Big Ten Gives Hoosiers Their Respect

After almost certainly ending a 14-year bowl drought with their dramatic win over Purdue last Saturday, the Hoosiers have turned back the clock once again. Not since 1988 have the Hoosiers fielded a team with five players that earned season-end All-Big Ten honors, but this year's team has done it again.

After almost certainly ending a 14-year bowl drought with their dramatic win over Purdue last Saturday, the Hoosiers have turned back the clock once again. Not since 1988 have the Hoosiers fielded a team with five players that earned season-end All-Big Ten honors, but this year's team has done it again. On Monday night the conference announced that seniors James Hardy and Tracy Porter, as well as junior Austin Starr and sophomores Kellen Lewis and Greg Middleton, had garnered Big Ten honors.

Hardy and Middleton received first-team All-Big Ten status from both the conference and the media, while Starr and Porter were media selections to the team. Only Ohio State (six) had more players earn first team honors this season. Lewis, meanwhile, earned second-team honors from both the media and the conference.

The selection of Hardy and Middleton were no-doubters. A 6-foot-7 receiver with tremendous hands, Hardy had a record-setting performance this season. He now owns the school record for career receiving touchdowns (36), career receptions (186) career receiving yardage (2,690), and the single-season record for receiving touchdowns (16) and receptions (74). That's just where the list accolades begin for Hardy and why is he a candidate for the Biletnikoff Award for the nation's finest receiver.

Middleton, meanwhile, currently leads the entire nation in sacks with 16. He cruised past the IU single season record of 14 held by Van Waiters for 20 years and was a terror in the backfield all season long. His 17 tackles for loss were the most by a Hoosier since Adewale Ogunleye recorded that many in 1997. With two years of eligibility left, Middleton's future is bright.

Porter has been the anchor of the IU pass defense since his freshman season and he finally became a first-teamer in the conference this year. His 16 career interceptions are the most since Tim Wilbur recorded a school-record 19 between 1978-1982. This year Porter finished with a team-high six interceptions. He is IU's all-time leader in career interception return yardage with 413 yards. His work as a punt returner was also top-notch this season as he tallied over 250 return yards, including a long of 71 yards.

Starr, IU's hero against Purdue, had a record-breaking season as well as he connected on 19 of 21 kicks this season. His streak of 15 consecutive made field goals is a school-record. His 19 field goals this season broke the record set by Pete Stoyanovich (17) in 1988. He tied Stoyanovich's record for extra points in a season as he was a perfect 45-45. Starr has connected on 10-11 kicks from beyond 40 yards in his career and has three game-winning kicks to his credit. He was recently named as one of the three finalist for the Lou Groza Award given annually to the nation's top place kicker.

Indiana's young quarterback had to settle for second-team honors, but his numbers suggest he could have just as easily been put on the first. Lewis now holds the single-season passing record (2,839 yards), single-season passing touchdowns (26), total touchdowns by a quarterback (34) and completions (243). He is IU's all-time career leader in total offense with 3,492 yards, the 11th highest total in Big Ten history.


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