Sunday, September 16, 2007

IU 41, Akron 24.

As with last week's game, this one was a bit frustrating because IU squandered an opportunity to put the game away early. Nevertheless, IU is 3-0, which hasn't happened all that often in our history (I have some notes on this, but not with me--yep, a blogger with handwritten notes. What's my problem?). We haven't defeated even a lower-tier BCS conference program, but we have handled two teams predicted to contend in the MAC, including one game on the road. With Ball State at home in November, IU will have an excellent chance to go 4-0 in the non-conference. Further, while most Big Ten fans wouldn't consider this a positive, the conference appears to be historically bad. Michigan's woes are well-documented. Minnesota is 1-2 even against a classic Glen Mason-style schedule. Northwestern lost to Duke, loser of 22 straight, at home. Wisconsin is nominally undefeated, but hasn't looked much like a top 10 team. Iowa, I can't really figure out. I know that the Hawks often find a way to screw the pooch in that rivalry, but this year? Before Saturday I though Iowa State was by far the worst BCS conference team, perhaps one of the worst in I-A. Illinois has been okay, and is one of the few teams that has been tested against teams from power conferences, but Zook is still Zook and Isaiah Williams is still a tailback. My point is that the nonconference losses could help IU in terms of bowl positioning if the Hoosiers find their way to eligibility.
As for the game, the pass defense continues to be a concern. IU allowed 250 yards, 9.3 yards per attempt, and 13.2 per completion. Akron completed nearly 70 percent of its 27 attempts. On the other hand, rush defense continues to be respectable. On 41 attempts, Akron managed only 120 yards (2.9 per carry).
Offensively, of course, it was the Kellen Lewis show. IU rushed for 338 yards, and Lewis accounted for 199 of that yards and added 137 yards passing on 19-24 with one interception. Demetrius McCray and Marcus Thigpen both were productive, averaging 4.6 and 6.5 yard per carry.
Unlike the WMU game, IU didn't have a dramatic edge in turnovers (2-1). So, this was more of a "straight-up" win than the WMU game. It will be interesting to see how IU handles Isaiah Williams. IU's rushing defense has been good so far, but not against a runner like Williams. As much as I mock Isaiah's passing ability, he did some damage against the Hoosiers in the first half last year. I think we will need to improve a bit to beat Illinois, but unlike many of our conference brethren, we have escaped the bulk of the non-con schedule unscathed.

2 comments:

Bryan Haza said...

Re: weak Big Ten ... after more than a decade of no bowl appearances, I'll take bowl eligibility any way we can get it. If it comes during a year that the Big Ten is bad, then so be it. It still counts.

John M said...

Yep. The weaker the better. I'll take it however it happens, although I really would feel better if IU could get to 7 or 8 wins. I think 6-6 (2-6) would put Greenspan in a tough situation.