BSB Opponent Preview: Indiana

Indiana has been piling up the points throughout the first four games led by senior quarterback Ben Chappell and a crew of big, talented wideouts. Find out about that excellent passing game and what the Hoosiers bring on defense in this preview, which also includes depth charts, game results and more.

Saturday, Oct. 9
Ohio Stadium; Columbus, Ohio

The Hoosiers
Head coach: Bill Lynch, 99-91-3, 18th season (fourth season at Indiana, 17-24)
2009 record: 4-8 (1-7, 10th Big Ten Conference)
Series mark: Ohio State leads 66-12-5
School location: Bloomington, Ind.
Enrollment: 42,347
Colors: Cream and Crimson
Stadium: Memorial Stadium
Fight song: "Indiana, Our Indiana"

Indiana Players To Watch
QB Ben Chappell: A native of Bloomington, Chappell might go down as the best quarterback in Indiana history. After becoming the first Hoosier to complete more than 60 percent of his passes last season, Chappell has thrown for at least 300 yards in his last three games, including a school-record 480 in the team's last game against Michigan. He has thrown 30 or more passes in eight of the Hoosiers' last nine league games, so it's safe to say the game will be in his hands.

"He's more experienced, he's more confident," OSU safeties coach Paul Haynes said. "You can see that, big time. I think he's playing a lot smarter and he's not getting hit. He's running around a little bit, staying away from the pressure a little bit, getting rid of it before the pressure gets to him."

WR Tandon Doss: Speaking of record-setting performances against Michigan, Doss caught 221 yards worth of passes against the Wolverines, a career high and the fourth best total in Indiana history. He also caught six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown vs. Ohio State last season. A first-team All-Big Ten choice last year, Doss is 6-3 and runs smooth routes, which is why he's become one of Chappell's favorite targets.

WR Demarlo Belcher: Another big target at 6-5, Belcher has been the most productive wideout in the Big Ten so far. His 31 catches – 7.8 per game – are enough to put him atop the league and tied for ninth in the nation, while his average of 93.8 yards per game is behind only one player in the league. That happens to be Doss, which is fitting – the two became the first Indiana duo to each have 60-plus catches and 700-plus yards in a season last year.

LB Tyler Replogle: A four-year veteran for Indiana, Replogle came out of the excellent high school program in Centerville, Ohio. His brothers Adam, a starting defensive lineman, and Mike, a committed high school senior, have followed. Bill Lynch has been happy for that, as Tyler is a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, a team captain and the squad leader in tackles despite missing a game with injury.

Sept. 2, Towson, W 51-17
Sept. 18, at Western Kentucky, W 38-21
Sept. 25, Akron, W 35-20
Oct. 2, Michigan, L 42-35

Projected Starters
QB 4 Ben Chappell, 6-4, 232
RB 28 Darius Willis, 6-0, 224
WR 88 Demarlo Belcher, 6-5, 210
WR 2 Tandon Doss, 6-3, 200
WR 1 Terrance Turner, 6-3, 209
TE 41 Max Dedmond, 6-5, 257
LT 72 Andrew McDonald, 6-6, 306
LG 66 Aaron Price, 6-4, 305
C 60 Will Matte, 6-2, 293
RG 70 Justin Pagan, 6-5, 308
RT 77 Josh Hager, 6-9, 302

DE 44 Darius Johnson, 6-0, 252
DT 98 Adam Replogle, 6-3, 295
DT 69 Mick Mentzer, 6-4, 303
DE 51 Terrance Thomas, 6-1, 265
WLB 10 Donnell Jones, 5-10, 223
MLB 53 Jeff Thomas, 6-1, 245
SLB 46 Tyler Replogle, 6-2, 239
CB 15 Matt Ernest, 6-2, 189
FS 22 Lenyatta Kiles, 5-11, 196
SS 5 Mitchell Evans, 6-3, 206
CB 7 Andre Kates, 5-11, 195

K 16 Mitch Ewald, 5-10, 179
P 12 Chris Hagerup, 6-5, 203
KR 2 Tandon Doss, 6-3, 200/81 Duwyce Wilson, 6-3, 196
PR 2 Tandon Doss, 6-3, 200

Five Fast Facts
1. The Hoosiers lead the league in kickoff returns at 27.4 yards per pop. Doss leads the way with 31.2 yards per try on eight returns, including an 87-yard return against Western Kentucky the first time he touched the ball this season. Running back Nick Turner has four returns for a 25.8-yard average. Doss is also the punt return man with two returns for 22 yards.

2. After outscoring its opening three opponents by a 31-10 margin in the first quarter and a 31-0 mark in the third, Indiana was outscored 14-7 in each of those frames by Michigan.

3. Ohio State hasn't lost vs. Indiana since 1988 and has won 15 in a row dating back to a 27-all tie in 1990.

4. Seventeen Indiana players hail from Ohio, including the Replogles, starting DT Larry Black Jr. (Cincinnati Wyoming), pass-catching TE Ted Bolser (Cincinnati Indian Hill) and starting S Mitchell Evans (West Milton Milton Union).

5. Chappell is not only fourth in the IU record books in completions, fourth in passing TDs, fifth in attempts and sixth in passing yards, he graduated in June with a degree in accounting from Indiana's Kelley School of Business and is now a graduate student at IU.

Offensive Personnel Report Indiana does boasts one of the best offenses in the Big Ten, having topped 30 games in each game thus far. The Hoosiers are fourth in the country in passing offense (348.3 yards per game), 24th in total offense (455.0 yards) and 13th in scoring (39.8 points), marks that place first, fourth and third in the league, respectively.

Senior quarterback Ben Chappell has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation through his first four games. Operating partly out of the pistol set in which the quarterback stands 3 or 4 yards behind center, Chappell has led an Indiana offense that has committed only two turnovers while posting 18 pass plays of 20 yards or more.

Chappell is coming off of a performance against Michigan in which he set Indiana school records with 45 completions, 64 attempts and 480 yards. Overall, he is 12th in the nation in passing efficiency having completed 71.6 percent of his passes (116 of 162) for 1,370 yards, 12 touchdowns and only one interception.

"You've heard of the expression ‘The game slowed down for him'? You can tell," head coach Bill Lynch said of Chappell, one of two permanent two team captains.

His top backup is redshirt freshman Dusty Kiel, who is 1 of 5 this year for 21 yards.

Chappell has four main options at wideout to throw to, including three experienced he spent all summer throwing to in Tandon Doss, Terrance Turner and Demarlo Belcher.

"I know when Tandon, Terrance and Damarlo are going to come out of their breaks like the back of my hand," Chappell said. "It breeds confidence."

So far, Belcher has been the star, leading the Big Ten with 31 catches, which have gone for 375 yards and a touchdown. A junior, Belcher is a big target who is useful in the red zone.

Doss missed the first game with a groin injury but has come back to make 23 catches in three games for 323 yards and a TD. He was nearly unstoppable against Michigan, making 15 catches for 221 yards.

The most experienced wideout is Turner, another player with size. The fifth-year senior caught his 100th career pass vs. Michigan; this year, Turner has 24 catches for 246 yards and a touchdown.

The fourth target is also explosive in redshirt freshman Duwyce Wilson, Indiana's 2008 Mr. Football at Columbus East. Wilson has 12 catches for 148 yards and a TD, and three of his catches have gone for 20 yards or more.

"They're a little bit different than some other (receivers)," Haynes said. "They're a lot bigger type guys. They're not crazy, shifty type guys, but they're strong and the thing about it is they do a great job of catching the ball."

The tight ends are also active in the passing game, in particular redshirt freshman Ted Bolser, an excellent red-zone target with four touchdowns among his 10 grabs for 144 yards. Indiana also has junior Max Dedmond, who has 15 career starts and a touchdown catch this year.

Indiana would seem to have the makings of a solid running game with the presence of hyped back Darius Willis and a pair of reserves the Hoosiers have always talked up. However, the Hoosiers have been more of a passing team than a rushing team in 2010, throwing 169 times against 120 rushes.

After reforming his diet in an effort to stay healthy after an injury-plagued 2009, Willis has been solid in limited doses so far. The downhill rusher – who is questionable for the game with an injury – has 64 rushes for 278 yards (a 4.3-yard average) and four touchdowns and is also a useful target in the passing game with 11 grabs and a late game-tying score vs. Michigan.

The top backup is fifth-year senior Trea Burgess, a bruising 6-1, 226-pound back with 12 rushes for 53 yards this year and five career TDs. Speedster Nick Turner (6-0, 188), the fastest player on the team, has six rushes for 38 yards and a touchdown.

The offensive line has been solid through four games, giving up only four sacks to place third in the country despite three underclassmen playing important roles

The only senior starter on the line was massive right tackle James Brewer, but he is listed as out as an injury. A possible replacement is reserve junior Josh Hager, who has played in all four games as a left tackle this year.

The starter at left tackle is junior Andrew McDonald, a junior who is replacing St. Louis Rams draft pick Rodger Saffold.

The Hoosiers look to have a good one in the middle in sophomore Will Matte, who has started every game of the last two years at center. Versatile junior Justin Pagan, who started 11 games last year, has taken over the starting spot at left guard after sophomore Marc Damisch started the opening two games.

The starter at left guard is redshirt freshman Aaron Price, a native of Bloomington who was the Hoosiers' top offensive scout team player last year.

Defensive Personnel Report
Indiana has made a switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, and it should look familiar to Ohio State fans. Lynch told BSB this summer at the Big Ten Media Days that the setup is inspired by OSU's scheme in which the Buckeyes have a hybrid player who can either rush the quarterback or drop back into passing lanes like a linebacker.

However, Indiana has not been impressive on the defensive end so far, placing ninth in the Big Ten in both yards (397.3) and points (25.0) allowed per game. The Hoosiers are struggling for big plays, having notched only four sacks and five forced turnovers.

The hybrid position, similar to OSU's Leo played by Nathan Williams and others, is known as the "drop end," and the starter is junior Darius Johnson, who has 16 tackles in three games. His backup, Kevin Bush, is an Iraqi war veteran who walked on at Indiana last season following his tour of duty. Bush has three tackles with a blocked punt.

The end on the other side is known as the anchor end, and it's a position at which senior Terrance Thomas has jumped into the starting lineup the past two games and posted eight tackles and two TFL this year.

His emergence has allowed Adam Replogle to slide down to the tackle spot at which he's more comfortable. Replogle started there vs. Michigan and has nine tackles, 1½ for loss, on the year.

The most important Hoosier in the middle is Larry Black Jr., a freshman All-American last year according to the Sporting News. The Cincinnati Wyoming product had 7½ tackles for loss last year but has only one this year among his five tackles.

The other starter is sophomore Mick Mentzer, who has a sack and another tackle for loss among his four stops in his first year as a starter. The Hoosiers also have good depth with Sliger – a sophomore with four stops – and fifth-year senior Deonte Mack, who has two tackles.

Indiana has an unquestioned leader in strong-side linebacker Tyler Replogle, a co-captain who has played all four seasons at Indiana and became a part-time starter as a sophomore. The senior has a team-high 26 tackles including 1½ tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception. The Centerville, Ohio, native is also looking forward to his first trip to Ohio Stadium.

"It's definitely going to be exciting," he said. "We haven't played an away game at Ohio State, so this will be my first time in the Horseshoe. For our Ohio guys, it will be a special game for us."

Junior Jeff Thomas has started the last two games and is continuing to get more playing time. He has 20 stops on the year and is listed as the No. 1 middle linebacker. Junior Donnell Jones started the year at safety but became a starter at weakside LB vs. Michigan to get more speed on the field. The 5-10, 223-pounder packs a punch and has 18 tackles on the year, 15 of them solo stops.

Other starters at times this year at linebacker for IU include junior Leon Beckum (5-1, 235), a former walk-on from Bloomington who has 20 tackles and a sack, and sophomore Chad Sherer (6-0, 222), who has 13 tackles.

In the secondary, Indiana has moved two players from wideout into starting roles in an attempt to shore up a leaky back end, but the Hoosiers' passing efficiency defense is 10th in the league.

One of the converted wideouts is cornerback in Matt Ernest. The lanky, 6-2 junior has seven tackles on the year and returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown in his debut game at CB against Towson.

The other is senior Mitchell Evans, the team's strong safety. Also a quarterback at one time in his career, Evans has 19 tackles, an interception and two more pass deflections this year.

There has been some flux at other positions. Senior cornerback Richard Council is out with a knee injury, forcing either JUCO transfer Andre Kates or fifth-year senior Adrian Burks, who started four games last year, into the starting lineup for the first time this year vs. OSU. Kates has two tackles while Burks has one this year.

Jones' move from FS to linebacker moved junior Lenyatta Kiles into the starting lineup. A transfer from Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., Kiles has seven tackles on the year.

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