Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Midseason review: Indiana
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Record: 4-3 (1-2 Big Ten)
As a near consensus last-place pick before the season, Indiana has exceeded expectations in the first half. The Hoosiers already eclipsed last year's wins total (3) and nearly added a signature win at Michigan before falling in the closing minutes. After injuries totally decimated the roster last fall, Indiana has had better luck on the health front and seen playmakers emerge on both sides of the ball. Junior Ben Chappell has proved to be the answer at quarterback, and sophomores Tandon Doss and Damarlo Belcher form one of the Big Ten's top young wide receiver tandems. Seniors like Jammie Kirlew and Matt Mayberry are stepping up for a defense that has forced 15 turnovers. The Hoosiers still have some work left to reach a bowl game, but head coach Bill Lynch appears to have things headed in the right direction again.
Offensive MVP, WR Tandon Doss: Doss is an emerging star for the Hoosiers, who have relied heavily on their passing attack in the first half. The sophomore ranks third in the Big Ten in both receptions (6.9 receptions per game) and receiving yards (96.6 yards per game) and second in all-purpose yards (134.7 ypg). Honorable mentions go to Chappell, Belcher and do-it-all junior Mitchell Evans.
Defensive MVP, DE Jammie Kirlew -- Kirlew is no one-year wonder, and he's putting up All-Big Ten numbers for the second consecutive season. The senior leads Indiana and ranks third in the Big Ten in both sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (12.5) and leads the league with five forced fumbles. Kirlew also has two fumble recoveries. Honorable mentions go to Mayberry, safety Austin Thomas and defensive end Greg Middleton.