November 1, 2008

Central Michigan throws past Hoosiers, 37-34

Brian Brunner may be a back-up quarterback for Central Michigan, but Saturday he played like a Division One starter.

With normal starter Dan LeFevour out nursing an injury, Brunner came in and helped CMU eclipse 500 yards of total offense on the afternoon. Brunner finished 35-53 for 485 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Chippewas to a 37-34 victory over the Hoosiers. He also set a CMU record for most passing yards in a game, passing Kent Smith's 460 yards in 2005.

"He did just a tremendous job," Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said of Brunner. "He is a fifth-year senior and has been around a lot of wins in the program. They had a high level of confidence in him."

Brunner did perhaps his best work in the third quarter, when the QB went 6-for-11 for 173 yards and a touchdown. And despite the large chunk of yards he maintained, Brunner was under pressure for much of the game. The Hoosiers sacked the QB seven times, a season-high given up by the CMU offensive line.

Linebacker Matt Mayberry finished with four sacks to go along with 13 tackles on the afternoon, tying the single-game IU sack record. Will Patterson was also very active, notching 10 tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss. Indiana allowed just 37 rushing yards on 31 attempts.

"We did a good job all day today with the run," Lynch said. "You want to make a team one-dimensional and we did that. We just couldn't stop the pass."

But Patterson wasn't so quick to hand out any praises to the defense.

"We had a lot of guys that played just like they wanted it today and then there were a select few that just didn't at times. That was the outcome of the game."

The Indiana offense did its part as well to stay in the game until late. The Hoosiers finished with 485 yards for the game despite playing with three different quarterbacks. Ben Chappell, Kellen Lewis and Mitchell Evans all saw time under center, with Chappell getting a majority of the snaps.

Lynch gave Lewis the start and both he and Chappell split snaps in the first half. But Lewis left the game in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury and did not return, leaving Chappell to finish out the game. He finished the game 8-for-16 and a touchdown, but also threw an interception early in the fourth quarter that led to a Chippewa score.

"I've just got to be ready," Chappell said of the multi-quarterback system. "I just didn't play well at the end and make plays. We moved the ball well on offense, we just didn't execute."

The running game was also open for the Hoosiers all day. Marcus Thigpen had a big day early, rushing six times for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Indiana ran for 272 yards on the day.

The loss drops Indiana to 3-6 on the season as the Hoosiers' bowl hopes seem further and further away. IU would have to win out their final three games to even become bowl eligible, then play the waiting game to see if they are invited anywhere to play.

"I'm not concerned with that right now," Lynch said. "I am concerned with getting back and getting ready for Wisconsin next week."

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