosiers opted for a field goal from redshirt freshman kicker Mitch Ewald.Ewald missed the 52-yarder just short of the goal post. On IU’s previous drive, Ewald had connected with room to spare on a 48-yarder.The IU miss lit a fuse in the Wisconsin offense. After taking over at their own 34-yard line, two rushing plays of 36 and 30 yards, respectively, put the Badgers in the end zone.The fireworks for the Camp Randall crowd just kept on coming, too. Finally, five touchdowns later and with just 6:30 left in the third quarter, Ewald got the Hoosiers back on the board with another field goal.“Everybody kind of lost a little fire throughout the game. That’s unacceptable,” IU senior safety Mitchell Evans said. “I think every other game this season, we’ve been fighting at least until the end of the game. I think we shut down a little bit.”Chappell didn’t return to the game with an unspecified hip injury after being pulled from the fourth-down conversion attempt. Neither he nor the team had any prognosis on the fifth-year senior’s status for the rest of the season.“It was pretty bad, and I’ve played through a lot,” Chappell said after the game. “I might have been able to play a couple more plays, but it just kept getting worse and worse.”It was such a beating that most of the 80,477 in attendance hung around in the cold, rainy weather just long enough to take part in the stadium’s tradition of playing “Jump Around” in between the third and fourth quarters. After that, the exits were clogged.Wisconsin, though, wasn’t finished. The Badgers added 24 more points in the final period while IU added a single touchdown when redshirt freshman quarterback Edward Wright-Baker found a wide-open redshirt freshman wideout Duwyce Wilson for a 62-yard score.Lynch, who faces an uncertain future with a year remaining in his contract, didn’t accuse the Badgers of running up the score.“I’ve always felt it was our job to stop them and play the game,” Lynch said. “We didn’t do that very well.”Lynch’s teams have now dropped 11 consecutive games in Big Ten play and have lost 14 straight conference games on the road. It was the fifth time one of Lynch’s teams have allowed more than 50 points since he took the head coaching duties in 2007.“From that play on,” Lynch said, referring to the missed field goal in the second quarter, “it really wasn’t a game anymore.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The number of games remaining in Ben Chappell’s IU football career — bowl or not — can be counted on one hand.The senior quarterback, now a graduate student in IU’s Kelley School of Business, doesn’t have a sure plan of what his future holds after that final game. He does have a sliver of clarity in one regard, however.“I definitely don’t want to coach,” Chappell said.The hometown quarterback, quizzed further about his non-desire desire in August, made a simple case.“College coaches — how much pressure they have,” Chappell reasoned. “There’s no job security.”For an extremely localized reference, Chappell need not look further than the office of his team’s head coach.Courtesy of a winless five-game stretch to start Big Ten play, IU coach Bill Lynch finds himself in waters similar to several of his recent predecessors. Simply, Lynch’s future as the Hoosiers’ football leader beyond the 2010 season remains very much in doubt.The fourth-year coach has guided his team to a 4-5 record this season heading into Saturday’s road game at No. 6 Wisconsin. In order to become at least eligible for postseason play, the Hoosiers need to win two of their last three games.Lynch has a year remaining on a four-year contract extension he signed after the final regular season game of the 2007 campaign. That year, the Hoosiers finished 7-5 and went to the Insight Bowl — their first postseason trip since 1993.Lynch, a native Hoosier, initially took the job at IU after Terry Hoeppner, hired in 2005, died in June 2007 after a battle with brain cancer. Lynch was Hoeppner’s assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.The sticking point for Lynch’s future at IU’s resides in the contract. With an exception for rare circumstances, college football coaches typically don’t work in a lame duck scenario that leaves them without a clear future in a program.The reasoning for the practice is simple: recruiting college athletes requires an element of commitment. Without such commitment, the unknown for recruited athletes can — and often does — turn them toward other schools.As a result, IU Athletics Director Fred Glass seems to be facing a decision: Should he extend Lynch’s contract or move the program in a new direction?“We’ve got three games here, and I’m focused on supporting the team and coaching staff to do everything that we can to win each one of those games. That’s what my focus is,” Glass said Wednesday about if he was planning to continue Lynch’s contract.Internally, though, Glass is faced with a number of factors to be considered for Lynch’s future. In fact, that’s exactly the way Glass wants it, as he said at Big Ten Media Days in August.“I’m very adverse to setting litmus tests because I think that’s a cop-out,” Glass said then. “That’s what administrators do when they want a safe harbor to say, ‘Well, I’ll put this on automatic pilot. If you hit this, you’re in. If not, you’re out.’ I think that’s dangerous.”What, then, did Glass say he would analyze?“We’ll look at everything,” Glass said. “We’ll look at recruiting. We’ll look at retention. We’ll look at progress. We’ll look at wins and losses.”The final examination Glass mentioned, then seated on the lobby furniture of Chicago’s Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, is undoubtedly the biggest figure fans and supporters of IU football are scrutinizing.During Lynch’s run at IU up to last week’s heartbreaking 18-13 loss to No. 15 Iowa, the Hoosiers have been the second-to-worst team in the Big Ten in terms of overall winning percentage. IU’s 18-28 mark over that span just edges Minnesota’s 15-30 record since 2007.“I’m not a goof. I know that wins and losses matter,” Glass said in August. “They matter a lot to me. They matter a lot to Bill Lynch. But I’m not going to defer to a numerical value or a statistic to make our judgement solely based on that.”Lynch’s overall record at IU — one that includes a paltry 5-24 mark in conference play — and winning percentage is very middle-of-the-road when compared to IU’s previous four coaches (excluding Hoeppner).Prior to Hoeppner, Gerry DiNardo led the Hoosiers for three seasons, winning eight times in 35 games for a .229 winning percentage. Before DiNardo, Cam Cameron won 18 games in five seasons for a .327 winning percentage. Cameron succeeded Bill Mallory, IU’s coach from 1984 to 1996. Mallory coached the Hoosiers to six bowls with his .463 winning percentage.By comparison, Lynch’s winning percentage at IU is .391.Several more factors weigh in Lynch’s favor.Attendance at Memorial Stadium has increased since Lynch took over in 2007. Even during “normal” games at The Rock — games not including traditional near-sellouts against Michigan, Ohio State or Purdue thanks to their large, traveling fan bases — the number of purchased tickets per game has risen 14 percent.Three times this season alone, still excluding the Michigan game, 40,000 or more fans have filled 52,929-seat Memorial Stadium. In contrast, IU football managed 40,000 or more fans in the “normal” games just once in each of the past three seasons.Glass has acknowledged that football attendance can be the most significant driver of revenue for the athletics department.Lynch also has another card in his favor — recruiting. According to ESPN.com’s rankings, Lynch already has 14 three-star players verbally committed to play for the Hoosiers next season. Ten more three-star recruits are “considering” IU according to the website, as is one four-star recruit in linebacker Armonze Daniel from Avon, Ind.Eight players in IU’s most recent incoming class fell in the three-star range, including freshman wide receiver Kofi Hughes.Recruiting, however, isn’t a guarantee of success, Big Ten Network analyst and former NFL running back Howard Griffith said.“In my opinion, a recruiting class doesn’t mean a whole lot because it’s somebody else’s evaluation,” Griffith said. “It doesn’t mean that players are going to necessarily fit into your system just because a player has a certain number of stars.”Lynch also doesn’t seem to be on pace to lose a terrific number of starters from this season. Fifteen of the 22 players who have started the most on each side of the football this year have at least another year of eligibility remaining at IU.The departing players offensively include Chappell, wide receiver Terrance Turner, right tackle James Brewer and running back Trea Burgess. Defensively, the Hoosiers are slated to loose fewer players, including team captain and linebacker Tyler Replogle, cornerback Richard Council and safety Mitchell Evans.Two large question marks for the Hoosiers’ offense, however, are in the wide receiving corps. Juniors Damarlo Belcher and Tandon Doss have put together seasons that may make them desirable to NFL teams — meaning they could both leave school early for the 2011 NFL Draft.However, the returning players — just as the recruits — are no promise of future success.Instead, they are a part of the tangled web of fan expectations, past performance and predictions of the future that Glass has to work through to determine who leads IU football beyond this season.“At the end of the day, you’re evaluated on wins and losses,” Griffith said. “But there’s a lot more that goes in to it.”Justin Albers contributed to this report.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Receiving an Iowa punt four plays into the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 18-13 loss, IU junior wide receiver Tandon Doss moved the ball forward nine yards before sustaining a big hit at the IU 18-yard line.Doss left the game after the play with a concussion. Prior to that, he had recorded seven receptions for 47 yards.During his weekly press conference Monday, IU coach Bill Lynch said Doss wouldn’t practice Monday and he still was uncertain of Doss’ prognosis. The same applied to left tackle Andrew McDonald after he left the Iowa game with an ankle injury. “Not sure right now,” Lynch said. “They aren’t going to practice (Monday), and we will know a little more each day.”The fourth-year coach said the Hoosiers were “working” to get junior tight end Max Dedmond back from injury, as well as junior safety Chris Adkins. The safety dressed for Saturday’s game — his first all season — but didn’t play.Belcher doing ‘fine’ after dropping late touchdownLynch was also questioned about the psychological state of his top receiver, Damarlo Belcher, after the junior dropped a pass in the end zone of Saturday’s game that would have given the Hoosiers a lead with 28 seconds to play. Instead, the play turned the ball and win toward the No. 15 Hawkeyes. Iowa moved to No. 13 in the Associated Press poll after Saturday’s win.“He’ll be fine,” Lynch said of Belcher’s drop. “It’s tough. That’s part of playing sports. “Anybody that’s played and played at a high level, that’s going to happen. It’s part of being in the arena.”Senior quarterback Ben Chappell echoed his coach’s sentiment.“I told him it’s just one play,” Chappell said. “He’s made thousands of those.”The quarterback spoke with the media in a walking boot for the second time in two weeks, though he said he didn’t wear the boot Sunday and only put it on Monday because it made his foot feel better.Bouncing back from loss is tough, Lynch saysLynch was also questioned about how his team as a whole would respond to the heartbreaking loss. IU is now 4-5, having dropped all five of its conference games.“It’s hard. I’d be misleading if I said it’s not a problem,” Lynch said. “Sure it’s hard. But I think it goes to the character of the kids that we have in the program.”Lynch said the team has discussed it and that he expects the team’s leaders to take a role in helping them move on to their next contest Saturday at No. 6 Wisconsin. “Just reading some of their quotes after the game, that wasn’t a prompted response by me or anyone else before they went out and talked to (the media) after the game,” Lynch said.Many of the players, including Chappell and senior safety Mitchell Evans, had resolute tones — just as they have had nearly all season.“I think that’s how they sincerely feel about it, and I think that’s a big part of (bouncing back),” Lynch said. Wisconsin presents an old-school running approachThe road certainly doesn’t get any easier for the Hoosiers as they head to Madison, Wis., for Saturday’s noon game against the Badgers. At 8-1 and rated the highest Big Ten team in the BCS, Wisconsin’s lone loss came at Michigan State.The Badgers tilt their offensive attack heavily toward the rushing game. Overall, Wisconsin is the second-best rushing team in the Big Ten, compiling 216 yards on the ground per contest.“In terms of running the football, they have a tremendous offensive line and a great scheme,” Lynch said.He credited Wisconsin’s production and success to the team’s “formationing.” “What I mean by that is that they will play with two tight ends, two wides, a back, and they will get in an unbalanced look and shift in motion, and you are constantly having to make adjustments,” Lynch said. “That’s a little different than the old throwback football that was one formation, I-formation, play after play after play. “They give you plenty of looks, and they do it in the running game more than most teams do.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>First, he was agitated by Iowa’s potentially penalty-worthy defense of IU junior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher on a third-down incompletion.Then, it was a no-call on what looked like a block in the back against junior wideout Tandon Doss after senior quarterback Ben Chappell threw an interception. The play also drew a personal foul on the Hoosiers.Next, a personal foul called on Doss left IU’s top dog vividly irate during the team’s final drive of the first half — violently gesturing and stepping several yards on to the field, just to make sure the game officials were aware of his staunch opposition to their calls.To cap his displeasure with the penalties — as well as the lack thereof — IU coach Bill Lynch clamored for what he and the rest of IU’s sideline thought was a blatant grab of senior running back Trea Burgess’ facemask in the next play.The Hoosiers, then bogged down and facing a third-and-13, would wind up punting the ball back to Iowa with 50 seconds left to play in the half — but not before Lynch made his aggravation plenty clear to referee John O’Neill.The transfer of possession seemed to instantly transfer IU’s penalty luck. On Iowa’s second play from scrimmage, the Hawkeyes were flagged for a holding call — eliciting Lynch’s most memorable moment of the day.With both arms exalted skyward, Lynch celebrated the call in an obviously sarcastic manner. Several times the fourth-year coach pumped his arms.The moment wasn’t lost on the IU portion of the 42,991 in attendance, who watched IU (4-5, 0-5) eventually lose a 18-13 heartbreaker to No. 15 Iowa (7-2, 4-1).As Lynch mockingly celebrated, the IU fans stood and loudly cheered both the penalty and Lynch’s dramatics.Asked afterward, Lynch, with a voice that slightly quivered at times, tinged with the heartbreaking loss in the postgame press conference, said it wasn’t a concerted effort to appear more intense on the sideline.“That’s my mindset,” Lynch said. “It’s a battle every day, and we just came up short.”Prior to that, Lynch had been asked why he seemed so enlivened on the sideline. The fourth-year coach’s future at IU — Lynch is now 5-24 in conference play — is a question mark going into the offseason.“Yeah, I want to win,” Lynch said tersely. “I want to win. The kids deserve for me to be fighting for them. And that’s what we did.”Lynch, of course, has been dramatic before.In last week’s home loss to Northwestern, Lynch berated officials during the closing minutes about their clock management while IU tried to get the ball back. A blown holding call just before halftime of last season’s loss at Penn State also had the coach up in arms.Perhaps Lynch’s most memorable moment, though, came in last season’s narrow 36-33 loss at Michigan. Incensed about a play ruled an interception during his offense’s last drive with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Lynch sprinted along the sideline in disgust, stopped, whipped a piece of chewing gum from his mouth and hurled it over his shoulder.A video version of the moment on YouTube has nearly 18,000 views.For all his dramatics, Lynch seemed to fuel the fire of his players.“His emotions are contagious,” senior offensive lineman James Brewer said. “I think it was his way of getting us fired up and letting us know we were in this game.’’Brewer’s football roommate and the guy who relies on his blocking protection, senior quarterback Ben Chappell, agreed.“It’s great to have a guy like (Lynch) because he’s fighting for us,” Chappell said. “He’s fighting for his players, and that’s huge.”When asked if he felt his players responded to his fiery sideline demeanor, Lynch looked at the overall result.“I think they played really hard. Don’t you?” Lynch asked. “I thought they played hard. I thought they played very, very well.”Lynch then took on a brief us-versus-them attitude.“We’re going to come back,” Lynch said. “I thought they played hard and well last week. They came back after everybody writes them off. They keep coming back and battling. We’re going to battle back and go to Madison.”The Hoosiers play their final three regular season games on the road, starting at No. 6 Wisconsin on Saturday.“We’re going to battle up there,” Lynch said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The lone difference of what Saturday could have been for the IU football team fell haphazardly to the turf, just out of the grasp of wide receiver Damarlo Belcher.It could have ended a two-game losing streak.It could have been their first conference win of the season.It could have put them one step closer to the oh-so-elusive bowl berth.And maybe, perhaps most importantly to those within the IU program, it could have quieted growing questions about the future of Bill Lynch as the Hoosiers' head coach.The Hoosiers (4-5, 0-5) dropped, in every sense of the phrase, a stunning heartbreaker to No. 15 Iowa (7-2, 4-1) Saturday 18-13 at Memorial Stadium. A sure-fire touchdown pass -- the aforementioned 'it' - to Belcher fell through his hands with 28 seconds left.The play - a fourth-and-10 from the Iowa 18 yard line with 35 seconds to play - developed with IU senior quarterback Ben Chappell dropping straight back in the pocket. As the Iowa defense closed in, Chappell targeted a suddenly open Belcher as he streaked over the middle.Belcher jumped for the perfectly-thrown pass, appearing to snare it right under his jersey numbers - inciting a thunderous roar from the home crowd thirsty for a conference victory.Even the IU bench, with a partially blocked view as Belcher tumbled to the end zone turf facing the Iowa sideline, erupted at the perceived catch.Quickly, the referees were waving their arms side-to-side, indicating an incomplete pass - an excruciating way to dishearten the home faithful."That was definitely rough," IU senior safety Mitchell Evans said. "I just saw everyone jumping up and down, and I stopped looking when it hit his hands. I guess that's the way it goes, that's football. … I am disappointed that it had to end that way."Meanwhile, the Iowa contingent themselves roared after securing their seventh win of 2010.The play was reviewed by the officials but stood - leaving Belcher a catch shy of potentially winning the final home game for IU's 13 graduating players.Belcher finished with an otherwise average day per his season standards, leading the team with 50 yards receiving on seven catches. Fellow junior wide out Tandon Doss - who left the game with an injury in the fourth quarter - also had seven grabs."I'm sure that (Belcher) is pretty beat up, but he needs to forget about it," Evans said. "He had so many other great plays in the game."Aside from the last-minute theatrics, the game looked and felt like several of IU's recent contests against the Hawkeyes. The teams have split the last 10 meetings against one another before Saturday's Iowa win.Last season, the upset-minded Hoosiers travelled to Iowa City and held a lead entering the fourth quarter, before mistakes and turnovers allowed the then-No. 7 Hawkeyes to rattle off 28-straight points in the final 13:03 of the game. Iowa won 42-24.The Hoosiers entered the fourth quarter of Saturday's game in the same position, leading the Hawkeyes 13-9 with the final 15 minutes on deck.IU had gained the lead with the leg of redshirt freshman kicker Mitch Ewald. Booting two field goals - 37 yards and 28 yards, respectively - Ewald was IU's only scoring player in the first half. The Hoosiers finally found the end zone after a drive that nearly closed the third quarter culminated in Chappell rushing behind junior center Will Matte for the game's first touchdown. The Hoosiers were able to take that lead after holding the Hawkeyes to one field goal in each of the first three quarters - each on trips to the red zone. All three, in fact, saw the Hawkeyes make it inside the IU 10-yard line.Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi, however, found space in the passing game in the fourth quarter trailing 13-12. After two straight first down passes were completed to Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Stanzi hit receiver Marvin McNutt on a deep route over the middle for a 52-yard touchdown.A two-point conversation attempt by the Hawkeyes failed, though it would prove not to matter.In the first half, with the game tied, Lynch had several of his more animated moments of the season after he felt his club was both being penalized unjustly while the favor wasn't being returned to Iowa. After several plays, Lynch emphatically berated the officials.Finally, when Iowa was called for holding, he raised his arms in triumph - drawing the home crowd to its feet."Yeah, I wanted to win," Lynch said afterward. "The kids deserve for me to be fighting for them, and that's what we did. We just came up a little short."During that same press conference, Lynch seemed to arrive more emotional than previous games - the strain of both the tight game and its ramifications toward his future possibly to blame.In less than six minutes, his talk with the gathered media was one of his shortest of the season. It was also one where he was very much to the point on every question."(It's) very difficult because they care, and that's what this is all about," Lynch said about the loss emotionally for him and his team. "The investment that these kids put into this football program. ... I can't say enough for them because they never give up on themselves, and they just keep battling."Lynch and his Hoosiers now face a schedule with just three games left and the necessity to win two for postseason eligibility. Their next test comes Saturday at No. 9 Wisconsin."When you know our kids, the message never changes," Lynch said. "They're going to battle no matter what happens. They'll come back, go to work on Monday and get ready for the next one."
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>With one-third of their regular season left, a few IU football players were taken aback by one question this week.What’s it like to be playing in your final career home game this weekend?“It’s like ‘Is this really my final home game? Is this my final game here?’” IU senior cornerback Richard Council said.The Hoosiers (4-4, 0-4) face Iowa (6-2, 3-1) for their final home turf tilt of the year at noon Saturday in Memorial Stadium.Courtesy of an athletics department decision to move the Nov. 20 Penn State game to the Washington, D.C. area — a move predicated by a $3 million guarantee to the program’s coffers — IU won’t open the home turnstiles again in 2010.Players or fans didn’t suffer through an unusually short home stand, however. Arkansas State — who IU beat 36-34 on Oct. 16 — filled the open home slot.After Saturday’s game, there are three straight trips on the road. The Hoosiers play at Wisconsin next week, then Penn State at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., before the season finale at Purdue.The first two trips of IU’s traveling road show are the longest the Hoosiers will endure this season.But prior to that are the Hawkeyes and Saturday’s Senior Day festivities, where the graduating players will be accompanied by their parents during an on-field ceremony.“I’ll have my parents down on the field and some other family here to watch me,” senior wide receiver Terrance Turner said. “It’s still a game, but it’s going to kind of sink in that it’s the last one.”For the player leading the IU offense, the thought of one final try in Memorial Stadium had yet to really sink in.“No, it hasn’t really,” IU senior quarterback Ben Chappell said. “It’s been a long five years, but it has gone by fast. It’s crazy.”IU will lose 16 total players at the close of this season — 13 of whom redshirted one season.The fifth-year seniors have compiled a 23-34 overall record as Hoosiers, going 8-28 in the Big Ten. Three players — safety Mitchell Evans, linebacker Tyler Replogle and defensive end Terrance Thomas — leave the program in the regular four-year track. Together, they’ve been a part of a program that has gone 18-27 overall since their freshman year in 2007.All of the seniors, though, were a part of two significant events for IU football.First, former IU coach Terry Hoeppner — the man in charge of the program when they were recruited — passed away after a battle with brain cancer in June 2007. Later that season, IU played its first bowl game since 1993.Those events were part of a maturation process, Council said.“I’ve changed a lot. I was a boy in a big world when I got here,” said Council. “My sophomore year I really got serious trying to improve as a football player. Every year since, I’ve just tried to do that.”Turner agreed that there’s been a radical change since his first game as a Hoosier.“Oh my gosh, I was watching my first game here on film a couple of days ago,” Turner said. “I looked different, I played totally different. I think I’ve made a lot of strides, a lot of improvement.”Despite thinking about playing in his last game at “The Rock,” the thought and feeling of the experience — one final time at home — still wasn’t fully processing, he said.“It probably won’t hit me until I walk on to the field and think ‘Wow, this is the last time I’m going to play in this stadium,’” Council said. “That’s when I’ll feel it.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>IU’s last-ditch effort for life in the closing seconds of Saturday’s game against Northwestern proved fruitless as an onside kick by redshirt freshman kicker Mitch Ewald failed to reach the minimum 10 yards, handing possession and the win to the Wildcats.IU senior quarterback Ben Chappell, meanwhile, took a seat at the far-right end of the offensive team bench — a hobbled left leg extended straight out. He grimaced, stared at the sky and then shook his head as fans filed out behind him.Another loss.Chappell finished Saturday’s game with 308 passing yards — a school-record eighth time he’s crossed the 300-yard threshold — but this was a different, no fun way to do it.“Nah, definitely not,” Chappell said about if his performance felt like it should afterwards, shaking his head left to right with his voice trailing off.IU (4-4, 0-4) fell 20-17 to Northwestern (6-2, 2-2) at Memorial Stadium. It was the Hoosiers’ ninth consecutive Big Ten loss.It was the fifth time this season Chappell has thrown for more than 300 yards. IU is now 3-2 this year when the Bloomington native throws for such a number, both losses coming by a combined 10 points.Saturday, though, didn’t look similar to the rest of Chappell’s statistics-heavy performances.There were passes overthrown, underthrown and otherwise not easily catchable by the receivers he targeted. Statistically, Chappell recorded his most single-game incompletions of the season (24) with his second-worst completion percentage (55.6 percent) of 2010.Only last week — he threw three interceptions and totaled 26-of-48 for a passing percentage of 54.2 percent at Illinois — was worse in the completion average department.IU coach Bill Lynch, though, did attribute some of Chappell’s inaccuracy to the weather conditions. According to the National Weather Service, nearby Monroe County Airport listed sustained winds during the game between 14 and 17 miles per hour, with gusts reaching 25 miles per hour.“The wind had a bearing on it,” Lynch said of Chappell’s incompletions, saying that at times the wind was swirling within the stadium. “The other thing is, they’re pretty good. In coverage, and particularly in third down, they have a really good third down package.”Possibly waxing poetic about the Hoosiers’ consistent uphill battle during the game, Chappell said the day’s weather could have factored into his statistical performance.“I feel like we were going in the wind the whole game,” Chappell said. “That’s just an excuse we’re not going to put out there, though. We just didn’t play well enough again on offense.”IU took the lead just twice and otherwise trailed for three-fourths of the contest.Third downs proved especially difficult for the Hoosiers, as they were just six-of-16 on the conversion plays — markedly below their season average of 48 percent.“We just got to pull it together,” junior wideout Damarlo Belcher said. “We make mistakes. At the end of the game when we’ve got to make plays, we just didn’t. That killed us.”Belcher led the team with 11 catches for 87 yards, but he also stood helplessly nearby when Ewald’s onside attempt went out of bounds short of the 10-yard requirement.The 17 points scored mark the third-lowest of the season for the once high-flying Hoosier offense. The offense has now piled together just 30 points in the last two losses, the lowest two-game total of the season by 14 points.Through the first four games of the year, IU averaged nearly 40 points per game.“Obviously, we didn’t execute,” Chappell said. “It’s just going to be a matter of going back to film and taking a look at what we’re not getting done throwing, catching, running and blocking.”Four Big Ten games remain for IU, and the team needs two wins to become bowl-eligible for just the second time in Lynch’s tenure.“We have to move on to the next one because that’s all we can do, really,” Chappell said.The Hoosiers, now riding a streak of nine straight losses in conference play, meet No. 15 Iowa Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>There are no ifs, ands or buts about last week’s 43-13 blowout loss to Illinois, IU football coach Bill Lynch said this week.“The turnovers and mistakes, you can’t win a Big Ten football game playing like that,” Lynch said.His Hoosiers proved him right, as their five total turnovers quickly turned into major points for the Illini offense. But those turnovers came as a result of offensive mistakes — long IU’s strong point this season — and may have overshadowed a growing consistency for the team’s defense, Lynch said.“A loss is a loss, and that’s the way we look at it,” Lynch said. “It’s a team win and a team loss, but certainly I think they should be pointed out that they made good improvement.”IU goes to work again in a noon game Saturday when the Hoosiers (4-3, 0-3) play host to Northwestern (5-2, 1-2) at Memorial Stadium. The game marks the eighth time the defensive side of the coin for IU has played together after major changes in the offseason.“There are a lot of new faces on defense this year, and we’re at that point in the season where I think we’re starting to make strides in our defense,” senior linebacker Tyler Replogle said. “I think especially in the last few weeks, our defense has really improved.”To bring IU’s turnovers against Illinois into perspective, two of the interceptions were returned directly for touchdowns. Another interception and a fumble saw Illinois tack on a touchdown and a field goal in seven total plays for a combined 28 yards.Factor in that one of IU’s two blocked punts last week turned into an Illini safety, and IU quickly handed Illinois 26 points in a 30-point loss.“Turnovers that led directly to scores and field position was dramatically in their favor because of our mistakes, both with the turnovers and the kicking game,” Lynch said. “It overshadowed some really good performances.”Those performances included fewer big plays, missed tackles and missed assignments, Lynch said.In fact, judging by Lynch’s rule of thumb that a “big play” is either 20 or more yards on a pass completion or a rushing gain of 12 or more yards, IU gave up just four “big plays” to Illinois — the longest of which was a 39-yard running play.The defense also manufactured five tackles for loss, exceeding its pre-Illinois season average of four. Illinois gained 289 total offensive yards — the second-fewest IU has allowed this season to the 288 yards they permitted against Western Kentucky.“When you talk about experience, not a lot of people talk about practice experience, it is game experience,” Replogle said. “I think that is what our defense has been exposed to this year.”Indeed, of the 11 starters IU had on the field last week, just four started last season, and one, junior college transfer Jeff Thomas, joined the team this season.It’s also been a squad that hasn’t been bit by the injury bug in recent weeks. Lynch said the last, most significant injury to the IU defense was in the loss to Michigan when senior cornerback Richard Council injured his knee late in the game.“I think the fact that they’ve been able to practice and stay healthy, that’s really helped,” Lynch said.Council, as well as junior safety Chris Adkins, returned to practice this week.“Adkins certainly isn’t going to play, but we’ll see where Council is,” Lynch said on Tuesday after Council participated in scrimmage drills while Adkins stood mostly on the sideline.Still, the depth chart listed that 10 of the 11 starters for Saturday’s game played last week at Illinois, and they’re ready to defend a Northwestern team that has given up a Big Ten-most 25 sacks this season.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>One postgame offensive line statistic for IU’s loss last week at Illinois didn’t show a terrible number of sacks for the quarterback they were protecting.Senior quarterback Ben Chappell went down for a loss in the pocket just once, a five-yard loss at the hands of Illinois’ Corey Liuget in the third quarter.Why, then, could IU (4-3, 0-3) coach Bill Lynch imitate his signal caller during Monday’s press conference at Memorial Stadium as an obviously-pained person — complete with a hunched back and a slow walk — thanks to a rough-and-tumble game?For that answer, a slight glance to the right of the sacks column is all it takes.Nine times in last Saturday’s ugly 43-13 loss in Champaign, Ill., Chappell faced enough pressure that it was recorded as a quarterback hurry in the box score. It was the most times all season, surpassing the eight plays he was hurried in the Michigan loss, that Chappell was hurried to make a throw.Often, those hurries left Chappell taking a big hit after letting go of the ball.“He got a couple of those that knocked the wind out of him, and he kept going,” Lynch said.The hurries appeared to be a contributing factor in at least some of the three interceptions Chappell tossed — his highest single-game amount of the year.Illinois’ getting pressure on quarterbacks has been nothing new this season. The Illini rank fourth in the Big Ten with 14 total sacks on the year. Illinois’ defensive front, though, may not be the only denominator in Chappell throwing the interceptions or feeling as a member of the walking wounded.In what is certainly no secret to Chappell or his protectors on the offensive line, injuries have become an all-too-often occurrence for IU’s front five. In the past four games alone, the Hoosiers have used four different starting combinations on the offensive line.The left side of the line has remained virtually intact, with anchors in junior left tackle Andrew McDonald and redshirt freshman left guard Aaron Price starting each of the four games. Sophomore center Will Matte has also been a consistent presence in front of Chappell.The dominoes on the right side of the line began to fall when senior offensive tackle James Brewer went down after the Michigan game with an ankle injury. Junior offensive lineman Justin Pagán was the linchpin next to Brewer at right guard.Pagán, who played in 11 games last season at left guard, made a position switch to Brewer’s tackle spot the next week at Ohio State while senior Jordan Marquette moved into the right guard role.“I try not to analyze people too much because then I’m thinking during the game instead of just playing it,” Pagán said last week. “So I take it that way and just know the positions.”The following week, IU opted to switch Pagán back to right guard while junior Josh Hager made his first career start at right tackle. The idea worked for all of one drive when the 6-foot-9-inch, 302-pound Hager left the game with what turned out to be a torn ACL, ending his season.Sophomore Marc Damisch played in Hager’s place and did so well enough to earn the start last week at Illinois in the right tackle spot. Despite the season-high nine hurries the offensive line allowed on Chappell, the unit will remain the same for Saturday’s home game against Northwestern if Monday’s depth chart holds true.However, Brewer, recovering from the ankle injury, dressed and practiced sporadically Tuesday. He also was on the field for Wednesday’s preparations.“We purposely went slow with him,” Lynch said. “(IU offensive line coach Mo Moriarity) certainly knows to limit his reps. When we go in we’ll how sore he is. We’ll try to do a little bit more (Wednesday) and see where he is Thursday. We’re hopeful.”Brewer certainly could restore some depth to the line, IU offensive coordinator Matt Canada said.“James is a great player,” Canada said. “He was obviously critical for us, and it was critical for us when he was gone. We need him here, so hopefully he can be healthy and be back.”The injuries, though, haven’t managed to completely derail the Hoosiers in terms of protection — aside from the hurries and likely-related interceptions at Illinois.In fact, IU has worked a ratio of one sack in every 42.1 attempts in 2010 even without Brewer. Overall, IU is fourth in the Big Ten with just seven sacks given up on the season.However, three-fourths of IU’s 28 total quarterback hurries this season have come in the team’s last four games.“We’re constantly looking to make tweaks. We want to eliminate as many hits as we possibly can,” Lynch said, noting that in a passing offense a quarterback stands to take plenty of hits.For that reason, Chappell’s size — he’s a 6-foot-3-inch, 242-pound player — is beneficial, Lynch said.The pressure does force Canada, IU’s play-caller, to take a little more conservative an approach — most notably with shorter passing routes.“When we’re having trouble in protection, it does force us throw a little bit shorter,” Canada said. “Certainly throwing down field is something everybody wants to see, but you have to have enough time to throw it downfield.”While alterations are necessary, Lynch said, the recent heavy pressure on Chappell isn’t reason enough to completely shy away from the team’s aggressive, downfield offensive philosophy.“If we go to maximum protection all of the time, we’re going to take a lot of good football players off of the field,” Lynch said. “You have to balance all of that.”