MVFC Previews: Indiana State

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The Sycamores will be led by former UNLV coach Mike Sanford, who takes over for Trent Miles who left to embark on the same position at Georgia State. Sanford is thought of as one of the nation’s top offensive coaches after spending last year at Utah State as the Assistant Head Coach under Gary Anderson. Sanford also has made stops at Long Beach State, Stanford, Utah and Louisville as offensive coordinator over the last twenty-five seasons.

Indiana State has not fared well against the Penguins over the years. The Sycamores have only defeated YSU 3 times out of 23 tries. In 2010, ISU snapped a 13-year losing streak to YSU. On November 17, the Penguins were tied at 6 midway through the third quarter. However, a pair of Kurt Hess touchdown passes to Andrew Williams and a Jamaine Cook 24-yard touchdown run proved to the difference in YSU’s 27-6 victory over Indiana State.

YSU vs. ISU: Last Five Meetings
Nov. 17, 2012 – Youngstown State, 27-6
Sept. 24, 2011 – Indiana State, 37-35
Nov. 13, 2010 – Indiana State, 30-24
Sept. 26, 2009 – Youngstown State, 28-0
Nov. 8, 2008 – Youngstown State, 35-21

Indiana State Sycamores’ Football Preview
by Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Mike Sanford, 1st Season at Indiana State
2012 Record: 7-4 (5-3) Missouri Valley Football Conference
2012 Post-Season Finish: Did Not Qualify
Returning Starters: Offense – 7, Defense – 5
Offense: Spread
Defense: 4-3

2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 23.1 (254)
Passing Yards: 149.1 (1640)
Rushing Yards: 158.8 (1747)
Points Allowed: 14.3 (157)
Passing Yards Allowed: 167.4 (1841)
Rushing Yards Allowed: 129.0 (1419)

Returning Leaders
Passing: Mike Perish – 1615 yards, 55.4 Comp. % (155-280), 10 TDs
Rushing: Shakir Bell – 269 att, 1475 yards, 11 TDs
Receiving: Demory Lawson – 31 rec, 393 yards, 3 TDs
Tackles: Calvin Burnett – 60
Sacks: Connor Underwood – 6.0
Interceptions: Calvin Burnett – 4

2013 Schedule
Aug. 29 – at Indiana
Sept. 7 – at Purdue
Sept. 14 – Quincy
Sept. 28 – at Tennessee Tech
Oct. 5 – Youngstown State
Oct. 12 – at South Dakota
Oct. 19 – at Illinois State
Oct. 26 – North Dakota State
Nov. 2 – at Missouri State
Nov. 9 – at South Dakota State
Nov. 16 – Western Illinois
Nov. 23 – Southern Illinois

Offensive Strength: Shakir Bell appears determined to have another strong season running the football for the Sycamores. Bell, in 2012, ran the ball 269 times for 1475 yards (5.5 average) and 11 six-point jaunts. Bell also caught 19 balls for 142 stripes and another score.

Offensive Weakness: The offensive front lost a bunch when they said good bye to four-year starter Evan Borchers and Casey Paswater. A year ago, the line punished their defensive counterparts to the tune of 158.8 rushing yards per contest while allowing 16 sacks.

Defensive Strength: If the defense can provide the same results as they did a year ago, the Sycamores should be fine. The defensive unit caused 19 turnovers (16 interceptions/3 fumbles), sacked the opposing quarterback 23 times and held their rushing attack to just 3.5 yards per carry.

Defensive Weakness: The defense was hit hard at each position by graduation and by injuries. Ben Obaseki finished 2012 with 43 tackles (5.5 for loss) and 3 quarterback takedowns from the front four. Linebacker Aaron Archie was the leading tackler (126) as he registered 49 solo stops and 10 for a loss. In the defensive backfield, Johnny Towalid led ISU with 5 picks. In early August, senior Larry King (57 tackles, 3 interceptions) was lost for the season due a knee injury which leaves the secondary even less experienced.

Storylines Facing the Sycamores
1. First Half Scoring. Last fall, Indiana State was very effective in the first half outscoring the opposition 135-56. Will Sanford’s offense open things up even more?

2. Fullback is Back. Senior Austen Wozniak returns after a solid 2012 season. Wozniak was one of the reasons why Shakir Bell had such a fantastic campaign. Austen may have only run the ball 12 times for 34 yards but he is a very productive blocker. He also snagged 9 passes out of the backfield.

3. Burnett’s Turn. Senior Calvin Burnette will attempt to get the secondary on the same page this fall. Last year, Burnette intercepted 4 errant passes and had 8 breakups while accumulating 60 tackles. Before entering school at Terre Haute in 2010, #5 was redshirted at Hofstra.

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