One Day and Counting

The Bill Lynch era kicks off Saturday at 8 p.m. against Indiana State in Memorial Stadium. What's in store for the season opener? After previewing this weekend's contest for the last four days, makes its prediction for Saturday's outcome...

Bloomington, Ind. – The wait is finally over for the Indiana Hoosier football team.

After the most trying of off-seasons, Indiana kicks off its 2007 season Saturday against Indiana State at 8:30 at Memorial Stadium. It's a Sycamore team that went 1-10 a year ago, 0-11 the year before, and ranked last in the NCAA I-AA rankings in both scoring defense (44.8/game) and rushing defense (302.4 yards/game).

Indiana will take the field Saturday under the leadership of Bill Lynch, who has compiled a 81-67-3 record in 15 years as a head coach at three other in-state stops – Butler (1985-89), Ball State (1995-02) and DePauw (2004). He takes over for Terry Hoeppner, who passed away in June after an 18-month battle with brain cancer.

"It's going to be emotional coming out and knowing (Hoeppner's) not there," junior defensive tackle Greg Brown said. "But his legacy will live on. It's going to give us some fire because he'll be looking down on us and we need to play hard for him."

Brown's sentiment is one seemingly shared by everyone on the IU roster, which is why this game wreaks of a blowout.

The last time Indiana beat a foe by at least 30 was a 41-10 victory over Central Michigan in the 2004 season opener, and it's a good bet it will do that – or more – this weekend. While the Sycamores have a couple of weapons offensively in quarterback Reilly Murphy and tailback Tony West, their offensive line has been hit hard by injuries. Defensively they're using a new 3-3-5 "Stack" formation, but that can't erase the fact they're undersized (their three defensive linemen average only 230 pounds) and outmanned by an IU offense that returns almost all of its weapons from a year ago.

The last time IU won a game by at least 40 was in 1990 (42-0 over Northwestern, 10/6) and the last time it pasted someone by 50 was that same season (58-7 over Missouri, 9/22) and it's within the realm of possibility that this game could get that out of hand.

I look for IU to win by at least 30, but if Indiana comes up with some big strikes on offense and/or special teams, it could get even more out of hand. Anyway you look at it, expect a big debut from the Hoosiers and a fitting tribute to Terry Hoeppner in their first game without him on the sidelines. Prediction: Indiana 48, Indiana State 14. Top Stories