Bloomington – Indiana's once promising football season continued its downward spiral Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
In a match-up of two teams in the midst of three-game losing streaks, Iowa (4-3/1-2) got 100 yards rushing apiece from Shonn Greene and Jewel Hampton and the Indiana offense was held to single digit points for the second straight week as Iowa whipped Indiana (2-4/0-3), 45-9.
The loss was Indiana's fourth straight – three of which have come at Memorial Stadium – and put any hopes of a second straight bowl trip on life support. The Hoosiers would likely have to win five of its final six games to have a chance for a second straight bowl berth, a near impossibility considering an upcoming schedule that includes road trips to Illinois, Penn State and Purdue.
But right now, Indiana isn't thinking about getting to a bowl game. It's instead trying to figure out a way to win a game and gets its once-potent offense in gear.
For the second straight week, Indiana's offense floundered. The Hoosiers managed only 154 yards of total offense in the opening half and 286 for the game. When IU finally did score a touchdown on its closing possession of the first half to cut Iowa's lead to 17-9, Austin Starr missed his first extra point since 2006, and IU lost quarterback Kellen Lewis for the game with an ankle injury.
Lewis sat out the entire second half and was limping noticeably on the sidelines.
Ben Chappell replaced Lewis and was unable to get the IU offense untracked as well. Chappell completed 9-of-18 passes for 83 yards in the second half and was unable to lead the offense on any scoring drives. Lewis, meanwhile, was 13-of-18 for 108 yards and an interception in the first half.
As much as IU's quarterbacks struggled, the running game was even worse. Marcus Thipgen was limited to -2 yards on only three carries, and Bryan Payton (6 carries, 19 yards) and Demetrius McCray (4 carries, 4 yards) didn't do much better.
The struggles on the ground weren't a huge surprise to IU Coach Bill Lynch, who knew it would be a challenge to run against the Hawkeye defense.
"We knew they'd be tough to run against," Lynch said.
Iowa jumped out early courtesy an IU turnover. After IU's defense forced Iowa into a three-and-out on its opening possession, Brett Greenwood intercepted a Lewis throw on Indiana's first series and returned it to the Indiana 11. Trent Mossbrucker kicked a 28-yard field goal three plays later to put Iowa up 3-0.
After Indiana went three-and-out on its next possession, the Hawkeyes struck again. A 35-yard pass play from Ricky Stanzi to Andy Brodell gave Iowa the ball at the IU four-yard line, and Hampton scored two plays later to put Iowa up 10-0 midway through the first quarter.
While Indiana's late second quarter touchdown turned it into a one possession game, Iowa completely dominated the second half. The Hawkeyes controlled the ball for 21:24 compared to IU's 8:34. Iowa scored touchdowns on four of its five second half drives, while IU was held scoreless for the second straight week in the second half.
"In the second half they totally dominated us on both sides of the ball," Lynch said.
Stanzi threw a couple of third-quarter touchdowns to extend the lead to 31-9, and Hampton ran for a pair of fourth quarter scores to give Iowa the lopsided win.
Hampton finished with 22 carries for 114 yards and three scores, while Greene eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the seventh straight game and added 23 carries for 115 yards and a score. Stanzi, meanwhile, was 12-of-20 for 184 yards and two scores.
It was another disappointing setback for an IU team that had visions of going to a second straight bowl trip. Despite the fourth straight loss, Lynch is trying to maintain a positive outlook.
"We're only halfway through this thing – there's a lot of football left," Lynch said. "We'll keep fighting and get it going in the right direction."
Hoosiers Thumped by Hawks, 45-9
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