Indiana wrapped up spring practice Saturday night with the Cream & Crimson game at Memorial Stadium. Before getting to the game itself, some of the more interesting news from Bloomington took place outside the lines.
The Hoosiers unveiled their new uniforms for the 2010 season. The new jerseys still will have "Hoosiers" on the front, but the stripes move from the pants to the shoulders of the jersey. The numbers will be in block narrow font, originating from Indiana's 1967 unis, worn when the team made its only Rose Bowl appearance.
The atmosphere at the spring game also appeared to be significantly upgraded, as new athletics director Fred Glass continues to enhance the experience of going to Memorial Stadium. The Indianapolis Star's Terry Hutchens has a good account of the event, which featured contests, prizes and music.
Back to the game, which the Crimson squad won 17-10 following Ben Chappell's 21-yard touchdown pass to Charles Love III. The Crimson defense stepped up with two interceptions, a forced fumble, six sacks and only 116 yards allowed. Neither team scored an offensive touchdown until Trea Burgess reached the end zone on a 6-yard run midway through the third quarter.
The defensive surge had to be encouraging for a team that has struggled to stop its opponents for more than a decade. Cornerback Lenyatta Kiles, a junior college transfer, recorded two interceptions, while safety John Connelly and safety Aaron Burks both recorded one pick. Defensive end Fred Jones had four tackles for loss and three sacks. Other defensive standouts included defensive end Adam Replogle (2 sacks), linebacker Jamie Lukaszewski (11 tackles, 1 TFL) and linebacker Chad Sherer (10 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack).
On the flip side, Indiana's run game continued to struggle. Starting running back Darius Willis sat out the game with an ankle injury, and the teams combined for minus-38 rushing yards in the opening half. There's little doubt that Indiana will have one of the Big Ten's top passing attacks in 2010, led by quarterback Ben Chappell and wide receiver Tandon Doss, but the Hoosiers need more balance in their offense.
The game's first touchdown came on special teams, as redshirt freshman Jamonne Chester picked up a dropped snap on a punt and raced 38 yards to the end zone.
Freshman Antonio Banks provided the only spark in the run game with a 30-yard burst. Banks, an early enrollee who had an impressive spring, finished with 49 rushing yards on 11 carries.
Several players left the game with injuries, including right tackle James Brewer, wide receiver Duwyce Wilson and safety/return man Jerimy Finch.
The competition at kicker should be interesting to watch this fall. Returning starter Nick Freeland went 1-for-2 on attempts Saturday, connecting from 45 yards out but missing a 32-yarder. Mitch Ewald converted his only attempt, from 44 yards out.