November 1, 2008

CMU earns the elusive Big Ten victory

BLOOMINGTON, IN- Chippewa fans predicting a high-scoring shootout between CMU and Indiana saw their prognostications come true today. With a combined 28 points in the first quarter, both offenses had little trouble moving the ball.

CMU won the toss and elected to defer as Indiana took over on offense to start the game. CMU forced a quick turnover as a completion by Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell led to a fumble recovered by Bobby Seay.

However, the Chippewa offense would stall and not put any points on the board off of the IU turnover. Brian Brunner got the start as CMU went three and out and punted the ball down to the IU one yard line.

Despite the worst possible starting field position for a drive, the Hoosiers put together a very impressive 13 play, 99 yard drive that ended with a 22 yard run by Indiana tailback Marcus Thigpen. The Chippewas would not have an answer for Thigpen or any other Indiana ballcarrier as they surrendered 188 rushing yards in the first half.

CMU had an answer for the Hoosiers as Brunner got the Chippewa offense rolling after a rough start. Brunner found Bryan Anderson in the back of the endzone to cap off a 10 play, 69 yard drive to tie the game at 7-7.

The Hoosiers would only need two plays to regain the lead as Thigpen broke loose again for a 77 yard scamper to break the tie at 14-7. At halftime, Thigpen had 102 yards and two scores on only three carries.

On the first play of the second quarter, Brunner hit Brown with a low pass just over the goal line as the Chippewas tied it up again at 14 a piece. Courtesy of two key third down conversions by Brunner, the Chippewas covered 73 yards in 11 plays in 4:04.

The two teams would trade touchdowns again before the half, resulting in a 42 point half. With 536 yards of total offense between the two teams in the first, the Hoosiers were dominating the rushing yards (188) as Brunner and his receivers racked up 248 passing yards.

To start the second half, the Hoosiers kicked the ball into the endzone for a touchback. The Chippewas got off to a promising start as Brunner found Anderson on a crossing route for a 23 yard gain. However, two sacks later the Chippewas were forced to punt.

The Hoosiers used a rotating quarterback system between Chappell and the oft-injured Kellen Lewis to put another score on CMU. The drive started with a 10 yard scramble by Lewis, followed by a 64 yard toss from Chappell to Ray Fisher to bring the score to 28-21 in favor of the Hoosiers.

The pass protection problems would continue for CMU as Brunner was dragged down for a ten yard loss as CMU went three and out for the second consecutive time in the half.

The Hoosiers would take over on offense on their own 23 yard line with Lewis at quarterback. The Chippewa defense seemingly had the Hoosiers stopped for their own three and out, but a personal foul on a late hit gave the Hoosiers a first down on their own 39. The Chippewa defense eventually forced the Hoosiers to punt as Antonio Brown was tackled on his own ten yard line.

On the ensuing drive, the Chippewas would commit a rare turnover as Brunner tried to find Anderson for another third down conversion. Indiana defensive back Will Patterson jumped in front of the pass as Indiana took over on CMU's 41 yard line.

The Chippewa defense would hold as a 31 yard field goal attempt Austin Starr went wide right. After facing yet another third down, Brunner found the always dangerous Antonio Brown for a quick slant. After a completion of about four yards, Brown did the rest as he embarrassed several Indiana defenders on the way to a 79 yard touchdown.

After a personal foul (unsportsmanlike conduct) on Antonio Brown, Indiana found themselves in great field position on the Chippewa 49 yard line. The themes of poor tackling and untimely penalties reared their ugly heads yet again as Indiana needed only 5 plays and 1:36 to break the tie for the fifth time. The PAT attempt was blocked by Larry Knight Indiana led 34-28 with 0:32 left in the third quarter.

The Chippewa offense was not finished as Brunner found Ontario Sneed for a 44 yard gain on the second play of the drive. An offensive pass interference penalty and another Indiana sack the later the Chippewas were pushed on the border of field goal range. Andrew Aguila connected on a 48 yard field goal to bring the score to 34-31.

Kirkston Edwards brought the ensuing Indiana drive to an end with an interception, followed by a three yard return. Taking over on their own 44, the Chippewas earned themselves a significant swing in momentum.

Offensive coordinator kept with his creative play calling as another reverse to Brown brought the Chippewas into IU territory. Faced with another third and long situation, Brunner found Brown for a ten yard gain that was just long enough to move the chains.

Another super-human effort by Kito Poblah later, Brunner was able to sneak it in from one yard out to bring the score to 37-34 in favor of the Chippewas with 8:52 remaining in the game.

The Chippewas continued their season-long strong fourth quarter defensive play as Mark Deitz recorded his second sack of the afternoon. The Hoosiers were forced to punt as the Chippewas took over on their own 7 yard line.

Brian Brunner broke the school record for passing yards in a game an eight yard gain on first down brought him to 460 yards for the game. This record broke Kent Smith's record of 453 yards against Western Michigan in 2005.

The Chippewas would pick up two first downs but the drive stalled from there as Brett Hartman was called in to punt. The Hoosiers took over on their own 38 with a little over four minutes remaining.

On the ensuing drive, CMU forced the Hoosiers into a 3rd and 4 situation. True to form, linebacker Nick Bellore stepped up to make the timely play and stop the IU ballcarrier in the backfield for a loss. The Hoosiers would then go for it, but Josh Gordy jumped the slant route and batted the pass down, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Taking over with roughly two and a half minutes remaining, Ontario Sneed took over and used three carries to pick up the first down. The Chippewas would run out the clock from there.

Final score:

CMU 37
IU 34

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