TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State’s football team had its last practice of the 2013 season Thursday and it had a jovial climax.
Coach Mike Sanford gathered ISU’s 14 seniors in the west end zone and had the team surround them in a 10-yard arc with a tackling dummy near the 10-yard line.
Each senior told his teammates what his experience at ISU has meant to him and what he hopes today’s Senior Day game against Southern Illinois will be the culmination of. The senior then sprints the 10 yards to hit the tackle dummy as his younger teammates cheered him on.
“It’s a thing I’ve been around before that’s a nice tradition we want to start. We call it Senior Tackle. They talk about their experience as a Sycamore football player and what advice they want to give the players. They make their last tackle in front of their teammates,” ISU coach Mike Sanford said.
It added a bit of cheer to a Sycamore team that badly needs it. So much so, that seniors Tyler Stafford and Russell Jones were joyfully carried off the field by their defensive line teammates.
The fun and emotional climax still couldn’t mask the problems the Sycamores have had this season. Several seniors, including Larry King, Calvin Burnett, Tyler Boyd and Taje High — major contributors all — were in street clothes. They represented a few of the many Sycamores who have succumbed to the massive injury toll ISU has endured this season.
The ceremony itself was carried out in a steady drizzle, it seemed that even Mother Nature couldn’t cut the 1-10 Sycamores a break, but she knew all too well what tableau to provide.
For the injury-ravaged Sycamores, Saturday’s game comes to down to survival. Hyperbolic though that might seem, the sheer amount of players out have jeopardized units — running backs, quarterbacks and secondary in particular — to the point where there aren’t enough healthy players to properly call them “units”.
Running back Buck Logan and Austen Wozniak are the only healthy running backs. Quarterback Robert Tonyan is the only healthy quarterback, though Sanford said both Trent Lancaster and Mike Perish are game-time decisions. The secondary added cornerback Alex Stowers, but subtracted safety Donovan Layne, who suffered an ankle injury.
“We’ve had the attitude of no excuses and the next man up. I’m going to continue with that, but the issue has been whether we have a next man up. We’re very thin, but we’re going to go out and fight,” Sanford said.
What the Sycamores have going for them is a modest bit of momentum coming off their 21-14 loss to Western Illinois last Saturday. Pride might be the only thing at stake by now for ISU, but pride matters.
“It’s very important. It’s the last game I’ll ever play. We’ll give everything we have. We want to finish with a bang and finish with a win,” ISU senior wide receiver Tanner Riley said. “We had a lot of chemistry in that second half last week and it’s important to build off that.”
If Lancaster, who completed 8 of 15 passes for 93 yards last week against Western Illinois, can’t go, and if Tonyan can’t improve his performance, ISU’s offense is in a bind given its injury woes. Sanford promised that he has contingencies if further Sycamores get hurt, but declined to say what those were.
Southern Illinois comes into the game with a chance at a Football Championship Subdivision playoff bid in the expanded 24-team field. The Salukis (6-5, 4-3) have defeated South Dakota State, Northern Iowa and lost in overtime to No. 2 Eastern Illinois.
SIU has had injury problems of its own. It lost starting quarterback Kory Faulkner in October and 48-catch tight end MyCole Pruitt on Nov. 12, but the Salukis have maintained a balanced offense.
Defensively, SIU stops the run effectively and is vulnerable against the pass, though ISU has not tested pass defenses of late due to its own problems throwing the ball.
Sanford said he won’t overplay the idea that ISU can play spoiler to SIU. The seniors just want to end the season on a high note.
“It’s been a tough season. We came in with high expectations. Even though things haven’t gone as planned, these seniors have fought their butts off. We’ve never lost faith in developing as a team or getting better. We’re excited to play on Saturday,” Riley said.
One senior of note will not be honored today — running back Shakir Bell.
The team has not had Bell — who is second on ISU’s all-time rushing list with 4,214 yards and is ISU’s all-time leader in yards per carry at 6.2 — in its presence since Oct. 22. That was when the team maintained he was out for the season due to injury. Bell said at the time he was dismissed from the team.
Final game today for 14 seniors
TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana State’s football team had its last practice of the 2013 season Thursday and it had a jovial climax.
- Indiana State University
Ramblin’ On: Sycamores use defensive stops to reach Missouri Valley semifinals
It sounds counter-intuitive, but to go forward in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament you must first get stops. In Friday’s MVC Tournament quarterfinal against Loyola, ISU followed that bit of zen to a tee. The Sycamores never let the Ramblers get comfortable offensively and put a hammer-lock on Loyola standout Milton Doyle. ISU rode its defense to an easy 75-62 victory at Scottrade Center.
ISU baseball looking to carry success home
Indiana State had pitching questions coming into the season, having lost its entire starting staff from a year ago.
So far anyway, those questions have been answered. The Sycamores are 9-1 going into their home opener today against Western Illinois.
Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win
A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Sycamores rejuvenated heading into MVC Tournament quarterfinals
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum is sick-and-tired of being sick and tired.
He’s tired of hearing about the team’s three-game losing streak. He’s tired of the Sycamores playing below par. He’s tired of the team not fulfilling its potential.
He plans to do something about it this weekend. Second-seeded ISU begins its Missouri Valley Conference Tournament trek at 7:05 p.m. tonight against either No. 10 Loyola.
ISU women seek top MVC seed
Defense and rebounding are the staples of Teri Moren’s fourth Indiana State team, a squad that hits the road trying to defend and rebound its way to a regular-season conference title. The Sycamores women’s basketball can clinch the No. 1 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins tonight against Drake and Saturday against Northern Iowa.
ISU reserve Smith earns two MVC honors
Indiana State sophomore Khristian Smith has been named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Bench and Most Improved Teams, according to an announcement by the league office Wednesday.
Two Sycamores with Scott during Saturday incident
A Vigo County’s Sheriff’s case report of Brenton Scott’s arrest last Saturday indicated that Scott, an Indiana State basketball player, tried to pass himself off as his twin brother and that two of his teammates were with him at the time of the incident.
Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors
Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.
Odum, Smith, Arop recognized by MVC
Indiana State point guard Jake Odum doesn’t play baseball, but he did go 4-for-4 in his Sycamore career.
His 4-for-4 performance came in regards to his All-Missouri Valley Conference selections. Odum has been named to the all-MVC team in each of his four seasons, and for the second time in a year, Odum was named to the MVC’s first team.
Teammate Khristian Smith also received a major individual honor. Smith, a sophomore, earned the MVC’s Sixth Man Award. Senior Manny Arop also was named as an All-MVC honorable-mention selection.
ISU’s Odum earns first-team All-MVC honors
ST. LOUIS —Indiana State guard Jake Odum earned a spot on the 2014 All-Missouri Valley Conference first team, which was announced today as the Sycamores prepare for this week’s MVC men’s basketball tournament.
Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday
Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.
ISU's Scott booked for OWI, possession
Indiana State men's basketball player Brenton Scott was booked into the Vigo County Jail on Saturday for operating while intoxicated, possession of marijuana/hash, possession of paraphenalia and false reporting/informing.
Senior Day Success
Indiana State shot just 35 percent from the field Sunday in Hulman Center compared with 46 percent for the visiting Bradley women, but that was almost a good thing.
ISU teams sweep titles in indoor track
Indiana State’s track teams swept the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships on Sunday at Northern Iowa, the men leading all the way and the women surviving a three-way battle.
Odum can't get roll on game-winning attempt on Senior Day
The storybook was ready to be opened at Hulman Center on Saturday.
Down two with 4.5 seconds to go, Indiana State rebounded a free throw miss by Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle. ISU senior point guard Odum timed his dash perfectly up the floor. He released his shot from just behind the 3-point line at just the right second. The shot was true and online.
TODD GOLDEN: Lansing's belief in his team has not wavered
In the wake of Indiana State’s 71-69 loss to Northern Iowa on Saturday, and the three-game losing streak that comes with it, ISU coach Greg Lansing wanted to get one point across crystal clear in his postgame press conference.
Red-hot ISU baseball wins eighth straight game
Indiana State broke away from a tight ballgame with four runs in the fifth inning and went on to post their eighth-straight victory of the 2014 campaign with a 10-3 triumph over New Orleans Saturday.
David Stagg (3-0) was the winning pitcher for the Sycamores as he went seven innings. He allowed two runs, scattered nine hits and struck out eight.
ISU men’s track leading in MVC indoor championships
Indiana State’s men’s track and field team took the lead Saturday after the first day of the Missouri Valley Conference indoor championships Saturday at Northern Iowa, while the Sycamore women were second.
Seeking their second straight championship, the Sycamore men have 64 points to 37 for Illinois State. Indiana State’s women are just two points behind Southern Illinois, 50-48.
Rolling along: Third straight victory helps Sycamores tie for second in MVC
Aside from Teri Moren sticking with her pink Chuck Taylor shoes on the sideline for superstitious reasons, Indiana State’s three-game winning streak can be explained by strong play in nearly every aspect of the game.
Sycamores stay positive in face of adversity
After Indiana State’s 77-59 loss at Illinois State on Wednesday, ISU players had an idea of how the tone of Thursday and Friday’s practices would be prior to today’s regular-season finale against Northern Iowa.
Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6
Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.
Odum's final chapter is here; how will he author the ending?
If you compare a college basketball career to a book, Indiana State point guard Jake Odum has been a page-turner from day one.
Odum has dazzled ISU fans from the time he became a starter during the first weekend of his first season in 2010. The Sycamores have not had a losing season during the Odum era, a run of success unprecedented in ISU’s Division I history.
VIDEO: Indiana State women looking to add to winning streak at home
Indiana State looks to put a three-game winning streak together tonight against Loyola, who topped the Sycamores behind 30 points by senior forward Troy Hambric for one of the Ramblers’ nine wins this season.
The Sycamores’ women’s basketball team stifled Missouri State last Friday and knocked off first-place Wichita State on Sunday for a pair of road wins last weekend. They'll look to build upon that momentum tonight at home.
Mayor Bennett takes students’ questions
Mayor Duke Bennett fielded some tough, thoughtful questions on topics that included potholes, neighborhood safety, abandoned homes and railroads Thursday.
Metro roundup: ISU track ready for MVC indoors
The Indiana State track and field teams will head to Cedar Falls, Iowa, this weekend for the Missouri Valley Conference indoor championships.
The men are defending champions and the women were runners-up a year ago.
Redbirds dominate Sycamores 77-59
Indiana State’s men’s basketball team is running out of answers for its recent woes ... and it’s running out of time to fix them. The slumping Sycamores added defensive problems to their offensive slump on Wednesday at Illinois State. The Redbirds made the Sycamores pay dearly for their poor all-around effort out of the gate as the Sycamores fell 77-59.
Metro roundup: Hutson awarded USA Track and Field grant
Terre Haute native and 2016 Olympic hopeful Kylie Hutson was awarded a $7,000 grant from the USA Track and Field Foundation.
Moren praises Jasmine Grier for helping ISU women pull out wins
Indiana State coach Teri Moren has preached to her women’s basketball team that consistent quality results at the defensive end will translate to the offensive end.
For junior Jasmine Grier and the Sycamores, their coach’s message was infallible last weekend.
Sycamores basketball set for Illinois State
It’s no secret that Indiana State’s basketball team hasn’t shot the ball lately. It’s also no secret that tonight’s opponent — Illinois State — uses a 2-3 zone as its base defense and 2-3s have been to the Sycamores as silver bullets are to werewolves.
Even though the Sycamores have struggled to get shots to fall, they’ve also kept teams from making theirs too. Defense has long been the characteristic coach Greg Lansing has wanted his Sycamores to define themselves by, and lately, they’ve been living up to it.
Metro: MVC honors Lockwood, Abdul-Qaadir; national award for A.J.
Indiana State sophomore Taylor Lockwood was named Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday after pitching one of two ISU softball shutouts Sunday and earning Most Valuable Player honors at Tennessee State’s Tiger Classic.
- More Indiana State University Headlines
- Ramblin’ On: Sycamores use defensive stops to reach Missouri Valley semifinals