Hoosiers travel to face Huskies – Again

Washington opened their season against the best team they've seen since visiting Miami two years ago. Now we look for the UW improvement from week one to week two, which is typically when you see the biggest movement in that area.

Indiana (0-1) at #22 Washington (0-1)
Saturday, September 7 - 1:06 PM (PDT), FOX Sports Net
Husky Stadium – Seattle, WA (capacity 72,500)
Series All-time: Indiana leads, 2-0-0
Last Meeting: September 23, 1978 – Indiana 14, Washington 7
Line: Washington by 23

Keith Gilbertson
(photo by Max Waugh)
Last Saturday was a frustrating evening for the Washington Huskies, to be sure.

Even more frustrating for the Indiana Hoosiers, Saturday was simply more of the same.

"It is frustrating," second-year coach Gerry DiNardo said after watching his charges open 2003 with a 34-10 drubbing at the hands of the UConn Huskies. "But at this point, we can't do anything but get better at what we're doing."

Indiana has only been to one Rose Bowl (1968), and their last post-season appearance was a 45-20 loss to Virginia Tech in the 1993 Independence Bowl. Since then, the Hoosiers have gone 32-69, with a current string of eight straight losing seasons.

And though Notre Dame transfer Matt LoVecchio gives the Hoosiers another shot of star power two years removed from the Antwaan Randle El days – Lovecchio was the Irish starting quarterback in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl – it looks like a ninth sub-.500 year could be a forgone conclusion.

Certainly, the 2003 Hoosier schedule isn't being kind towards the contrary – this is their second-straight lengthy trip to open the season, and DiNardo ponders over seeing his troops to both coasts in two weeks. "We'll be missing a team total of 48 classes this week," said DiNardo at his weekly press gathering. "We're on a little bit of a different schedule, and that causes some problems . . . we will be in Seattle 24 hours and spend another 15 hours traveling."

Last week, when Indiana played the straight man to open Connecticut's brand-new Rentschler Field, DiNardo acknowledged that he kept things close-to-the-vest on purpose – to the surprise of many Hoosier followers. He didn't provide any hints as to what to expect this week, other than preaching the same mantra as Washington head coach Keith Gilbertson – "to get better. We have to."

Gerry DiNardo
(Getty Images)
DiNardo gauges this week as being a tougher situation. "Washington is a more talented team than Connecticut – they are your typical, ranked PAC-10 team," DiNardo said. "I think our goals this week (will be) to improve our red-zone offense, improve on offensive turnovers, tackling, and eliminating big plays on defense."

Washington, meanwhile, looks to break a three-game skein to Big Ten opposition (Michigan and Purdue last year, plus last week's OSU debacle), and coach Gilbertson emphasizes that "everything we do needs improving. Everything goes up a notch."

"There is nothing that we are satisfied with. But just because we're not there yet, doesn't mean we can't get there."

And with conference play still a month away, they needn't "get there" in one week. However, the steam that seemed lacking in Columbus would be a welcome sight to the 70,000 expected to witness Gilby's home debut - who will no doubt, deservedly, receive a rousing ovation when announced.

But if the fire appears wanting again, there could be a steam of a different sort emanating from the beloved Dawghouse – deservedly or no.

TEAM STATS:  10.0 points, 321.0 yards (110.0 rush, 211.0 pass) 

RUSHING:     Chris Taylor 13-73-0 TD (5.6), long 39
             Brian Lewis 11-33-0 TD (3.0), long 7
PASSING:     Matt LoVecchio 13-29-0 (.448), 211 yards, 1 TD
RECEIVING:   Courtney Roby 4-46-0 TD (11.5), long 13
             Travis Haney 3-99-0 TD (33.0), long 44
             Glenn Johnson 3-42-1 TD (14.0), long 30

When Tyrone Willingham brought the West Coast offense to South Bend, it spelled trouble for drop-back passer Matt LoVecchio, Notre Dame's starting QB against Oregon State in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. He would eventually transfer to Indiana in May of 2002, citing offensive coordinator Al Borges' pro-style attack as the biggest reason for choosing the Hoosiers. LoVecchio threw for 1,200 yards in his Notre Dame stint, and tossed for 211 yards in his Indiana debut a week ago - though 175 of it came after the game was out of reach. "I was rusty," LoVecchio said after his first game in two years. "I still have a lot of work to do."

Setting a school record for combined receiving yardage a year ago, the Hoosiers return their top five receivers, led by junior Courtney Roby and senior Glenn Johnson. The lanky Roby produced the second-best receiving year in Indiana history last season, with 59 grabs for 1,039 yards, while Johnson – who garnered IU's lone TD last week with a 30-yard strike from LoVecchio - corralled 53 balls for 837 yards. 6-4 junior Travis Haney caught three passes for 99 yards against UConn, and tight end Aaron Halterman chipped in with 27 catches last year.

The Hoosiers took a significant blow the day before their spring game when their top running back, sophomore Yamar Washington (688 yards, nine TDs) tore his ACL and was declared out for the season. Senior co-captain Brian Lewis missed six games last year, opening the door for Washington. Lewis, a 5-7 spark-plug, carried for 458 yards in 2002 and is in search of his first career TD. Sophomore Chris Taylor scored twice last season, and broke a 39-yarder against UConn. Fullback John Pannozzo caught 26 balls for three TDs out of the backfield last year, primarily on flares.

Three sophomores and a freshman start on the IU line. Tackles Isaac Sowells and Justin Frye both earned their first starts against Connecticut, as did center Brandon Hatcher. Junior guard Chris Jahnke represents the experience up front, with 12 career starts – he made nine starts at center a year ago - and sophomore Adam Hines chips in with 10. Three more freshmen are second in the depth, so a lot of youth will be toiling on Saturday.

GAME OUTLOOK: Considering LoVecchio's experience, along with Roby and Johnson's combined 112 catches a year ago, one would have thought Indiana would keep to their ties and go airborne against UConn. However, the Hoosiers ran it 26 out of the first 33 plays – and lost two fumbles (they lost a third after a long pass play). Washington's rush defense is a lot better than their namesakes in Stoors, and so look for Indiana to fire it early and often – perhaps quick stuff like Washington tried last week. And like the Huskies, Indiana's third-down conversions have to improve - they went 3-for-17 a week ago.

TEAM STATS:     34.0 points, 507.0 yards (200.0 rush, 307.0 pass)

TACKLES/TFL:    Josh Moore 13/0.5
                Will Lumpkin 12/0.0
                Kyle Killion 11/1.0    

PASSES DEF/INT: Kyle Killion 2/0
                Herana-Daze Jones 1/0
                Josh Moore 0/1

SACKS:          Jodie Clemons 1.0
                Kenny Kendal 1.0

A long-missing Husky running game could get a boost from a young Hoosier defense that has allowed at least one 100-yard rushing effort in 12 straight games. Only one senior starts for Indiana, but their 507 yards allowed against Connecticut still rankled defensive coordinator Tim Kish, who deemed it "Inexcusable. There is just no excuse for us to miss all those tackles."

Defensive end Victor Adeyanju and tackle Jodie Clemons represents Indiana's experience up front, with 12 tackles-for-loss and five sacks between them in 24 combined starts. Junior Martin Lapostolle moved to the nose from his middle linebacker spot after bulking up, and redshirt-freshman Kenny Kendal recorded his first career sack a week ago.

Weakside LB Josh Moore, a transfer from Valley Forge, returned to his native Connecticut last week and had a sterling debut, with 13 tackles and an interception. Middle linebacker Kyle Killion started four games as a true freshman in 2002, and knocked down a pair of passes to go with his 10 stops in Hartford. Junior Kevin Smith is Indiana's most experienced ‘backer, though walk-on freshman Casey Nowinski is gaining a reputation as a comer.

Strong safety Herana-Daze Jones suffered a stinger after making seven first-half tackles, but hopes to go here. Jones had 108 tackles (74 solo) for Indiana last year at the weakside. Free safety Will Lumpkin made 12 stops last week, almost matching his total from all of last year. The corners have 13 career starts between them – senior Duane Stone owns 11 of them, and the lone career corner interception. True freshman Cedric Henry made his collegiate debut last week as the Hoosiers' nickel back, while senior co-captain Joe Gonzalez looks to make the trip and play after having to sit out last week with a strained ACL.

GAME OUTLOOK: Can Rich make it 13-straight 100-yarders against Indiana? Youth abounds on the Hoosier front, and there's not a lot of size – Clemons at 275 is the biggest. It's a real chance for Washington's harangued offensive line to knock somebody down. Though Indiana did get two sacks last week, Pickett should have as much time as he needs this week. Don't be surprised if the Hoosiers show a lot of eight-man fronts and blitz early and often, for they look to be undermanned here – at least on paper.

PLACEKICKING:  Bryan Robertson 1-1 FG (1.000, long 28), 1-1 XP 
PUNTING:       Tyson Beattie 7-38.9 (long 50)
KICK RETURNS:  Courtney Roby 6-20.2 (long 24), 0 TD
               Lance Bennett 0-0
PUNT RETURNS:  Glenn Johnson 2-12.5 (long 14), 0 TD

Junior place-kicker Bryan Robertson had some interesting numbers last season, hitting on 6-for-7 from outside of 40 yards – and 3-for-6 from inside. He was just 23-for-28 on extra points, denoting a strong, erratic leg. Redshirt-freshman punter Tyson Beattie, a native of Attadale, Australia, performed well in his first game, averaging nearly 40 yards per boot.

Courtney Roby and Glenn Johnson will be called upon to do most of the returning duty. Roby's career long kick return is 28 yards, and Johnson has a 34-yard punt return to his credit. A year ago, Indiana blocked one punt, and had one field-goal blocked.

GAME OUTLOOK: Robertson can boom them, while Knudson gets his first home start, and will no doubt have some butterflies. Both teams showed good coverage last week, and Charles Frederick looks very dangerous indeed. Still, this game should not have to come down to special teams.
KIBBLES AND BITS: Indiana freshman walk-on kick returner Lance Bennett, along with his two older brothers, writes songs for wrapper/actor Will Smith – including "Black Suits Comin'", which is on the Men in Black II soundtrack . . . Easy trivia: Who was the coach of Indiana's two wins over Washington, both in the 1970s? Lee Corso . . . Saturday's 28-9 loss to Ohio State was Washington's worst opening result since 1975, a 35-12 loss to Arizona State . . . The Hoosiers have lost eight straight road games, by an average of 24 points each. Their trip to Seattle will culminate a two-week, 6,400-mile road trip . . . Washington has gone 43-5 in non-conference home games since 1981. Their home-opener slate all-time is 82-24-5 . . . When Coach DiNardo was hired in 2002, he made a promise that he would personally visit all 311 football-playing high schools in the state of Indiana. By the beginning of fall camp, he had fulfilled that promise . . . Seven true freshmen saw their first Husky game action against Ohio State: C.J. Wallace, Tahj Bomar, Sean Douglas, Corey Williams, Quintin Daniels, Bobby Whithorne and Sonny Shackelford . . . Indiana only sports eight seniors on their 102-man roster – five on scholarship. In contrast, 53 freshmen (including redshirts) dot the rolls – 25 of them walk-ons . . .

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