Indiana turns the tide on Gophers at home

Minnesota dashed the Hoosiers bowl hopes last season, this year – a different story.

Luke Middendorf

In Minnesota’s meeting with Indiana last year in the Metrodome, the Gophers were able to get the big victory they needed to start the momentum that led to a bowl game.

This year the circumstances were different, and so was the outcome.

Quote of the Game

“I told the team that we just have to stay the course – you have to stay the course – we have a plan in place to win. If we keep going, keep fighting, keep scratching, we are going to win. We are going to stay positive; we are going to stay together. Anybody that expects me to be anything different than I have been is mistaken.”
ñ Tim Brewster in a post-game speech.

For the Gophers’ homecoming game Nov. 4 of last year, they rolled to a 63-26 victory over the Hoosiers at home after starting on a 35-0 run in the second quarter.

This year, Indiana didn’t need a big lead of their own to cruise to a 40-20 victory on its home turf.

Minnesota was able to stop the momentum that the Hoosiers carried into last season’s meeting, which played a part in Indiana not qualifying for a bowl game.

Many of the Gophers players said this year’s Indiana game was make-or-break for their bowl game hopes, and the Hoosiers were able to pay them back for last season’s outcome.

Defining Moment

On the Gophers’ first offensive series of the second quarter without running back Duane Bennett, they were forced to punt after Adam Weber threw the ball away while scrambling from defensive pressure. The fourth-down punt was the first non-scoring drive of the game for either team, greatly affecting the rhythm of Minnesota’s offense and allowing Indiana to cruise ahead.

“I think putting up 63 on them (Indiana) last year stuck with them,” receiver Erik Decker said. “This year, they executed well.”

Field goal Starr

Indiana kicker Austin Starr tied the school’s record with four field goals Saturday to help lead the Hoosiers to a win.

Starr’s day was highlighted by a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter, which is the second longest of the junior’s career.

He also hit field goals of 33, 25 and 43 on the day.

Starr is 12 of 13 in field goal attempts on the season, while going a perfect 6-6 from 40-plus yards for his career.

Turnover woes

While staying turnover-free in the first half, Minnesota gave the ball up twice en route to their fifth loss of the season.

Both turnovers were interceptions thrown by freshman quarterback Adam Weber, who faced tremendous pressure from the Indiana defensive line, which lead the nation in sacks coming into the game.

Minnesota kept it close during the beginning of the game, but both interceptions thrown by Weber were costly and stopped potential scoring drives.

Player of the Game

Bryan Payton
No. 27 sophomore running back
ï Payton ran in three of the Hoosiers’ four touchdowns on the afternoon, while also gaining 90 yards on the ground on just 13 carries. The sophomore’s big day was highlighted by a 48-yard touchdown run in which he went untouched by the Minnesota defense into the end zone.

Indiana ‘playing for a lot of good reasons’

Under interim coach Bill Lynch, the Hoosiers are off to their best start in school history after six games with a 5-1 record, and nobody has any doubts about why. With the passing of coach Terry Hoeppner to brain cancer last summer, Indiana is one of the feel-good stories of the year in the Big Ten.

“They’re playing for a lot of good reasons,” Minnesota quarterback Adam Weber said.

Brewster credited Hoeppner with helping to build the Indiana program into what it is today and also said he feels the program is still in good hands.

“I told Bill, I’m proud for him,” Brewster said. “He’s doing a great job coaching those guys, and I know Coach Hoeppner feels awful good watching down.”