Shane Wynn stood waiting, defenseless against the impending doom. Wynn is slight of stature, but even the biggest guy couldn't have remained on his feet as a sprinting Carlos Aviles closed in on punt coverage.
The Indiana State punt hadn't yet reached Wynn in the third quarter of Thursday night's 73-35 Indiana win, but Aviles didn't slow up. Wynn had already scored three touchdowns in the game, and Aviles seemed determine to blow him up.
Aviles hit Wynn at full speed, knocking him straight to the ground and forcing him to leave the game. Wynn's teammates immediately took exception and bumped Aviles as he walked by. Aviles was eventually ejected from the game, and the Memorial Stadium crowed booed loudly as he was escorted to the locker room.
"I was just mad," Indiana wide receiver Kofi Hughes said afterward. "Somebody just knocked my boy out. Just like anybody else, if your best friend got knocked out right in front of your face but you can't fight him.
"We were all just ready to go. We were ready to fight, whatever, but coach [Kevin] Wilson came in and said, 'Hey, tone it down. You still got a game to play. Fight them through your play.'"
Hughes did just that. On the ensuing Indiana possession, Hughes caught three consecutive passes from quarterback Nate Sudfeld, including a 27-yard touchdown pass that gave the Hoosiers a 59-28 lead.
Those were Hughes' only three catches of the game, but they were impactful. They sent a message.
"You can't mess with one of our guys," Sudfeld said. "It was just a family thing. You don't want to see any of your brothers get hit or cheap shotted a little bit. We wanted to make a statement and score a touchdown. Kofi had a look in his eye. He wanted to go out and score one for Shane."
Added Hughes: "That's one of my best friends, so I took that kind of personally. That's why I went out there mad. I played mad."
After the game, Wilson said he didn't believe Aviles' hit to Wynn was intentional, but his players sure seemed to disagree. Hughes said he talked to a few Indiana State players about it after the game.
"They said he does that in practice, so I don't know if he's just not a smart football player or what was going on," Hughes said. "I heard that they tried to hurt [Wynn] before, and then seeing that, I was just like, 'Alright, no respect.'"
Even though Wynn is expected to be OK -- Hughes said he was already talking about playing the video game Fifa after the game -- the Hoosiers were determined to make the Sycamores pay for their actions.
Hughes wasn't happy with just the one touchdown, or the 73 points. He still wanted more.
"Oh yeah, and that's why I was kind of upset we kneeled the ball [at the end]," Hughes said. "But I'm not the coach."
In his limited action, Wynn had two receptions for 46 yards and two scores. He also returned a punt for a touchdown.