____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>After freshman forward Cody Zeller averaged 15.1 points per game prior to Big Ten play, Michigan State University held him scoreless for all but thirty seconds of Wednesday's 80-65 victory against the Hoosiers.The game, which included a 25-2 Hoosier run and a 20-0 Spartan run, marked the first loss of the season for the Hoosiers (12-1). Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo said he was "not pleased" with the ebbs and flows of the game."It was a real high-energy environment," sophomore guard Victor Oladipo said. "It's a good lesson learned for us, especially to come into an environment like this and because there are going to be environments like this in the future."After falling behind 34-16 early, senior guard Matt Roth and junior forward Christian Watford combined for three 3-pointers in a row to spark a 13-2 run to end the half. That run turned into a 25-2 run after halftime to put the Hoosiers on top 54-45 with just more than 11 minutes left. "Our defense was really good, and then we kind of lost focus," Izzo said. "A couple of my freshmen went a little brain-dead when Roth came in. Give Indiana credit. They made some big shots and bounced back and came back."From then on, the Spartans (12-2) slowed the IU offensive attack and sophomore guard Keith Appling ended the game with 25 points and shot 9-for-10 from the free-throw line.Appling's Hoosier counterpart, junior guard Jordan Hulls, shot 2-for-10 from the field, including four fruitless attempts at a 3-point basket. However, Watford said the difference in the second half was on the defensive end."We just didn't get enough defensive stops," Watford said. "It led to some easy buckets for them, and once they got rolling, it was hard to stop them."Watford led IU with 26 points and became the 43rd Hoosier to score 1,000 points for his career."He's well-deserving of it," Oladipo said. "He works really hard, and we're proud of him for it. We didn't get a win today, but it's a big leap for him."Zeller, the leading scorer during IU's season prior to Wednesday, was held scoreless until he scored four points early in the second half to give IU the lead. He didn't score for the remainder of the game."He'll make adjustments," IU coach Tom Crean said. "He made some in the second half. We made some, but it just didn't turn out to be a great game for him, but he is a quick learner, so I have no doubt that he will continue to get better."IU returns to Bloomington to face Ohio State on Saturday, and Crean said communication on defense will be the key. "You can prepare all you want," Crean said. "You can prepare for two, three days. You can prepare for all these different plays, but when the bullets are flying in those games, you've got to be ready at the drop of a hat, and that's where the reminders and the communication amongst teammates comes in."
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____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>One week after IU Coach Kevin Wilson’s inaugural season came to an end, eight players who might be involved in Wilson’s second season visited Bloomington.Some, like Warren Central linebacker Jordan Wallace and wide receiver Kevin Davis, have verbally committed to IU. Others, like Riverside (Calif.) Community College defensive end Justin Rayside, are weighing their options.The players toured facilities, from Memorial Stadium to the Student Recreational Sports Center to the Indiana Memorial Union.Rayside, born and raised in California, said he was surprised by how much he liked the area.“I thought it was going to be like some backdoor city out in the boondocks, but it’s a beautiful city,” Rayside said.Wallace recalled the first time he visited Bloomington in June and said he was also impressed.“I really wasn’t expecting to commit to IU that day,” Wallace said. “They weren’t even in my top five, and then after my visit, I was so impressed I committed that day.”Rayside will continue to look at other schools. He said IU is at the top of his list, but he wants to be fair to other interested schools.“I’m just looking to see if anyone can top what Indiana has,” Rayside said. “Their facilities are state-of-the-art, and Memorial Stadium is phenomenal.”The defensive end, who totaled 45 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks this season, said he would be willing to come to a colder climate than California to play for a major program.“I want to play football at a high level,” Rayside said. “The Big Ten is as big as it can get, really, especially being down there in Indiana with the Big Ten Championship, just seeing how much people of Indiana love football and how they follow their teams.”Wallace and Davis, who are stepbrothers, both committed in the summer. Defensive Tackles Coach Mark Hagen began recruiting Wallace when he was a coach at Purdue and ended up recruiting both brothers to play at IU. Since committing, Wallace and Davis have begun to bond with their respective position coaches and Wilson. Wallace said he likes Wilson’s attitude.“He has a straightforward attitude, and he’s always going to be honest,” Wallace said. “A lot of head coaches, when you’re getting recruited, are not honest all the time.”All three players said the team’s 1-11 record this season didn’t have an effect on their respective recruitments.Rayside is familiar with coming to a school with a disappointing record and seeing a turnaround, he said.“Before I came to Riverside, their football team went 1-9,” Rayside said. “I came in as a freshman on a team that had been losing for years, and my first year, we turned it around. We went 10-1. My second year, we were 11-0.”Wallace and Davis said they were encouraged by the amount of young players playing time for the Hoosiers.“I know the reason I came to IU in the first place is the IU potential,” Davis said. “I want to be a part of that.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>At this time last year, former IU Coach Bill Lynch was being fired and Hoosier fans were worried about losing starting quarterback Ben Chappell and wide receiver Tandon Doss to the NFL. What a difference a year can make. IU Coach Kevin Wilson is under contract for six more seasons, and not only is starting quarterback Tre Roberson staying, but he has three years left in his IU career.Statistically, the scales were reversed on offense in 2011. While IU’s leading passer, rusher and receiver were all juniors or seniors in 2010, the leading passer, rusher and receiver were underclassmen in 2011.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Prior to Saturday’s 33-25 loss to Purdue, Co-Defensive Coordinator Doug Mallory said the memory of a final game against a rival might never fade.“I think a lot of times, when you get a little bit older and you look back, you’re always going to remember how you played your last rival game,” Mallory said. “I think that’s what you’re going to remember: whether or not you won the Bucket.”The 20 players not returning next season, along with the rest of the Hoosiers, didn’t win the Bucket on Saturday, allowing the Boilermakers (6-6, 4-4) 508 yards of total offense and a chance at a bowl game. It was the third time this season IU allowed more than 500 yards of offense.A major contributing factor to the large amount of yardage was the success the Boilermakers had on third down. They converted 11 of 20 third downs, including a third-and-23. Senior linebacker Jeff Thomas, who led the team in tackles this season with 80, said it was disheartening to allow so many second chances.“It’s crappy,” Thomas said. “We let them off the hook on a lot of third downs, a lot of third-down scrambles. It’s tough.”The third downs made for a number of long drives for Purdue, keeping IU’s offense off the field for the majority of the game.Even though players like sophomore running back Stephen Houston and true freshman running back D’Angelo Roberts had very few opportunities to touch the ball, they made them count. Houston averaged 18.4 yards per carry on his seven runs, one of which went for 52 yards and a touchdown. Roberts had four carries, scoring on two of them.Senior left tackle Andrew McDonald said the contributions from young players, such as Houston and Roberts, bode well for IU’s future.“Obviously, it does benefit the team moving forward because they get the experience this year and next year,” McDonald said. “They’re going to be in the game and just really have that experience to be able to do what they need to do.”IU was outscored 16-3 in the second quarter, and the third quarter was scoreless for both teams. True freshmen quarterback Tre Roberson and the offense found a renewed sense of urgency in the final quarter, bringing it to within eight points with 8:22 to play.On IU’s final drive, Roberson looked for true freshman wide receiver Nick Stoner deep in Purdue territory, but Purdue defensive back Josh Johnson wrestled the ball from Stoner as the players went to the ground. Fans expressed distaste for the call, but McDonald said the blame shouldn’t be on the referees.“It’s just a call they make,” McDonald said. “We probably shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position where that would have changed the game so much, so you take what you get. I’m not really too worried about the call or anything.”McDonald and Thomas hailed the younger players on the team, both saying improvement is imminent for the 1-11 (0-8) squad.“The players we have now know how things will go and how Coach Wilson wants everything done,” Thomas said. “I feel like there’s only room to go up now.”Mallory, who played defensive back for Michigan in the 1980s, is still haunted by a loss in his final game against Ohio State. Houston, fresh off a loss in his first game against Purdue, said he is already looking to next year’s matchup.“You always want to win, no doubt,” Houston said. “Our year didn’t go the way that it was planned, but we had some good and we had some bad. Nothing’s perfect. Next season, when we return to West Lafayette, that bucket will come home, back to IU.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>In the 87th battle between IU and Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket, the old rivals stayed close for most of the game, but in the end, the Boilermakers reclaimed the Bucket with a 33-25 victory.Even though today marks senior day for 20 Hoosiers, underclassmen have led the offense for IU. True freshman Tre Roberson started under center for IU, completing 17 of 26 passes for 147 yards, while sophomore Stephen Houston leads IU with 129 rushing yards, including a 52-yard touchdown run in the opening quarter. True freshman D'Angelo Roberts has also been involved in the run game, scoring on a six-yard run in the first quarter and a five-yard run in the fourth quarter.After Houston's touchdown run, Purdue put together a touchdown drive of its own, ending with a 15-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Caleb TerBush to junior wide receiver Antavian Edison.The two teams exchanged field goals in the second quarter, as Purdue's senior Carson Wiggs hit a 29-yard field goal and sophomore Mitch Ewald made a 32-yard field goal for IU. The ensuing kickoff resulted in an 81-yard return to inside IU's 10-yard line. Junior running back Ralph Bolden scored on the next play from eight yards out, tying the game at 17 points apiece. Wiggs gave the Boilermakers a 23-17 while making two field goals in the final five minutes of the half, one from 43 yards away and one from 48.The third quarter was filled with fruitless drives from both teams, but Purdue opened the fourth quarter with another Wiggs field goal to make it a two-score game with just over 13 minutes remaining, and then scored on a short Edison run with 11 minutes left to make it 33-17.With 5:26 remaining in the game, Purdue downed a punt at the IU one-yard line, putting the Hoosiers into a situation where they had to march 99 yards and convert a two-point conversion to tie. After a pair of first downs, Roberson threw deep for true freshman Nick Stoner, but Purdue junior defensive back Josh Johnson intercepted the pass to effectively seal the victory for Purdue.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The seats of Memorial Stadium have glowed red this week with from light of theconstantly illuminated scoreboard. It has beamed one message all weekwithout fail: Beat Purdue.Not only has the scoreboard been stuck on Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. matchup againstPurdue (5-6, 3-4), but IU Coach Kevin Wilson said he has noticed talk about the Old Oaken Bucket his entire time at IU.“Since I’ve been here, that’s what everyone here talks about and not every school is lucky enough to have a rival,” Wilson said. “It’s great that in our situation, we have one and I think that’s one of the unique things of sports is when you are blessed with that opportunity.”Since the trophy was first awarded in 1925, Purdue leads the series with a 56-27-3 record, but the Hoosiers (1-10, 0-7) have won two of the last four Bucket games, including last season. If they were to beat the Boilermakers Saturday, it wouldbe the first back-to-back Hoosier victories since 1993-1994.The Purdue defense might present some problems for the IU offense with playmakers like junior defensive tackle Kawaan Short, who ranks second in the Big Ten in sacks with 6.5.Twenty IU seniors will end their collegiate careers with this game by lining up against Short and his teammates, and Co-Defensive Coordinator Doug Mallory said many players could be playing their final football game.“You’ve got to make the most of it and it starts with the week of preparation,”Mallory said. “The light’s not just going to go on Saturday and all of a sudden, you’re going to go out and play this unbelievable game.”Wilson said one of his favorite parts about big games is the week leading up to the game, especially the practices. He said the team recovered quickly from its 55-3 loss last Saturday against Michigan State and there has been a little more bounce to the Hoosiers’ step.The excitement of the week is making the job of coaches to fire up their playersmuch easier, Mallory said.“I don’t know if it needs to take any motivating here from the coaches,” Mallorysaid. “Particularly, the older kids have been around this rivalry for the last four orfive years. You would think some of that would filter down to the younger kids.”Those younger players will also be playing the final game of a season filled withopportunities for true freshmen like quarterback Tre Roberson or safety MarkMurphy. The Hoosiers have played 32 freshmen (16 of them true freshmen) thisseason, which is the most in the country.Wilson said a number of players, young and old, have grown up cheering forIU sports, so many of them know the importance of the Bucket Game. Seniorlinebacker Leon Beckum said the experienced leaders of the team have taken itupon themselves to educate the underclassmen on the meaning of Saturday’s game, which is set to air on the Big Ten Network.“The younger guys, they need to know the importance of the game and the tradition it has so they can fight that much harder,” Beckum said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The 55-3 loss to Michigan State on Saturday cemented the fact IU would not take home the Old Brass Spittoon. The players, such as junior defensive tackle Larry Black, Jr., turned their attention to the next prospective trophy: the Old Oaken Bucket.“You’ve just got to forget it and keep moving on,” Black said. “It’s already out of my head. I’m ready to head back home and get the Old Oaken Bucket.”The Old Oaken Bucket is given annually to the winner of the IU-Purdue game. The Hoosiers (1-10, 0-7), who won the Bucket game last season, now look to bounce back from a game in which they allowed 470 yards of offense and 174 rushing yards to Michigan State, ranked last in the Big Ten in rushing.True freshman quarterback Tre Roberson, who started his fourth consecutive game, completed 10 of his 23 passes, throwing two interceptions. Though he was replaced in the second half, he said he expects both himself and the team to recover against the Boilermakers.“We’ll all bounce back pretty well,” Roberson said. “We’re all excited about the Bucket game. I’m excited about playing my first Bucket game, so I think we’ll all bounce back and get back focused and go ahead and try and get Purdue.”Like Roberson, IU Coach Kevin Wilson will participate in his first game against Purdue. This won’t be his first experience with a rivalry game, but he said for the team to find success against its rival, it must start with itself.“We just have to use it to figure out who we are as a team,” Wilson said. “The rivalry is part of it. The biggest rival I ever played was my high school rival. “Everyone’s got that big rivalry, and we are just lucky to have that big game every year and have a true great rivalry. We have to play better, though. The game is mostly about us improving as a team.”Among the positives from Saturday’s loss to the Spartans was senior wide receiver Dre Muhammad, who grabbed nine receptions, a career high.Muhammad spent his freshman year at Purdue, developing a friendship with a few of the Boilermakers, such as current Colts and former Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter. Despite his history, Muhammad said the game will have the same importance for all seniors on the team.“It’s the same for all our seniors, even though I was there my freshman year,” Muhammad said. “I got a lot of friends on the team. I would say it’s like any other game, but it’s not. It’s the Bucket Game, so obviously, it’s a big game for me and the rest of the seniors.”Moments after losing by 52 points, players stressed how important it was to immediately put the loss behind them and focus on the Boilermakers (5-6, 3-4) and the defense of the Old Oaken Bucket.“I’m ready to go back out there now, but we have to watch the film, get over it, make up our mistakes and get ready for Purdue because they’re a good football team, too,” Black said. “We need to keep the Bucket back at home.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>During IU’s bye week, the focus was not on the Michigan State-Indiana rivalry. This week, however, all eyes are fixed squarely on the Spartans in East Lansing, Mich., junior center Will Matte said.“Honestly, before I got to IU, I didn’t know this was a trophy game,” Matte said. “Obviously, after being here for a couple years, we haven’t been able to play them, but I’ve been hearing about it, especially now. It’s game week.”The Old Brass Spittoon was put into effect in 1950 as the prize for the winner of the nearly annual game.Michigan State has won 40 of the 53 battles for the Spittoon and won the most recent contest in 2008. Just five players on the current roster played against the Spartans in 2008. The matchup will become more common in coming years, senior offensive lineman Justin Pagan said.“It’s not regularly (played) before, but now, every year, they’re our cross-divisional opponent, so it’s going to come back,” Pagan said. “We want to start off right and get the Spittoon.”When the Big Ten moved to a two-division system, each team was assigned a cross-division rival, and since Michigan State-Indiana is one of the oldest rivalries in the conference, they now will play each other regularly. A more commonly played opponent in recent years has been Illinois, which is also in close proximity to IU. Both Matte and Pagan are from Illinois.“It would seem like it would make a lot more sense with Illinois, because there are a ton of Illinois kids at IU,” Matte said. “It’s fun to just create rivalries. It always makes it that much more interesting when you’re playing for a trophy.”The trophy won’t be the only interesting aspect of Saturday’s game for sophomore wide receiver Jamonne Chester. Growing up in Detroit, Chester not only grew up a fan of the Spartans; his high school mascot at Redford (Mich.) Covenant Christian was the Spartan. Chester played both football and basketball suiting up alongside a close friend who would continue to wear a Spartan basketball jersey into his college days. “I grew up a Michigan State fan, man,” Chester said. “My boy Durrell Summers went there. Michigan State was at our practice, our games, every week. I was a Spartan in high school, but I guess not now. I play against them now.”Chester is still close with Summers, who played for Tom Izzo’s squad from 2007 to 2011. Chester also played football against some current Michigan State players in high school, including a game of seven-on-seven football against junior running back Edwin Baker.The rivalry with the Spartans isn’t the only game for a trophy remaining on the Hoosiers’ schedule. The final game of the season is against Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket.“The Bucket Game speaks for itself,” Matte said. “That’s always a crazy atmosphere, and it will be really fun playing Michigan State for the first time. It’s someone new I haven’t seen and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”The final two games carry meaning for the 1-9 IU team, especially the seniors, Pagan said.Co-Offensive Coordinator Rod Smith echoed Pagan’s sentiments.“Obviously, the season hasn’t gone the way anybody wants it to go,” Smith said. “We’ve been, for the most part, competitive playing with a bunch of young guys, so (we have) the opportunity to still go out and have stuff to play for. Trophy games, Big Ten games.”For the younger players on the team like Chester, the final two trophy games carry the promise of ending the season on a high that can extend into next season, Chester said.“It’s a big opportunity for us,” Chester said. “If we win these two games, we’ll have momentum going into next season, having both of these buckets and having something to fight for and hold on to.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>After IU lost to Virginia early in the season, players said they had to find a way to play well while having fun. For the first time since that game, players made similar statements after a 34-20 loss to Ohio State on Saturday.“It was just us having fun and playing ball the way we’re capable of,” junior defensive tackle Larry Black Jr. said. “We’re capable of doing that every game. We just need to do it more often.”Advantageous field position helped the Hoosiers jump out to a 10-0 lead, as the opening kickoff landed out of bounds and the IU defense forced its first turnover since Oct. 8 against Illinois.After Ohio State’s true freshman quarterback, Braxton Miller, put the Buckeyes on the board with the longest quarterback run in OSU history — 81 yards — the difference between the teams was never more than seven points until the final minutes. IU Coach Kevin Wilson said he wasn’t surprised at how close the game was, despite the 27.5-point spread.“We thought if we played up to our ability, we could have a chance,” Wilson said. “We talked about having some fun and playing hard and not worrying about mistakes.”Sophomore wide receiver Kofi Hughes, who led all receivers with eight receptions for 147 yards and a touchdown, said they found added inspiration from a newspaper article that claimed playing IU was like having a bye week.“That was our motto all week and coming out to the game: ‘Hey, it’s just a bye week. We’re just a bye week,’” Hughes said. “Of course, we’re not like that, and we came out with an aggressive attitude that we’re going to run the ball.”IU ran the ball for 159 yards but allowed more than 300 yards on the ground for the second straight week. Three Buckeyes rushed for more than 100 yards. Ohio State found the most success on the ground during the third quarter, in which they rushed for 148 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown run from Miller.“They were very effective in the third quarter,” Wilson said. “We knew the quarterback draw was going to be the lead play. Even when it’s not draws, you have to account for him, and that’s just smart football. To let him out was disappointing.”Despite allowing 34 points, players said strides were evident. Senior linebacker Jeff Thomas, who returned from a separated shoulder to play, recovered a fumble in the first quarter, and junior safety Alexander Webb picked off a pass from Miller in the third quarter and also led the team in tackles with 11.IU sacked Miller six times. Redshirt freshman linebacker Chase Hoobler had two sacks and compiled nine total tackles.“This week, we just wanted to prove ourselves as a defense,” Hoobler said. “We’re not hitting how we should the last couple of weeks, and for me, personally, I just had to step it up.”Black said he understood the strides on defense but wasn’t satisfied with the team’s play on third down. The Buckeyes converted three of nine third down chances.“We definitely took a step forward, but we’ve just got to get off the field on third down,” Black said. “We had them at third-and-10 or more on a lot of occasions. We just need to convert it and get off the field.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Both IU and Ohio State lost their first two games in Big Ten play. Since then, the teams have taken opposite paths to Saturday’s matchup in Columbus.While the Hoosiers (1-8, 0-5) have lost their previous three games by a combined score of 163-69, the Buckeyes (5-3, 2-2) have defeated two ranked opponents in Illinois and Wisconsin.Ohio State has relied heavily on its run game, centered around running back Dan Herron, who has rushed for 274 yards and a touchdown in the last two games. Despite the Buckeye rushing attack that ranks 36th in the nation, IU Coach Kevin Wilson said focusing on that dimension of the Ohio State offense would not be smart.“We can’t get lulled to sleep with their run, run, run,” Wilson said. “They hit you on a crack-and-go, they hit you on a double move, they hit you on a good play action because that’s their style. They are good in the pass game. ... They just get you asleep.”Like the Hoosiers, Ohio State has given playing time to a true freshman quarterback this season after an experienced starter left. True freshman Braxton Miller has seen playing time in the wake of Terrelle Pryor leaving for the NFL. Pryor completed 24 of his 30 passes for three touchdowns against IU in 2010.Both quarterbacks have the ability to run the ball, but Miller has not yet become the player Pryor was last season, junior defensive tackle Larry Black Jr. said.“I wouldn’t compare him to Pryor yet, but he’s going to get there,” Black said. “He’s still a freshman, so we still have to be able to take advantage of that.”Ohio State has been a fairly conventional, straightforward offensive team this season, different from the spread attack the IU defense faced against Northwestern last week, Co-Defensive Coordinator Doug Mallory said.“It’s two totally different offenses,” Mallory said. “They don’t spread you out as much as what we saw last week. They play in tighter spaces and they count on their size and physicality to knock you out of there.”Against a more conventional offense in Penn State, the Hoosiers allowed 16 points, the lowest total allowed by IU all season. Defensive line players for IU will have an easier time against this offense, Black said.“Coming straight off the ball, man on man, there’s a chance for you to make more plays,” Black said. “It’s kind of fun.”Senior linebacker Jeff Thomas, who missed last week’s loss against Northwestern with a separated shoulder, is expected to return, Wilson said. He added that after senior linebacker Leon Beckum played hard last week upon returning from injury, he wants Thomas to do the same.On the offensive side of the ball, sophomore wide receiver Duwyce Wilson is likely out for the season with an ACL injury, but junior center Will Matte has been practicing and should be involved. Though Matte was listed as first on the depth chart this week, Wilson said redshirt freshman Collin Rahrig, who has played center for the last two games, will likely also get time at center.Twelve freshmen started for IU last week, which is the most in the FBS this season. Mallory said the young players are going through a bit of transition, and coaches are trying to simplify the schemes for them.“When you’ve got a confused team out there and you’ve got kids out there making mental mistakes, you’re probably doing too much,” Mallory said. “It’s not what we know as a staff, it’s what the kids know, what they’re able to get out there and execute.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Two weeks ago, senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher caught his 189th career pass, putting him just shy of the all-time Hoosier receptions record.He didn’t know it then, but it would be his last reception in an IU uniform.Belcher was dismissed from the team Monday for a violation of team rules, according to a press release from IU Athletics. He ends his IU career two receptions behind James Hardy’s 191 catches for the most in school history. Belcher led the Big Ten in receptions last season with 78 for 832 yards and four touchdowns.The Fort Wayne native leads the Hoosiers in receptions this season with 25, even though injuries have limited him to playing in six of the team’s nine games. He suffered a bone bruise in his knee in the third game of the season against South Carolina State.With his 25 receptions, Belcher has amassed 286 receiving yards this season with one touchdown, a 65-yard grab against Ball State in the first game of the season. Sophomore Kofi Hughes has played in all nine games and is second on the team with 20 receptions.Belcher served a one-game suspension Saturday, missing IU’s 59-38 loss to Northwestern. Prior to the 2011 season, Belcher was on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List. The wide receiver was also named to Big Ten Players to Watch List, but now, Belcher will be the one watching as his team plays its final three games of the season.
While 2011 marked the 99th Homecoming for IU, it was football coach Kevin Wilson's first as a Hoosier.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>After struggling to gain yardage on the ground against teams like Ball State and North Texas, the Hoosiers have found a way to rush against Big Ten opponents like Wisconsin, Iowa and Northwestern.Senior offensive lineman Justin Pagan attributes some of the success to the changing attitude of the team.“It’s definitely a mindset,” Pagan said. “It’s something we didn’t have at the beginning of the year, but now, we showed that we keep pushing through it. We have that attitude to keep going, and we still have little stuff to fix.”In Saturday’s 59-38 defeat at the hands of Northwestern, both sophomore running back Stephen Houston and true freshman quarterback Tre Roberson rushed for more than 100 yards, helping IU total 319 on the ground.Through their first six games, the Hoosiers compiled 713 rushing yards as a team. In the last three games, they have totaled 759 yards on the ground.At Big Ten Media Days in August, players such as senior wide receiver Damarlo Belcher expected members of the wide receiving corps to be the standouts, not young rushers like Houston or true freshman D’Angelo Roberts.“I think Duwyce Wilson is going to have a breakout season this year,” Belcher said then. “Kofi’s going to play great, and we even have a couple of young fellas and once camp starts, we’re going to see if they’re going to be able to play.”There was no mention of Houston, Roberts or anyone else in the IU backfield. At that point, most questions were about who will play quarterback and how the passing game would progress. Houston was on hardly anyone’s radar.He transferred from Independence (Kan.) Community College during the summer and has become one of the regulars on IU’s offense in recent weeks. Houston has scored six times this season, more than any one quarterback on IU’s roster has thrown.“The more he’s played, the better he’s got,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “Here’s a guy that shows up for us and again, we don’t know anything about him until mid-June, get him in here the first of July and now that’s three or four weeks in a row he keeps building.”Injuries have plagued much of IU’s receiving corps, from Belcher to sophomores Hughes and Duwyce Wilson. Belcher was suspended from Saturday’s game for a violation of team rules, and Duwyce Wilson left the game after suffering what could be a serious knee injury.Injuries and inconsistent quarterback play have limited IU’s passing attack this season. For example, Duwyce Wilson leads the team in touchdown receptions with three. Northwestern’s Drake Dunsmore had that many touchdown receptions before halftime of Saturday’s game.In past weeks, Wilson has complimented Houston on his ability to break tackles and run hard. Houston ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns Saturday, adding three receptions for 32 yards.“He ran through some trash,” Kevin Wilson said. “He got more than what was blocked. I think in some ways we blocked a little bit better, too. Not that he was playing on his own out there, but he definitely took some one and two-yard plays and got six, seven, eight, nine or 10 a few times.”Houston gave a great deal of credit to the players on IU’s offensive line, as well as the coaches who helped establish his trust in the offense. The line had its best week of practice, Houston said.The offensive line has undergone many changes this year as a result of injuries. The Hoosiers lost senior Josh Hager for the season in the opening game, and junior center Will Matte has missed the last two games. Young players such as redshirt freshman Collin Rahrig, who has played center in Matte’s place, impressed Houston, he said.“We had a lot of freshmen play today,” Houston said. “I have confidence in whoever plays. Obviously, Coach does, too. He has the trust to start Tre, (true freshman wide receiver) Shane (Wynn) and we have freshmen on our (offensive) line starting, and they all did a tremendous job.”Shortly after the game ended, the focus turned to Ohio State, the Hoosiers’ next opponent, Houston said. Ohio State has allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards of any Big Ten team this season.“We’ll see some different animals as we move forward in the next few weeks defensively with the type of defense and other teams’ ability to play great run defense,” Wilson said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Saturday will be the 99th Homecoming in IU’s history, but it will be the first for head football coach Kevin Wilson.He has experienced homecoming games at the other places he has coached, such as Miami (Ohio), Northwestern and Oklahoma, but for the first time, he will oversee an entire team coming onto the field for its homecoming game.In past seasons, teams Wilson has coached haven’t spent much time getting involved in homecoming festivities, and the Hoosiers will likely also stick to a similar schedule they have had in previous weeks. Although his routine and the routine of the team hasn’t changed much from what it is normally like, the game itself will take on a little more magnitude than other games because of who and how many will be in attendance.“As a coach and a team, you know this is one of the weekends that a lot of the alumni target to come back, and you want to play well,” Wilson said. “To me, it’s a little more about making sure that you have a really good game performance.”Performing in games has been tough for the Hoosiers this season, as they enter Saturday’s matchup against Northwestern with a 1-7 record. The past two weeks, IU has played in front of loud, rowdy crowds at Wisconsin and Iowa, which has provided many younger players on the team a great deal of energy, Wilson said.The stands in Memorial Stadium have looked barren at times, even though Wilson commended the energy of the crowd at games like the season-opener against Virginia.“It’s our fault on performance that we’re not getting a more enthusiastic or bigger crowd now,” Wilson said. “We need to change the way we play and our culture, and the fans will follow what we do.”Wilson was the offensive coordinator at Northwestern from 1999 to 2001. He traveled there with coach Randy Walker after they had coached together at Miami (Ohio) and led an offense that was top in the Big Ten in 2000 and went to the Alamo Bowl.Wilson said he knows a couple of the guys on the Wildcat sideline but said the top priority is getting a win Saturday. If IU were to beat Northwestern (2-5) on Saturday, it would be the first Big Ten win of the season and the first of Wilson’s head coaching career. He also said it would mean a great deal for seniors and fans as well.“We need to start winning games. We need to win at home,” Wilson said. “We need to win Homecoming. It would mean a lot for us to start putting the product on the field that we take pride in playing in this house.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>It hasn’t been long since a pair of crimson-clad IU coaches wore the royal purple of the Northwestern Wildcats. IU Coach Kevin Wilson was Northwestern’s offensive coordinator from 1999-2001, and Co-offensive Coordinator Kevin Johns coached Wildcats running backs from 2004 to 2005 and wide receivers from 2006 to 2010.When Wilson was the offensive coordinator under head coach Randy Walker at Miami (Ohio), the two ran a conventional offense, which Wilson compared to that of former IU Coach Bill Mallory.They found success at Miami, racking up 59 wins against 36 losses and five ties. When opportunity knocked for Walker to coach at Northwestern, he took the job, and Wilson followed.“I was kind of working for Coach Walker as much as I was working for Northwestern,” Wilson said. “The only reason I was there was because he left Miami, and I was working for him, so I consider myself a little bit more of a Randy Walker guy than a Northwestern guy.”After they went to Northwestern in 1999, posted a 3-8 record, scored just 141 total points for the season and saw numerous players graduate, they knew they had to make a change. The team was without certain position players who were integral to an effective rushing attack, which forced them to look at tweaking its offense.“The only reason we did it was out of necessity,” Wilson said. “We didn’t have tight ends. We didn’t have fullbacks, and Coach Walker wanted to run the ball, and we were one of the first teams that went to the gun spread and the quarterback run.”The two visited, among others, offensive guru Rich Rodriguez, then the offensive coordinator at Clemson, to learn the zone-read spread offense. The offense puts emphasis on the quarterback making split-second decisions on whether to keep the ball, hand it off to a running back or execute a number of other plays.The change worked for the Wildcats, and they garnered an 8-4 (6-2) record in 2000, tying for first in the Big Ten. The offense averaged 36.8 points per game. Defensive Tackles Coach Mark Hagen, who coached at Purdue at the time, got a good look at the Wildcat offense.“All the zone read that you see with the quarterback run game, they were one of the first crews to run it,” Hagen said. “Coach Rodriguez had kind of been doing it, dabbling in it, but I know Coach Wilson brought that to the Midwest.”This style of offense intrigued Walker and Wilson, but they still wanted to stay true to their philosophy of running the ball.“It was a version of the spread, but it was more run the ball than it was to throw it, like Purdue was doing,” Hagen said. “That was their niche back then.”At the time, Johns was a graduate assistant under Wilson at Northwestern. He returned to Evanston in 2004 and became the passing game coordinator in 2008.Though he was highly involved with Northwestern’s offense as recently as last season, he said he doesn’t have much to offer as a scouting report.“Northwestern’s empty. They play fast. They run the option. They have great athletes out in space, and the film says all those things,” Johns said, “I’m not sure that I’m giving them much that they can’t see on the film.”Northwestern runs a formation that puts the quarterback, either Dan Persa or Kain Colter, alone in the backfield, which spreads out the offense. This also spreads the defense out, making it easier for the offense to find gaps.Hagen said the Northwestern offense has undergone some changes since Wilson’s time in Evanston and will present IU’s defense with some challenges.“Number one, they spread out your defense and then (have) the ability to run or throw it, the ability to go empty — the ability to go different tempos,” Hagen said. “There’s just a lot to prepare for defensively.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>With his team down 14-0 to North Central (Ind.) High School and his starting quarterback injured, Lawrence Central (Ind.) Coach Jayson West turned to his backup quarterback.The sophomore wearing number 13 trotted onto the field and proceeded to lead the Bears’ offense to a 28-point second half and a victory.The year was 2008, and the quarterback was Tre Roberson.“He’s just always a quarterback,” West said. “He was kind of a point guard in basketball, too. He’s just that kind of kid. He wants the ball in his hands. He wants to do something with it. We obliged him.”On Saturday, three years after being thrust into the starting role at Lawrence Central, Roberson became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for IU since true freshmen became eligible in 1972.Roberson earned the title of Mr. Football in his senior season in 2010, throwing for 2,611 yards, 24 touchdowns versus four interceptions and rushing for 1,992 yards and 21 touchdowns.“He’s elusive, and he’s got a live arm,” West said. “He’s the best of both worlds, in my opinion.”Prior to his 2010 campaign, Roberson had committed to IU, and when he enrolled, he became the first Mr. Football in Indiana to attend IU since Earl Haniford in 1995. Roberson followed in the footsteps of grandfather Larry Highbaugh, who played defensive back at IU from 1968-71 and eventually became a Canadian Football League Hall of Famer. There was never a doubt that Roberson would end up a Hoosier, West said. Co-Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach Rod Smith had no problems keeping Roberson at IU even after coaching changes.“When I got hired in January, I recruited one kid,” Smith said. “That was him. That’s all I had, so I spent my entire effort making sure he was happy, and I know Coach Wilson liked him as well.”In the first round of the 2010 Indiana High School Athletic Association playoffs, the Bears took on defending champion Warren Central, coached by John Hart, who said he had been impressed with Roberson before.“The thing that’s unique about him (is) not only does he have the incredible athletic skills,” Hart said. “I thought he could make all throws, and he did versus us.”Roberson accounted for 295 total yards and five touchdowns in the game, eventually leading the Bears to the 5A state championship game against Fishers.Hart drew comparisons between Roberson’s skill set and that of current Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. Smith, who coached Robinson at Michigan, sees a few differences.“They’re on different planes,” Smith said. “They’re different kids. Tre’s not as fast or explosive as Denard is, but Tre might have a little more poise. He might have a little more moxie to him, in terms of the quarterback position.”The true freshman, who changed his number to 5 this season, played sparingly through the team’s first seven games. True freshman wide receiver Cody Latimer, who developed a sense of chemistry with Roberson during the summer, said Roberson’s elusiveness makes life easier for his receivers.“He makes big plays, even when he’s in trouble,” Latimer said. “The play never ends with Tre, because he rolls out and gets out of it, breaks tackles and he can still get you the ball.”Roberson put those talents to use against the 5-2 Hawkeyes last Saturday, completing 16 of 24 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. It won’t be the yards or the touchdown that he will remember most from his first start, he said.“I’m going to remember just going out there and having fun and just playing the game and letting the game play me,” Roberson said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Friday, the day Harold Camping predicted as the end of the world, Columbus (Ind.) East quarterback Gunner Kiel decommitted to IU.Steve Wilfong of 247sports.com first reported Friday that Gunner Kiel, the top-rated quarterback recruit in the country according to Rivals.com, is not only opening his commitment, but made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame Saturday, when the team lost 31-17 to USC. At Notre Dame on Saturday, Gunner Kiel heard a pro-IU chant and told fans leading the chant that he was no longer considering IU, said Kevin Bowen, an IDS reporter who was in attendance. Gunner Kiel informed IU Coach Kevin Wilson of his decision Thursday night, according to the Indianapolis Star.The 6-foot-4-inch pro-style quarterback committed to IU on July 27 after months of speculation. He had also considered Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, among others.Gunner Kiel was IU’s class of 2012’s 13th commit. He is the state’s top prospect and was said to be the highest profiled prospect for IU since Dave Schnell, Elkhart (Ind.) Central quarterback, committed to the program in 1985.Without Gunner Kiel in the 2012 recruiting class, the highest-rated players committed to IU are wide receiver Kevin Davis from Warren Central High School in Indianapolis and defensive end Nick Mangieri from Dunlap High School in Dunlap, Ill. They are both three-star recruits.Gunner Kiel’s brother Dusty has started two games for IU this season, completing 39 of 82 passes for 427 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Dusty Kiel suffered an ankle injury against Illinois, sat out last week and sat out this Saturday against Iowa.Even though the Hoosiers have out-passed their opponents 1,761 yards to 1,714 this season, IU has struggled to find consistency from the quarterback position. Quarterbacks have thrown six interceptions and just eight touchdown passes, and IU has been outscored 267 to 171, an average loss of 33-21.Sophomores Dusty Kiel and Edward Wright-Baker have seen time under center, as has true freshman Tre Roberson, who completed 16 of 24 passes in Saturday’s 45-24 loss at Iowa. Roberson started the game, becoming the first true freshman to ever do so for IU. Many might have thought Gunner Kiel would become the second, but for now, he is considering other options.Gunner Kiel and his Columbus (Ind.) East (9-1) teammates advanced to the second round of the playoffs Friday by defeating Shelbyville 49-21. The Olympians will play East Central (9-1) at home Friday.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Coming into Saturday’s matchup with Iowa, the Hoosier defense struggled with giving up big plays, allowing five touchdowns of 67 yards or more during the season.Near the end of the first quarter, Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg added another touchdown to that list, finding wide receiver Marvin McNutt for an 80-yard score.“That’s just not having some awareness,” IU Coach Kevin Wilson said. “I don’t know if we had some significant busts or just some very, very poor tackling.”The 80-yard strike was McNutt’s 22nd career touchdown reception, hich set the school record. The play was a play-action pass that IU’s defense has worked on during practice, but in a game, it didn’t turn out perfectly. Three IU defenders collided on the play, leaving McNutt with room to run.En route to a 45-24 loss to fall to 1-7 (0-4), the 80-yard touchdown wasn’t the only time IU’s defense struggled to contain the Iowa offense that ranked fourth in the Big Ten in scoring. Running back Marcus Coker ran for 139 yards and two touchdowns.“I don’t think we made a defensive stop until the fourth quarter, so they worked us well, run and pass,” Wilson said. The Vandenburg-McNutt tandem was lethal for the 5-2 (2-1) Hawkeyes, doing the majority of its damage before halftime. After the second quarter, McNutt had five receptions for 174 yards and three touchdowns.Senior linebacker Leon Beckum returned to his first game since suffering an injury against Ball State and finished with eight tackles. He said it took a couple of series for him to get back into the flow of the game, and he said at times, he thought he was at fault for defensive mishaps.“I wish it was just different out there today,” Beckum said. “I felt 100 percent out there. It was just getting into the game flow. Trying to get back into the game speed, I kind of broke down on some coverages.”Not all was dreary for the Hoosiers on Saturday, as the defense came up with a season-high four sacks. The IU offense also showed signs of life that gave Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz some problems, especially on the ground and with the new “diamond” formation.“They unveiled that formation, went to it last week,” Ferentz said. “I guess they’re calling it ‘the diamond.’ That’s kind of going around college football right now . They were playing well, executing well. The quarterback did a good job.”True freshman Tre Roberson, who became the third quarterback to start for IU this season and the first true freshman to ever start for IU, showed control of the offense from the first drive onward. The Hoosiers’ first drive, which went 88 yards in 6:16, was the longest drive of the season in terms of both yardage and time.Roberson finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown to true freshman wide receiver Cody Latimer and finished the game with 16 of 24 passing with 197 yards and a touchdown.Roberson led the team with 82 yards rushing, and the Hoosiers totaled 217 yards on the ground. It was the second Big Ten game in a row in which IU rushed for more 200 yards, a feat that IU hasn’t accomplished since 2001. Sophomore running back Stephen Houston compiled 72 rushing yards and two touchdowns, solidifying his role as the starting running back.After two weeks of improvement on the offensive side of the ball, Wilson said the defense needs to seek balance to be more successful.“Schematically, we can play soft coverage,” Wilson said. “If we do, it looks like ... we die a slow death. If we want to be aggressive (and) take some shots, we’ve just got to have some mix and balance.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>As news of Gunner Kiel swirled around Bloomington, the Hoosiers fell to Iowa 45-24 in Iowa City Saturday.The Hoosiers fall to 1-7 (0-4), mathematically eliminating them from bowl eligibility. Iowa is now 5-2 (2-1).After an explosion of offense in the first two quarters, the second half was much quieter, with just 20 of 69 total points coming after halftime.True freshman Tre Roberson started, becoming the third person to start under center for IU this season. He completed 16 of his 24 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown pass. He also showed off his athleticism at times, avoiding defenders and running for 84 yards. He led the Hoosiers in rushing for the game.Sophomore Stephen Houston started at running back and ran for 74 yards and a touchdown. Iowa's offense was efficient. Junior quarterback James Vandenberg has completed 12 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns.Junior wide receiver Marvin McNutt caught six of those passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns. McNutt's first touchdown, which went for 80 yards, made him the Iowa record holder for touchdown receptions.Sophomore running back Marcus Coker rushed for two more touchdowns for Iowa. Coker rushed for 140 yards.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>As news of Gunner Kiel still swirls around Bloomington, the Hoosiers trail Iowa 35-14 at the close of the first half in Iowa City.True freshman Tre Roberson started, becoming the third person to start under center for IU this season and the first true freshman to ever start at quarterback in IU history.Roberson is 7-7 passing for 62 yards and a touchdown pass. He has also shown off his athleticism at times, avoiding defenders and running for 30 yards.Sophomore Stephen Houston started at running back and has run for 47 yards and a touchdown.Iowa's offense has been efficient, scoring a touchdown on its first five possessions. Junior quarterback James Vandenberg has completed eight passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns.Junior wide receiver Marvin McNutt has caught five of those passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. McNutt's first touchdown, which went for 80 yards, made him the Iowa record holder for touchdown receptions.Sophomore running back Marcus Coker has rushed for the other two touchdowns for Iowa. Coker has 109 yards rushing at halftime.