Hardy reels in 3 TDs as Indiana shocks No. 15 Iowa

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Indiana waited nearly two decades to

party like this. So why worry about another 20 seconds?

Hoosier Daddy?

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border=0 alt="James Hardy">

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James Hardy had a freshman year to remember in 2005. Until Saturday, he was having a sophomore season to forget. The second-year, 6-foot-7 wideout, who was suspended for two games earlier in the year, was on the receiving end of three Kellen Lewis touchdown passes, the last of which provided the final margin in Indiana's 31-28 upset of No. 15 Iowa.

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Players stormed the field and fireworks went off before the

Hoosiers' biggest upset in almost 20 years was official, but there

was nothing premature about Saturday's stunning 31-28 upset over

No. 15 Iowa.

As officials spotted the ball for the final time, the scoreboard

clock was at 22 seconds and with the Hawkeyes out of timeouts, all

that remained was a celebration of the Hoosiers' biggest win since

beating No. 9 Ohio State 31-10 on Oct. 10, 1987.

"It's a little crazy. I pretty much lost my voice on the field

celebrating," quarterback Kellen Lewis said leading his second

straight fourth-quarter comeback. "It's just fun right now."

The Hoosiers (4-3, 2-1) included the fans, too.

After shaking hands with Iowa's players, players sprinted toward

the student section. Some jumped into the crowd, hugging classmates

as they sang the school fight song.

But this was no mere victory for Indiana (4-3, 2-1); it was a

milestone in a season that has included a loss to a Division I-AA

school, coach Terry Hoeppner's second brain surgery in less than

nine months and a two-game suspension of their top player, James


On Saturday, those were distant memories.

Hardy delivered the big game Indiana needed, becoming the first

Hoosier to catch three TD passes in a game in nearly a

quarter-century. He had eight catches for 104 yards, easily his

best performance of the season.

Lewis, too, was productive before getting hoarse. After beating

Illinois with a last-minute drive a week ago, he again rallied

Indiana with a 20-yard TD pass to Hardy with 9:51 left for the

winning score and also beat the clock by marching Indiana 50 yards

in 51 seconds for a field goal just before halftime. He finished

19-of-25 for 255 yards.

The Hoosiers also overcame the loss of their top running back

and the nation's top kick returner, Marcus Thigpen, for most of the

second half with what appeared to be a right leg injury. His

replacement, Demetrius McCray, carried 13 times for 84 yards.

It was the kind of day that impressed Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.

"They've done a great job getting on their feet and doing what

they have to do," Ferentz said. "They have to feel great what

they've done the last couple weeks."

The loss likely ended any outside chance Iowa (5-2, 2-2) had of

contending for a Big Ten title.

Drew Tate was 23-of-40 for 292 yards with one touchdown and one

interception and Damian Sims, filling in for the injured Albert

Young, carried 22 times for 94 yards and two TDs.

Iowa even had 467 yards in offense, but it wasn't enough to

extend their three-game winning streak in the series.

The Hoosiers contended with their own problems.

Iowa used first-half fumbles by Josiah Sears and Lewis to score

14 points and eventually build a 21-7 lead.

Just as it did against Illinois last week, Indiana steadied


"You can never take the field not prepared to give your best,"

Ferentz said. "If you do, you leave the door open against a team

that's hustling, that's very spirited and very well-coached and

that's what Indiana is."

Lewis' 2-yard run with 3:25 left in the half got the comeback

started. Then Austin Starr hit a career-long 46-yard field goal

into a brisk, swirling wind as the half ended to make it 21-17.

"The field goal right before the half turned out to be pretty

big," Hoeppner said.

Indiana took its first lead on Hardy's diving 23-yard TD catch

late in the third quarter, but Tate responded with a methodical

77-yard drive that ended with Sims' 1-yard run to give Iowa a 28-24

lead early in the fourth quarter.

But the Lewis-to-Hardy connection had one more answer. On

third-and-6 from the Iowa 20, Hardy broke open in the end zone and

Lewis threw a perfect pass to give Indiana a 31-28 lead. Hardy is

the first Indiana player with three TD receptions in one game since

Duane Gunn on Oct. 8, 1983, against Minnesota.

"He's got great hands and you can't coach 6-6, 6-7 height,"

Lewis said. "So any time they were blitzing and they were going to

leave a defensive back on an island, we said we'll take our shot

with James Hardy."

Tate had one more chance, but his final pass was deflected by

Andy Brodell and Hoosiers safety Will Meyers made a diving,

one-handed interception to seal the win.

After Ferentz challenged the call and it was upheld, the party

was on.

"I had an interesting call on the field -- Ben Roethlisberger

called my son's phone," said Hoeppner, who coached the Steelers

quarterback at Miami of Ohio. "He just wanted to call and

congratulate me. Normally, I wouldn't take a phone call at that

point, but I'd take that phone call."