What a difference a week makes.
Last Saturday, the Hoosiers were trying to pick up the pieces after a 27-14 loss to Illinois at Memorial Stadium. Indiana's miscues on offense and its inability to stop the Illini on defense resulted in a disheartening loss to a team that had won only two Big Ten games in four years.
But pick up the pieces the Hoosiers did. Spurred by a defense that sacked Iowa quarterback Drew Christensen 10 times and an offense that scored five touchdowns against a supposedly impenetrable Iowa defense, Indiana whipped the Hawkeyes 38-20 in Iowa City.
With the victory, Indiana improved to 4-1 overall, 1-1 in the Big Ten and inched within two wins of bowl eligibility. Iowa, meanwhile dropped its seventh straight Big Ten game dating back to a year ago and slipped to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten.
"This was the best we've played for 60 minutes," said IU Coach Bill Lynch. "We had played well (in other games) but had lulls. I didn't think we had that today."
While Kellen Lewis threw for 322 yards and three scores and James Hardy added four catches for 113 yards, it was the Hoosier defense that keyed the Hoosiers' first win in Iowa City since 1999. Hoosier defensive end Jammie Kirlew had a career-day, recording four of IU's sacks to equal IU's single-game record. Greg Middleton added three more, while Tracy Porter, Ryan Marando and Keith Burrus added sacks as well.
"I thought the defense played really solid," Lynch said.
Indiana jumped out early. Lewis and Hardy hooked up on a 39-yard pass play late in the first quarter to put IU up 7-0. The Hoosiers extended that margin to 14-0 when Lewis connected to a four-yard strike to Ray Fisher on the opening drive of the second half.
The Hoosiers would then extend the margin to 21-0 in bizarre fashion. Lewis completed a pass to IU tailback Josiah Sears, who fumbled near the first-down marker. But Lewis picked up the ball in stride and raced 70 yards down the sideline for a score and a three-touchdown lead.
Iowa, though, had an off-the-wall play of its own to cut the lead to 21-7 at the half. On the final play of the second quarter, Christensen hoisted a ball into the end zone, where four Hoosier defenders attempted to bat the ball down. Instead they tipped the ball in the air, and Hawkeye wideout Trey Stross caught it in the back of the end zone.
The Hawkeyes tried to build on that momentum in the third quarter. After a Marcus Thipgen fumble, Iowa cut the lead to 21-13 on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Christensen to Brandon Myers, and moved within one score with more than 20 minutes remaining.
But Indiana had all the answers down the stretch.
The Indiana offense responded with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to go back up by two scores. Facing a 4th-and-5 at the Iowa 27-yard line, Lewis hooked up with Brandon Walker-Roby for a 24-yard gain and a first down, and Josiah Sears scored from one-yard out four plays later.
The Indiana defense came up big next. Leslie Majors intercepted a Christensen pass, setting up a 46-yard field goal by Austin Starr early in the fourth quarter to put the Hoosiers up 31-13.
Iowa never seriously threatened again, and Indiana captured a huge win and took a huge step toward its first bowl game since 1993.
"This was a big win for us," Lynch said. "It gives our program some respect."
Hoosiers Pick Up Huge Win in Iowa City
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