2:00 PM ET, October 30, 2004
Memorial Stadium, BLOOMINGTON, IN
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Minnesota thought it could run over Indiana. The Hoosiers wouldn't allow it.
Matt LoVecchio threw two touchdowns on a gusty day, BenJarvus Green-Ellis came off the bench to run for 110 yards and a touchdown and Indiana scored 23 straight points to snap a five-game losing streak with a 30-21 upset of the Golden Gophers on Saturday.
The victory marked the first time since 1987 that Indiana (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) has beaten two top 25 teams in the same season. The Hoosiers hadn't won a game since beating then-No. 24 Oregon on Sept. 11.
"The only reward in this game is winning," Hoosiers coach Gerry DiNardo said. "It's no fun to practice, it's no fun to play and lose."
For the Golden Gophers (6-3, 3-3) it was another miserable day in Bloomington, where they have now lost seven straight dating to October 1985.
On paper, Minnesota (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 24 AP) had a glaring advantage. Its rushing offense was ranked third in the nation with an average 278 yards per game while Indiana's defense was the second worst in the Big Ten.
But Indiana limited Minnesota to 169 yards rushing, LoVecchio played mistake-free ball and the Hoosiers (3-5, 1-4) ran for 238 yards. The combination led to Minnesota's third loss in four games and likely eliminated the Gophers' longshot bid at a New Year's Day bowl game.
"You have to credit their defensive players," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said. "They were in position and they made tackles."
Nothing went according to plan for Minnesota.
Running backs Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney struggled to break free. Quarterback Bryan Cupito was dismal in the wind and the Gophers defense seemed confused at times, even trying to call timeouts on back-to-back plays in the third quarter.
Indiana, meanwhile, was efficient.
LoVecchio completed 13-of-26 passes for 161 yards, while Green-Ellis, who was benched this week, produced his second 100-yard game of the season.
The surprise was Indiana's defense, which held up against Minnesota's ground game and scored its third touchdown of the year on Will Lumpkin's game-turning 42-yard interception return early in the second quarter.
"It was like slow motion," Lumpkin said. "I stood there, saw the ball coming, it hit me in the hands and all I could do was catch it and run it in for a touchdown."
Indiana took the cue.
On the Hoosiers' next possession, David Lewis reached over a Minnesota defender and made a spectacular one-handed grab for a 35-yard gain on third-and-10. Three plays later, LoVecchio hit Courtney Roby for a 13-yard touchdown to make it 14-12.
LoVecchio got the ball back with 1:44 left in the half and ran the two-minute drill perfectly. Five plays later, he found Chris Rudanovic for a 6-yard score before hooking up with Lewis on the two-point conversion to give Indiana a 20-14 lead.
"I think the coaching staff did a great job mixing up formations, keeping the defense off balance," LoVecchio said.
The Hoosiers defense controlled the second half.
Maroney finished with 16 carries for 89 yards and one touchdown and joined Darrell Thompson as the only runners in Minnesota history to top 1,000 yards in their first two seasons. Maroney now has 1,030 yards this year.
Barber managed 65 yards on 20 carries and Cupito completed just 11-of-30 passes for 182 yards with two touchdowns and the one interception.
"I've always said you get what you deserve," Mason said.
After Bryan Robertson made a 23-yard field goal to open the second half, Minnesota closed to 23-21 when Cupito hooked up with Matt Spaeth on a 6-yard TD pass, Spaeth's second touchdown catch of the game.
Twice, Minnesota had chances to take the lead. But Jared Ellerson dropped what would have been a 42-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter and on the same drive had what would have been a 32-yard TD pass broken up by freshman Leslie Majors on fourth-and-9.
Indiana sealed the game by using Minnesota's game plan. Green-Ellis found a big hole in the middle, cut outside and sprinted down the sideline for a 27-yard touchdown with 13:16 left.
"We went into the game saying we can't give up the big play in their run game or let them throw it over our head," DiNardo said. "To me the story of the game was that we played four quarters of football against a good football team."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-16||6-16|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||1-1|
|TD||7:19||LAURENCE MARONEY 4 YD RUN (RHYS LLOYD KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 60 yards.
|TD||2:09||MATT SPAETH 1 YD PASS FROM BRYAN CUPITO (RHYS LLOYD KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||14:47||WILL LUMPKIN 42 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (FAILED 2PT RUSH)||14||6|
|TD||8:43||COURTNEY ROBY 13 YD PASS FROM MATT LOVECCHIO (FAILED 2PT RUSH)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 67 yards.
|TD||0:35||CHRIS RUDANOVIC 6 YD PASS FROM MATT LOVECCHIO (DAVID LEWIS 2PT PASS FROM MATT LOVECCHIO)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 52 yards.
|FG||10:22||BRYAN ROBERTSON 23 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 64 yards.
|TD||8:35||MATT SPAETH 3 YD PASS FROM BRYAN CUPITO (RHYS LLOYD KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||13:16||BENJARVUS GREEN-ELLIS 27 YD RUN (BRYAN ROBERTSON KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 68 yards.