44.8 – points per game the Indiana State defense surrendered a year ago, which ranked last in I-AA. The Sycamores surrendered at least 40 points in eight of their 11 games, including a season-worst 60 to Purdue in last year's season opener. Indiana State's defensive unit struggled in pretty much every phase. It gave up a I-AA-worst totals of 301.4 yards/game rushing and 503.5 yards/game of total offense and opponents averaged a staggering 7.0 yards/play. Foes converted 54% of their 3rd-down conversions (75-of-139) and held the ball for an average of 34:19 per game, meaning Indiana State had the ball for nearly nine less minutes/game than its opponents during a 1-10 2006 campaign.
3 – straight seasons the Hoosiers have won their season opener. Indiana topped Western Michigan 39-20 in 2006 and Central Michigan in both 2005 (20-13) and 2004 (41-10). The Hoosiers last lost a season opener in 2003 when they went on the road and were handled easily by UConn 34-10 on their way to a 2-10 campaign. Indiana has also won five straight home openers, dating back to 2001 when Utah beat the Cam Cameron-coached Hoosiers 28-26.
13 – Different players that had at least 100 yards rushing against Indiana State a year ago. In giving up a I-AA worst 301.4 rushing yards/game, the Sycamores allowed 10 of their 11 opponents to have at least 100-yard rusher, and three opponents had a pair of 100-yard ground gainers. The only team that didn't have a player hit the century mark was Missouri State, which lost to ISU 28-22 for its only win in the last two seasons. The biggest individual performance by an ISU foe was Western Illinois' Herb Donaldson, who had 328 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 39 carries in WIU's 46-41 win. That's good news for an IU team that had only two 100-yard efforts a year ago – Marcus Thigpen's 104-yard outing against Michigan State and Josiah Sears' 100-yard performance against Wisconsin.
1 – career head coaching victory for Indiana State head coach Lou West. The third-year Sycamore coach is a combined 1-21 in two seasons in Terre Haute, with the lone win being a 28-22 victory over Missouri State a year ago. That victory ended a 24-game losing streak, which had been the longest NCAA Division I losing streak. The tough times are something new to West, who previously spent four years as the defensive coordinator at Toledo and helped the Rockets to a combined 36-14 record. He was also a former assistant coach at both Virginia Tech (1995-98) and Notre Dame (1999-2000).
3 – new defensive position coaches on Lou West's coaching staff. The lone returning assistant is defensive line coach Kyle Caskey, who begins his second season. Headlining the list of new coaches is Defensive Coordinator Steve Barrows, who arrives after spending four years as the Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach at Charleston Southern University. A former head coach at Division III Anderson University, Barrows has installed a new 3-3 stack scheme, which utilizes just three down linemen, three linebackers positioned directly behind those defensive linemen, and five defensive backs. It's a system that Barrows used at Charleston Southern to produce a couple of school-record defensive units, and one that allows the defense to have five or even six defensive backs on the field at the same time.
What's coming up:
On Tuesday - Four Players to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction
Five Days and Counting
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