WKU football: Indiana postgame thoughts

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Lynch impressed

Even though his team was in control for much of the game Saturday, Indiana coach Bill Lynch said he was impressed with Western Kentucky.

He said he thought the program in general is on the right track, and said he expects big things from the Hilltoppers in the future.

“I think they’re really well coached, I think they play very hard, they’re tough and physical,” Lynch said. “Their quarterback is tough, their defense has some guys that will hit you, and so they’re going to be a very, very good football team.

“As they go through this transition, they’re going to get nothing but better. They’re headed in the right direction and doing all the right things.”

Despite Lynch’s words, WKU’s left Bloomington with a bitter taste following Saturday’s loss.

“I gauge us right at what the scoreboard says,” WKU linebacker Blake Boyd said. “We lost, that’s it. I felt like this was a game we could’ve won and probably should’ve won.

“So there’s no, ‘We played with them,’ stuff or anything in my opinion, and I think that everybody else feels the same way. We want to come to win everyday and I think we will be good this year, but we just have to get our minds right.”

Unlucky streak

WKU’s loss in its first game as an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision member matches a trend of teams losing their I-A debuts.

Since 1987, only three of 18 teams that have transitioned into the FBS (formerly I-A) recorded wins in their season opener.

The three winning teams were Louisiana Tech in 1989 (beating Louisiana-Lafayette 40-14), Central Florida in 1996 (who topped William & Mary 39-33) and Florida International in 2004 with a 22-16 win over Youngstown state.

Punting prowess

Though it’s not a stat that turns heads, WKU junior punter Jeremy Moore’s numbers on Saturday are certainly worth mention.

Moore averaged 43.9 yards on seven punts, five of which landed inside the 20. 

WKU coach David Elson said Moore is a weapon that often goes overlooked, and one that the team will count on as the season progresses.

“I thought our special teams were very solid,” Elson said. “I thought Jeremy and our punt team were great. We went to a little bit of a different punt formation and I thought our guys did well.

“We were a little nervous about our punt team, but Jeremy handled it well, the snaps were good and Jeremy definitely proved that having experience at that spot is going to help us throughout the year.”

Lewis’ big day:\

It was a record day for Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis in more ways than one.

Lewis’ 75-yard touchdown scamper in the first quarter was the longest of his career and the longest by an Indiana player since 2001.

His touchdown pass in the second quarter to Ray Fisher set a new school record for passing scores in a career with 43. Former Hoosier Antwaan Randle El threw 42 from 1998-2001. And his total of 185 yards on the ground was the fifth-most by an Indiana quarterback in a single game. 

Outside of his two long sprints of 75 and 62 yards, perhaps Lewis’ most impressive run came on a broken pass play where he scrambled toward the WKU sideline, eluded a diving defensive tackle, cut back to the center, broke through two tacklers and spun to a 16-yard gain to break the 100-yard rushing plateau. 

“It’s not like he burst on the scene here today – he’s been a pretty good player,” Lynch said. “And one of the things that happens with him in the preseason is that we don’t tackle him a lot, but people can come to our scrimmages and practices and see that when you blow the whistle after about four yards he’s down.

“But when you have to tackle him, it’s a different game.”

Minturn’s monument

Junior kicker Zac Minturn’s 27-yard field goal in the third quarter was not only his first field goal attempt at WKU, but also his first make. Minturn added a second field goal later in the quarter from 22 yards.

 

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