When fans look at the final score of 73-35, they will likely focus on Indiana's near-record breaking offensive production. But it was the other side of the ball that showed the most improvement and could be the key to getting wins down the road.
A major contributor to the improvement was junior cornerback Tim Bennett. Bennett is a player Indiana fans may not associate with the cornerback position, mainly because he just converted from being a safety this past spring. And what a change it brought to the defense in Indiana's opener against Indiana State.
Bennett had two tackles and matched his total for pass breakups from last season with three.
Head coach Kevin Wilson saw this production coming back in the preseason camps. He talked about how he would use Bennett's physical 5-foot-9, 190-pound frame to help bolster the run defense. But not only is his physicality coveted in the new scheme, his attitude has helped him in changing his role.
"Getting better is the key, and one thing I'm looking to do better is reading wide receivers off the line," Bennett said. "I have some experience in reading them in the open field coming from the safety spot, but off the line is what I'm looking to further right now."
When asked about where he can go from here after showing such a strong performance in the first game of the season, Bennett pointed out that he is still very new to the position and is looking forward to learning how to play in the cornerback role.
"I can go higher," Bennett said, "and all I want to do is master this position, so I'm always watching film on backs in the league, backs in the college game. I know I can get better."