Indiana, Chappell Pose Big Homecoming Threat

The Indiana Hoosiers invade Memorial Stadium for a Homecoming encounter with the Fighting Illini Saturday. Sporting a 4-2 record and possibly the best passing attack in the Big 10, the Hoosiers come to Champaign-Urbana expecting to win. And win or lose, IU expects to score a lot of points.

P>Indiana's offense will remind Illinois fans of Missouri. With numerous quick passes by outstanding quarterback Ben Chappell (6-3, 242), the Illini will be hard pressed to apply defensive pressure. And their multiple receivers pose a constant threat of turning any catch into a home run."

The fifth-year senior quarterback Chappell is fourth in the nation in passing yards with 309.7 per game. He is fifth in completions (26.3), sixth in touchdown-interception ratio, eighth in total passing yards (1,858), tied for eighth in touchdowns (16), 10th in completion percentage (68.7), tied for 10th in fewest interceptions (3), 12th in total offense (305.0), and 19th in passing efficiency (156.9).

Junior receiver/punt returner/kick returner Tandon Doss (6-3, 200) leads the nation in all-purpose yards with 202 per game. He is the only player in the country to rank in the top 25 in each of the categories all-purpose yards, receptions, receiving yards and kick returns. However, he is not their only receiving threat.

IU is the only team in the country with three receivers in the top 45 in receptions per game and is one of three programs, along with Hawaii and Cincinnati, with two receivers in the top 30 in receiving yards per game. Junior Damarlo Belcher (6-5, 210) is tied for 13th in catches at 6.8 a game, and he is 27th in receiving yards with 85 a game. Fifth-year senior Terrance Turner (6-3, 209) adds 5.3 receptions a game. Tulsa is the only other team this year to boast three receivers who have each caught 100 passes for 1000 yards in their careers.

Redshirt freshman Duwyce Wilson (6-3, 196) has 15 catches on the year and may have more long-term potential than the starters. Redshirt freshman tight end Ted Bolser (6-6, 252) has contributed 12 catches in six games, although he is listed as second team to junior Max Dedmond (6-5, 257).

When running back Darius Willis was lost for the year to injury, there were concerns Indiana could not balance pass with run. But fifth year senior Trea Burgess (6-1, 226) filled in well against Arkansas State by gaining over 100 yards. When teams expect pass, the Hoosiers can counter with their running game.

The offensive line is somewhat battered, but quick passes have helped them give up only six sacks on the year. In fact, they give up a sack for every 41 passes, which is second in the Big 10.

The injury loss of James Brewer was a big blow, but his replacement is at least adequate. The starting line for Indiana is composed of senior left tackle Andrew McDonald (6-6, 306), redshirt freshman left guard Aaron Price (6-4, 305), junior center Will Matte (6-2, 293), junior right guard Justin Pagán (6-5, 308) and third year sophomore right tackle Marc Damisch (6-7, 317).

The strength of the Indiana defense is probably it's linebackers. Senior SAM backer Tyler Replogle (6-2, 239) leads the defense with 41 tackles in six games. He is joined by two redshirt juniors. The WILL is in the capable hands of Leon Beckum (5-11, 235), and the MIKE is Jeff Thomas (6-1, 245). Beckum and Thomas follow Replogle on the tackle chart.

The defensive line has a designation similar to that of the Illinois defense. There is an "Anchor" end and a "Drop" end, where the latter is equivalent to the Illini's bandit position. The "Drop" is redshirt junior Darius Johnson (6-0, 252). He is backed by Iraq vet Kevin Bush (6-3, 248). Seniors Terrance Thomas (6-1, 265), Fred Jones (6-4, 272) and Deonte Mack (6-3, 281) share time at Anchor. Tackles are sophomore Adam Replogle (6-3, 295), Tyler's brother, and redshirt sophomore Mick Mentzer (6-4, 303).

The entire Hoosier defensive backfield is experienced, with all starters being at least redshirt juniors. Mitchell Evans (6-3, 206) is the leader from strong safety. He began as a quarterback but moved first to receiver before transferring to defense. He has performed well wherever he has played. The free safety is Donnell Jones (5-10, 223), and the cornerbacks are Matt Ernest (6-2, 189) and Adrian Burks (6-0, 185).

The kicking game is in the capable hands of Mitch Ewald, a redshirt freshman. Ewald is 6-7 on field goals so far and is a perfect 20-20 on extra points. The punter is Chris Hagerup, who averages over 38 yards a punt. Wilson joins Doss on kick returns.

The Hoosier offense is explosive enough to make a game against anyone. Even against Ohio State, although they scored only 10 points, they moved the ball up and down the field. With their outstanding quarterback leading the way, the Illini will have their hands full Saturday.


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