It was there for Indiana State’s football team. Victory over Indiana was within ISU’s grasp. The Sycamores had a chance to break the Hoosiers in the Rock.
But the Sycamores couldn’t quite swing the hammer.
The Sycamores came tantalizingly close, but the Hoosiers held off the Sycamores for a 24-17 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium, a.k.a., The Rock.
How close was ISU? The Sycamores still had a chance on a Hail Mary attempt on the final play.
But it wasn’t to be.
“It hurts. It hurts deep. But we don’t have anything to hang our heads about. We have a lot of fight and lot of heart in our team. A little more execution and discipline and we’re going to go far,” ISU tight end Michael Mardis said.
The Hoosiers and IU’s fans got a look at supernatural Shakir Bell on Saturday. The junior rushed for 192 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 8 yards per carry.
“Shakir is Shakir. I’m not surprised anymore. The unfortunate thing is this is what’s expected out of him,” ISU coach Trent Miles said.
Quarterback Mike Perish completed 20 of 30 passes for 223 yards in his first ISU start. Perish had 137 passing yards in the second half and got better as the game progressed.
“He answered one of the questions I had about him …” Miles said. “… which was whether he could handle pressure situations. You can try to simulate in practice, but you can’t simulate what we had here. He handled it well.”
Perish was plagued by dropped balls, three in the fourth quarter alone. Drops by Demory Lawshe, Mardis and Taje High all proved costly. Wide receiver Donald Spencer also fumbled the ball away after a reception.
“It’s something we’ve been concerned about. It’s something we need to work on,” Miles said.
For all of the magic Bell and Perish conjured, they couldn’t help the Sycamores overcome crucial first half mistakes and a defense that couldn’t keep Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson in check in the first half.
After the teams traded punts on their opening drives, Bell showed the Hoosiers what he was all about. With the ball at the ISU 46, the Sycamores lined up with a trips right formation, with Bell alone in the backfield. Bell took the handoff from Perish — followed blocks by Evan Borchers, Paul Patrick and Nick Rice — and broke free.
IU’s safeties had been drawn away by the three wide receiver formation and Bell scored an easy 54-yard touchdown to put the Sycamores in front 7-0.
It took the Hoosiers just 53 seconds to muster a response. Roberson, who completed his first six passes, found Shane Wynn all alone on the right sideline on a busted coverage by ISU’s defensive backs. Wynn sped 71 yards to knot the score.
ISU then got into an unfortunate malaise that helped keep Hoosiers’ drives alive. Late in the first quarter, cornerback Calvin Burnett committed pass interference on a third-and-3 play that kept a Hoosiers’ drive alive. Later in the same drive, when ISU had forced IU to attempt a field goal, Burnett roughed IU kicker Mitch Ewald.
Though the play didn’t give IU a first down, it did give IU a chance to go for it on fourth-and-inches, which it converted. One play later, Stephen Houston scored from 15 yards out to put the Hoosiers in front 14-7.
On IU’s subsequent drive, Burnett made contact with IU receiver Nick Stoner on an incomplete pass into the end zone on third-and-3. The resulting first down kept yet another IU drive alive. Eight plays later, Ewald converted a 30-yard field goal to make it 17-7.
But ISU gave itself a lifeline before halftime. Runs of 17 and 25 yards by Bell got ISU to midfield with under a half-minute to play in the first half. Three straight sideline completions by Perish to Spencer and Mardis gave Tanner Fritschle the chance to boot a career-long 45-yard field goal.
Though ISU had been outgained by 90 yards at the break, the Sycamores only trailed by a touchdown at 17-10.
Bell rushed for 145 yards on just 14 carries at the break.
But the momentum ISU took into the halftime locker room appeared to be fleeting when the Hoosiers marched 75 yards on their first drive — including completions of 31 and 17 yards by Roberson, who capped the series off with a 1-yard plunge to make it 24-10.
But Perish had completed his last three passes going into the break and his hot hand carried over to the second half. Perish completed five consecutive passes and put ISU in a position where it had fourth-and-1 at the IU 23.
ISU elected to play-action fake to Bell and Perish lobbed a perfect pass to fullback Austen Wozniak. IU’s defense was set up to stop Bell and there were no Hoosiers to stop Wozniak from scoring a 23-yard touchdown. ISU trailed just 24-17 with 5:14 to go in the third quarter.
ISU had a chance to tie the game when Donald Spencer fumbled the ball away at the ISU 41. The Hoosiers didn’t capitalize, however, as an Ewald field-goal attempt hit the left upright.
ISU went three-and-out after missed field goal, but stopped IU at midfield as Hoosiers went for it and failed on fourth-and-5 from the ISU 45.
The Sycamores drove as deep as the IU 34, but a Brian Williams interception ended the Sycamores’ drive on fourth down.
ISU seemed to get the break it needed when Johnny Towalid intercepted a Roberson pass at the 20 with seven minutes left. But it was controversially ruled pass interference.
Still, ISU stopped the Hoosiers and Towalid came up big again as he blocked an Ewald field goal attempt with 4:51 left in the game.
ISU went to work. After dropping a pass while wide-open on second down, Michael Mardis hauled in a 27-yard screen pass to get the Sycamores in IU territory.
But the ISU drive ended in a red mist. After three plays netted minus-2 yards, Perish tried to find Mardis over the middle on fourth down. Though there appeared to be contact by ISU linebacker Chase Hoobler, there was no holding or pass interference called.
An incensed Miles was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct as he pleaded his case, but it was in vain.
“I got a technical and I’m not proud of it. That won’t happen again,” said Miles, who declined to comment on the pass interference calls.
ISU got one last chance as the clock ran out, but a Perish Hail Mary pass was swatted away.
“Being an Indiana guy. This hurts me deeply. A lot of our guys are hurting. But we just have to move on and learn from it,” Bell said.
ISU (0-1) plays host to Quincy College next Saturday.
It was there for Indiana State’s football team. Victory over Indiana was within ISU’s grasp. The Sycamores had a chance to break the Hoosiers in the Rock.
Sycamores bow out of MVC Tournament
Indiana State’s baseball was out of pitching, and after a loss to Wichita State on Thursday, the Sycamores were out of second-chances too at the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament. What the Sycamores weren’t out of was heart, guts and clutch performances from some unlikely sources. But in the end, Friday’s elimination game rematch against the Shockers was a sampling of ISU’s season overall — the Sycamores were out of luck.
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Wichita State shuts out ISU to force elimination-game rematch
Indiana State starting pitcher Greg Kuhlman did his best.
Actually, he did far better than he ever has previously in an ISU uniform, but while Kuhlman’s gutty pitching effort spoke volumes, ISU’s bats remained ominously silent.
Indiana State baseball now one win from MVC Championship
Indiana State’s Wednesday morning wish list probably read something like this: a dominant complete game effort from starting pitcher Devin Moore, near-immaculate defense to support him, and a steady diet of clutch situational hitting from lineup spots one to nine.
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Manaea's shoulder causing him latest pain
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Indiana State’s baseball team has been waiting all season for its stars to align.
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ISU track sending record 22 to postseason
On the heels of their thrilling double victory at the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships both the Indiana State men and women moved up in the national rankings which were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
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Think of every championship that Indiana State has won in each of its sports, past and present. Think of every tournament — postseason or regular season — which the Sycamores have claimed as their own.
Ort sets ISU RBI record in 16-7 win
Robby Ort celebrated his Indiana State baseball Senior Day on Saturday by becoming the Sycamores’ all-time leader in RBIs as ISU ended its regular season with a 16-7 win over Bradley at Bob Warn Field.
Bradley ends 16-game MVC losing streak against ISU
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ISU couldn’t do it.
Behind 16 hits and Manaea's pitching, ISU beats Bradley
Indiana State’s baseball team rode a wild ride of emotion on Thursday.
First came the public announcement that Bob Warn Field would host the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Later, Sean Manaea’s availability to pitch ISU’s series opener against Bradley was in doubt.
Indiana State women add five transfers, including experienced D-I point guard
Indiana State coach Teri Moren believes the addition of five more newcomers to the program — in addition to the five who had already joined the program earlier this calendar year — will provide her coaching staff the athleticism and depth it needs to play a successful, up-tempo brand of basketball next season.
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The St. Mary-of-the-Woods softball team finished seventh in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association softball tournament on Tuesday at Firestone Stadium.
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ISU baseball team builds on success with 14-2 rout
Indiana State’s baseball victory over Alcorn State on Friday would take on more meaning Saturday if the Sycamores could build momentum and pick up on the good work they did in Friday’s ninth-inning rally.
The Sycamores were aggressive from the opening inning at the plate and starting pitcher Devin Moore gave them eight valuable and effective innings on the mound as ISU defeated Alcorn State 14-2 at Bob Warn Field.
“It was a really good experience for everybody. It felt great to finally come out here and put some things together. It’s also really nice when your offense puts a lot of runs on the board,” Moore said.
Moore’s eight innings of work were as valuable as gold to an ISU team that is short on quality arms due to injury and ineffectiveness. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and one of the two runs he conceded was unearned.
Johnson, Lyke win MVC titles for ISU
Indiana State’s Felisha Johnson and Maurice Lyke were both crowned Missouri Valley Conference champions on Saturday during the MVC Track and Field Championships at Drake University.
ISU earns badly-needed win
Alcorn State’s baseball team might be ranked in the bottom 10 in RPI and Indiana State might have never lost to a Southwestern Athletic Conference team. So it wouldn’t appear that a quality win was in the offing when Alcorn State visited Bob Warn Field on Friday.
Metro roundup: RHIT’s Evans sets Div. III record in high jump
For the third time this season, Rose-Hulman senior Liz Evans topped the NCAA Division III all-time national record in the outdoor high jump Friday night.
ISU’s Mascari and Hope win MVC track & field titles
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ISU pole vault tradition continues with help from its author
Pole vault is track and field for the adrenaline junkie, Indiana State senior Nicole Hope proclaimed during a recent practice at Marks Field.
To catapult oneself about 14 feet into the air with a large $500 fiberglass pole on a daily basis is a risky endeavor.
“We have to be fearless. You can’t be afraid at all,” said Hope, who has also catapulted herself into the NCAA’s elite in the event, ranking 15th in the NCAA with her leap of 13-feet, 9 1/4.
Sycamores searching for answers after seventh loss in eight games
These are the bad times for the Indiana State baseball team.
The will is there for the Sycamores to pull out of their worst slump of the season, but the results are not. The suffering continued on Wednesday at Bob Warn Field as Eastern Illinois defeated ISU 5-3.
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The Indiana State men’s track team has won the last two Missouri Valley Conference outdoor championships, but the women have not stood on the top podium since 1999.
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North grad Welker helps Whitson earn first NCAA bid as coach
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Rose-Hulman has won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s all-sports trophy for the fifth time in the past six year, the league announced Monday.
Rose tallied 66.5 points for its finishes in 11 men’s sports, just ahead of Franklin with 66. Hanover was third with 53 points.
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Rose-Hulman’s hot streak in men’s tennis came to an end Saturday in the semifinal round of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament at the West Indy Racquet Club.
Manaea fights off bad hip, wet weather to toss four innings
Mother Nature has been the bane of the Indiana State baseball team’s existence all season. Eight games wiped due to weather are a testament to that. So it was no surprise, though no less disappointing, when she didn’t deal Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea the greatest hand on Saturday as he tries to recover from a hip injury.
ISU track enjoys big night at IU's Billy Hayes Invitational
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Pounds broke his own school record to win the men’s hammer throw.
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