As I noted last year, despite mostly less-than-stellar teams during the period, IU has dominated the MAC over the last three decades. Since 1978, IU, Ohio State, and Michigan are the only Big Ten teams not tripped up by a MAC school. I'll break this down further sometime during the season, but IU, which entered 2007 with a 17-0 record against the MAC since losing to Miami in 1978, improved to 20-0 during that timeframe with wins over Western Michigan, Akron, and Ball State in 2007.
In the second week of the season, IU traveled to Kalamazoo for the first time. As is always the case when IU plays a MAC school, many pundits predicted an upset. This further supports my pet theory that the reason IU plays well against the MAC is because every IU-MAC matchup is hyped as an upset special, so unlike other Big Ten schools, IU is unlikely to overlook a MAC opponent. In any event, here's the box score.
This game was a mixed bag. IU played extremely well for most of the game. IU led 31-7 at halftime, and with 4:57 remaining in the third quarter, an Austin Starr field goal extended the lead to 34-7. Unfortunately, Western Michigan outscored IU 20-3 for the remainder of the game, and WMU's Tim Hiller picked IU's defense apart in the second half. As I noted last year, IU defensive line dominated WMU's running attack, held to 30 yards on 30 attempts.
Positive performances from returning players:
- Mitchell Evans, then a true freshman subbing for injured Austin Thomas, intercepted two passes.
- Ray Fisher led the Hoosiers with 9 catches and 77 yards (Hardy caught only three balls, but two were touchdowns).
- Greg Middleton had "only" one QB sack, but scooped up a fumble and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.
The Broncos finished with a disappointing 5-7 record, but salvaged something from the season, and saved IU from a December trip to Detroit, but upsetting Iowa 28-19 on the same day as the Bucket game.