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Indiana runs – yes, runs – past Indiana State

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Coleman, Roberts big in 28-10 season-opening win

Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 10:21 pm

BLOOMINGTON -- On Saturday, Indiana's pass happy reputation was a myth.

It also was no problem. Check that. It wasn't a victory costing problem. Not against Indiana State's run-vulnerable defense. Not with tailback Tevin Coleman looking like the second coming of former Hoosier great Anthony Thompson.

That wasn't a coincidence.

The Hoosiers ran at will, kept their passing attack simple (which won't be a season-long trend) and rolled to a 28-10 season opening victory.

"This is just the beginning," Coleman said. "We have more to show."

The game was delayed 50 minutes because of lightning in the area. Before the game, Thompson was honored, and why not? He has multiple school records, including the single-game mark of 377 rushing yards set in 1989.

Coleman, motivated to reach the 1,000-yard total he just missed last season because of injuries, had 247 rushing yards (the fifth most in school history) on 23 carries, and might have had more, coach Kevin Wilson said, if he hadn't gotten tired.

“He has to get his wind up,” Wilson said.

Wind or not, Coleman has now rushed for more than 200 yards in his last two games (he had 215 against Illinois last season before spraining his ankle and missing the final three games). His two 200 yard games trail only LeVron Williams (three) and Alex Smith (four). He's scored at least one touchdown in 10 straight games. Only one IU running back has done better -- Thompson, with 12.

"Tevin is a beast dog," teammate D'Angelo Roberts said, who had a career-high 129 rushing yards.

Added quarterback Nate Sudfeld: "Tevin is unreal. When I see him break through the middle and guys are running angles at him, I just point in the air because he's gone."

Gone or not, Coleman knows who makes it possible.

"It's just the offensive line," Coleman said. "They worked real hard. I just follow behind them and run hard."

That was part of a 455-yard rushing assault (a Memorial Stadium record) that more than made up for a surprisingly shaky passing attack. Sudfeld was 11-for-18 for 111 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He also was sacked twice.

That's a big drop off given IU has led the Big Ten in passing the last two seasons.

“(Indiana State) did a nice job defensively,” Wilson said. “They dropped eight back. We had a hard time getting a feel for their zone rotations. We took some shots down the field, didn't get them The running game was going well enough. We rode that more.”

IU's run emphasis caught Indiana State off guard.

“I was a little surprised,” coach Mike Sanford said. “I think it had something to do with what our defense was doing. I don't know how many rushing yards it was, but it was ridiculous. We can't do that. We have to be much better defending the run.

“Our pass defense was an improvement. They didn't do a great job of throwing the ball down the field.

Indiana's defense showed the substance to preseason camp optimism. It held Indiana State to 170 total yards, just 30 on the ground. It also recorded four sacks, three by defensive lineman Bobby Richardson. Both of the Sycamores' scores came off of Hoosier turnovers

“As the game went on, we got better pressure,” Wilson said. “We tackled well, for the most part. We need to tighten up our coverages. We've got to get some turnovers.

“We're better and more athletic. It's just a start. It's not close to what it can be and what it ought to be.”

Indiana didn't waste pass plays against Indiana State in the first quarter. It ran nine straight times for its first touchdown (a 13-yard Coleman run), then saw Coleman break a 73-yard TD run -- no surprise given he tied for the national lead last season with eight plays of at least 40 yards.

The Hoosiers added a second-quarter TD on Roberts' 2-yard run for a 14-3 lead.

Indiana State's first-quarter field goal came after IU freshman J-Shun Harris fumbled a punt, and cornerback Tim Bennett was called for pass interference.

Sudfeld didn't complete a pass until the second quarter, when he hit Ricky Jones for 13 yards. He finished the first half 1-for-4 for 13 yards.

That was no big deal given the Hoosiers rushed for 224 yards on 30 carries, and led 21-3 at halftime.

IU did nothing offensively in the third quarter. Sudfeld's interception was returned 60 yards by cornerback Travis Starks to set up Logan Buck's 5-yard touchdown run for a 21-10 score.

The Hoosiers added a fourth quarter TD on backup tailback Myles Graham's 1-yard run.

Indiana has next week off before playing at Bowling Green, which was upset by Western Kentucky Friday 59-31.

“There's a lot to look at and grow from,” Wilson said. “We have a really good challenge at Bowling Green. We have a lot to build on. There are more positives than negatives.”