TERRE HAUTE —
If ever there was a time to ignore the scoreboard, that time came Saturday during the Indiana State Blue-White football scrimmage at Memorial Stadium.
Technically, the Blue and White teams played to a 20-20 tie with an overtime element added to the end of the scrimmage. The Blue team — with the second-string offense and first-team defense — won regulation 20-13.
But make no mistake, the colors on the scoreboard obscured the fact that the ISU defense left the ISU starting offense black-and-blue for most of the scrimmage.
Though the White team scored 20 points, its offense only scored six of those points. Fourteen of the points were scored via a blocked field goal attempt and an interception return.
Due to a statistical malfunction, accurate team stats were not available after the game. White quarterback Ronnie Fouch put up gaudy numbers, as he completed 26 of 54 passes for 341 passing yards. Tight end Alex Jones caught seven of Fouch’s passes for 122 yards.
But ISU’s first-team offense picked up most of its yardage between the two 20s, and in fits and starts at that. First down numbers weren’t available for each team, but combined numbers were.
The ISU offenses combined to convert 9 of 29 on third down.
“The defense had a great day. They game-planned for us. They made some nice plays on the ball. We could have executed better, especially in key situations. Whenever we need to keep momentum going, we need to execute and keep the offense going. I don’t think we did a good job of that today,” Fouch said.
The most telling stats defensively and offensively were the sack numbers. Fouch was sacked nine times by the Blue defense — representing the starters. Backup quarterback Coy Glass was sacked five times by the second-team defense. Both quarterbacks combined to throw five interceptions, two were picked off by Jonny Towalid.
“The offense has to do better in pass protection. Our strength of our football team is Ronnie Fouch, our tight ends and wide receivers. We want to spread it out and use the pass to set the run up,” ISU coach Trent Miles said. “We were a little backwards on that today. Our protection wasn’t there, but our defense got me excited.”
Ben Obaseki had three of the Fouch sacks. Jacolby Washington, Aaron Archie, Ryan Roberts and Lawrence Young also had sacks among those who normally start.
“We were able to get some pressure off the ends. I was frustrated in the first half because I’m still trying to get used to the double-teams I’m going to see this year. The coaches just tell me to be relentless and never stop moving when you’re double-teamed,” said Obaeski, who said the guard came with the tackle or the running back came with the tackle on nearly every play.
ISU’s starting running backs were also held in check. Shakir Bell only had five carries, rushing for 28 yards. George Cheeseborough rushed for 33 yards on six carries as ISU was in passing mode for much of the scrimmage.
The defensive prowess represented a revival in their fortunes after they had struggled against the offense in a scrimmage on the previous Saturday.
“We just wanted to come out and fly around. We didn’t live up to the way we wanted to play in our last scrimmage, so we wanted to get with it. Our offense is very good, if you don’t bring it, it’s a long day,” ISU linebacker Ryan Roberts said.
Miles didn’t seem too concerned about the offense and its ability to sustain drives.
“It kind of flipped this week. Last week I thought the defense was shell-shocked and this week it was the other way around,” Miles said. “Sometimes we’re not worried in a scrimmage about looking great, there’s just some things we want to pound home and work on. All in all, we had no major injuries and we got in a lot of plays.”
A bright for the Sycamores was the performance of the Blue offense. Against ISU’s second-team defense, Glass was able to move the ball more consistently than the first-team did. Glass completed the only two offensive touchdowns of the day, finding Demory Lawshe for touchdown strikes of 38 and eight yards in the second quarter.
Glass was plagued by three interceptions, including one inside his own 15-yard line.
Glass was helped by the running of freshmen Richie Dyer and Joe McCormick. Dyer, rushed for 90 yards on 20 carries. McCormick added 50 yards on nine carries.
“I saw a lot of things the young ones were doing. We’re still a young football team. If anyone thinks we’ve arrived and we’re some juggernaut, we’re not. We’re still a work in progress — a 6-5 football team trying to get better,” Miles said.
Special teams-wise, Cory Little was 2-for-3 on his field goal attempts and was 4-for-5 on extra points, missing a conversion in the added overtime period. Both of Little’s field goals were from 38 yards out. Little also had a 41-yard attempt blocked, which was returned 61 yards by Brian Cleckley for a White score.
ISU has one more week of camp left before it begins another week of game-day preparation for the season opener at Penn State on Sept. 3. Fouch thinks Saturday’s scrimmage was a nice wake-up call for everyone.
“As hard as it was, I really wanted to be frustrated after this today. Looking ahead, it feels good that our guys aren’t going to get complacent and think they’re already ready,” Fouch said. “We’ll be shown the film and we’ll be coached up and everyone will realize we need to keep working and keep staying hungry.”
White 0 7 0 13 0 — 20
Blue 0 14 0 0 6 — 20
W — Brian Cleckley 65 blocked field goal return (Cory Little kick)
B — Demory Lawshe 38 pass from Coy Glass (Little kick)
B — Lawshe 8 pass from Glass (Little kick)
W — Little 38 FG.
W — Travis Starks 13 interception return (Little kick).
W — Little 38 FG.
B — Joe McCormick 5 pass from Glass (Little kick).
Combined individual statistics (team stats and team breakdown unavailable due to statistical malfunction)
Rushing — Richie Dyer 20-90, Joe McCormick 9-50, George Cheeseborough 6-33, Shakir Bell 5-28, Brock Lough 1-3, Luke Harris 1-(-3), Coy Glass 9-(-36), Ronnie Fouch 9-(-64).
Passing — Fouch 26-54-2, 341 yards, Glass 21-32-3, 265 yards, 2 TD.
Receiving — Demory Lawshe 8-97, Alex Jones 7-122, Justin Hilton 6-71, Ednut Egberongbe 5-57, Lough 4-37, Garrick Dikos 3-68, Theo Bradley 3-36, Donald Spencer 3-31, Chris Izbicki 2-30, McCormick 2-10, DeSea Prentic 1-18, Austen Wozniak 1-14, Michael Mardis 1-9.
Sacks — Ben Obaseki 3, Zakee Bashir 2, Marcus Lewis 1, Jacolby Washington 1, Aaron Archie 1, Ryan Roberts 1, Victor Vernon 1, Lawrence Young 1, Tyler Stafford 1, Kendall Walker 1, Gerric Ratliff 1.
Interceptions — Jonny Towalid 2-29, Alex Stowers 1-24, Travis Starks 1-13, Ian Allen 1-0.
Leading tacklers — Alex Sewall 10, Marcus Lewis 9, Garris McElroy 9, Alex Bettag 8, Jacolby Washington 8, Calvin Burnett 8, Aaron Archie 7, Brian Cleckley 6, Phil Walker 5, Donovan Layne 5, Zakee Bashir 5.