Bloomington, Ind. – While the Hoosier football team is enjoying its 3-0 start during its off-week, it delivered a message to its upcoming Big Ten foes last weekend.
That message came from a defense that had drawn some criticism after IU's 35-31 against Nicholls State. But the Indiana Hoosier defensive front did not take long to show Kentucky how the game was going to be played last weekend, and how it hopes to continue playing for the remainder of the '05 campaign. On the first play from scrimmage, Russ Richardson broke into the UK backfield and stopped a reverse for an 8-yard loss.
The struggles continued from there for the Wildcats.
"It makes things a lot easier when you're able to pin them back and put them in third and long situations," Said senior defensive end Victor Adeyanju. "If the defensive line can get that push it makes life better for everyone on the defense."
After giving up more than 400 yards to the option running Nicholls State, Indiana held the Wildcats to just 77 yards on the ground and 217 total yards. Kentucky finished the night with three players with negative rushing yards. The performance was an example of the improving defensive play of the Hoosiers.
Indiana is currently ranked eighth in the nation in passing defense, giving up less than 136 yards a game through the air. Indiana is also surrendering just 353 total yards a game, nearly 100 yards less than IU gave up a year ago.
"I've been high on the defense since spring practice and they came to play," said Indiana head coach Terry Hoeppner. "(The Kentucky game was a) great performance by our defense. I thought our front four, especially the ends, we did some great things to give them problems running the ball."
Indiana limited Kentucky to just 217 total yards, 79 of which came on one touchdown pass. Adeyanju was a key with two sacks for the Hoosiers, including a play where he bull-rushed Kentucky center Matt McCutchan, knocking him into Kentucky quarterback Andre' Woodson for the sack.
Last season the Wildcats gained 560 yards of total offense as they knocked Indiana from the ranks of the unbeaten in a 51-32 contest in Lexington. This time around Indiana was able to take away the running game, keeping Kentucky in third and long situations all night. Kentucky was just 2-of-10 on third down conversions against Indiana, with both of the conversions coming in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats faces third downs of longer than six yards on eight occasions.
"It's tremendous for this team to get this win," said Adeyanju. "From the first day I got to Indiana back when (former Indiana head coach) Cam (Cameron) was here, I learned real fast how big this game is. This game means so much to the players, all Indiana Hoosier fans and it's a really big game to me. I just wanted to get out there and play my best for all the fans."
That game will now likely mean a whole lot more – it will give the defense some much needed confidence as it heads into the rugged Big Ten schedule, beginning next Saturday at Wisconsin.
Defense Delivers Victory, Message
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