It seems like it's been years since Indiana was knocked out of the College World Series and we had something directly Indiana to root for. Even with AAU tournaments, basketball and football recruiting and camps going for the last two weeks, there is mostly just second hand information floating around out there. Now we finally get to start seeing results. The bigger media outlets will churn content out with regularity and we'll be there to dissect it all.
Last year was the first time for the Hoosiers to play Indiana State since 2007. They also played in 2003 and 1925, so there isn't a lot of history to go on. In fact, mcubed.net where I usually grab my head to head records, doesn't even have Indiana and Indiana State ever playing. But my sources (last year's game recap) tell me that the Hoosiers are currently 4-0 vs the Sycamores overall.
So let's just look back at last year's game to get a feel for what we should expect from this year's. Last season, the Sycamores were a national threat in the FCS. Playing a category down from the big boys, the Sycamores were still in the drivers seat to win their stacked conference after being the only team to upset FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. The Sycamores were just two games from pulling off the unthinkable before soiling the sheets against conference rival Illinois State and then Youngstown State to finish on the outside looking in. They finished outside the top 25 (but still received votes).
Last season's game was closer than I would have expected, but Indiana State showed through the season that they were much better than expected. We all knew going in that the guy to watch out for was Warren Central graduate Shakir Bell. Boy, did we do a lot of watching for Shakir Bell in that game. Bell sprinted for 194 yards that game. Fortunately, the majority of those came in the first half, as Indiana was able to relatively lock down the Indiana State run game in the second half.
Tre Roberson threw for 280 yards and a touchdown in the Hoosiers victory going 26 for 36 in the process. Combine that with the three headed running attack of D'Angelo Roberts, Stephen Houston and Tevin Coleman and the Hoosiers offense was actually looking good early on. They were efficient and making the plays when necessary. Something that we wouldn't see a lot of continuing in the year. In the end the Hoosiers walked away with a 24-17 win by grabbing several big defensive stops in the fourth quarter.
Indiana State was able to throw experience at IU with experience and talent that returns this year. Of course you had the offensive threat of Shakir Bell, but you also had sophomore Mike Perish play in last year's game as a sophomore. The 2012-13 Sycamores were in a similar situation to Indiana this year. They were young, but the young guys had some minutes under their belt.
Since last year, Shakir Bell has become a year older and stronger but Indiana State lost their rock star coach in Trent Miles to Georgia State University. That's caused a bit of obvious turnover in the Sycamore front office as they brought on Mike Sanford. Sanford was, now Wisconsin head coach, Gary Andersen's assistant head coach at Utah State. But check in later this week for more on what to expect from Indiana State this year.