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Falcons claim first victory against Big Ten opponent since 2007, defeats Indiana

Alyssa N. Benes Photo Editor
BG Football v. Indiana

As freshman receiver Roger Lewis lined up for the final offensive play against Indiana University his whole life flashed before his eyes.

“Everything, all my pain I’d been through I saw my whole life flash,” he said.

It’s safe to say this game will add to some of those memories. He caught a career-high 16 receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown, with one touchdown coming when the Falcons needed him the most.

“I just want to make plays for the team and be able to put the team on my back,” he said.

Make a play is exactly what he did. They practiced the fade to the corner all spring and summer and Saturday they perfected it as he caught the game-winning touchdown pass from quarterback James Knapke.

Lewis admitted he used to get yelled at during camp because he had the tendency to jump for the ball instead of just let it fall into his hands.

“Roger is a great receiver and he can make plays,” Knapke said. “I just had to give him a chance and he made a heck of a play.”

That play sealed a 45-42 win for the Falcons against the Hoosiers. It makes the Hoosiers the first Big Ten school the Falcons have defeated since Minnesota in 2007 and the first “Power Five” conference school since beating Pittsburgh in 2008.

“I’m really excited for the win for these seniors and the players on this team,” head coach Dino Babers said. “When those young men get the opportunity to do something like that in their lives when they are 18 or 22 years old, it’s going to stay with them until they are 60 or 70 and tell their grandkids about it. I mean, that’s the stuff that gets me going. I’m just really excited for those seniors and those players.”

While Lewis’ catch is what ultimately won the game it took “a full team and family” effort Babers said.

In the first half, as the offense struggled to put touchdowns on the board, the defense and special teams units kept them in the game.

Falcon kicker Tyler Tate made all four of his chances in the first half making kicks from: 28, 38, 45 and 47 yards. He accounted for all 12 halftime points by the Falcons.

“Tate was awesome,” Babers said. “When you have somebody like TT [Tate] that is going to just come in and nail three pointer after three pointer, it’s just special and it’s a great weapon.”

The defense was able to keep the Falcons in the game going into halftime. After giving up an early second quarter touchdown they did not allow any more points until midway until the third quarter.

“I told our defense that this was going to be a real old fashioned fight,” Babers said. “We wanted it to be close enough where they could feel us to see if they squeezed up a little bit, because we were going to stay relaxed and we were going to play.”

The defense played a pivotal role in the first half, but arguably their most important play came in the fourth quarter after the offense turned the ball over on downs.

The Hoosiers who held a 35-32 lead at the time worked the ball to the BG 22 yard line. They handed the ball off to running back Tevin Coleman three times prior. On the fourth attempt defensive lineman Charlie Walker hit Coleman and forced a fumble. The fumble was recovered by safety Ryland Ward.

That turnover led to a touchdown drive for the Falcons changing what could have been a scoring drive for the Hoosiers to a 39-35 BG lead.

“That drive just epitomizes the if you play hard enough good things will happen to you,” said defensive lineman Gus Schwieterman “Ryland could have taken a play off and not been there to jump on it, but because the effort was there and we kept fighting it happened to fall right in our hands.”

That gave the Falcons momentum as Knapke led two drives of 88 yards, including the final drive of the game that took one minute and 50 seconds.

“The cool thing about our offense is that when we go two minutes that’s not something new for us; that’s what we do,” Babers said.

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