Indiana ends skid with 24-17 win over Indiana St.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson looked confident, poised and in total control Saturday night.
It was a refreshingly new look and a refreshingly different result.
The new-and-improved Roberson threw for a career-high 280 yards and one touchdown, ran for another and the Indiana defense came up with big stops on each of Indiana State's final three series to preserve a 24-17 victory in Saturday night's season-opener.
"I thought he (Roberson) did real well. I think he's going to have a real good year, and I think he's a lot better than a lot of people think he is," coach Kevin Wilson said of Roberson. "We didn't want to run him a bunch, we didn't try to. We tried to keep him in the pocket, we worked on that. I think you saw he can throw on target and he's getting better, and I think he'll do nothing but get better."
Indiana fans seemed more relieved than celebratory after the Hoosiers ended a nine-game losing streak — winning for the first time since beating South Carolina State 38-21 on Sept. 17, 2011.
Indiana's coaches spent the offseason grooming Roberson to become a more traditional quarterback rather than a run-first guy and focused the defensive attention on getting stops when they needed them most.
Indiana's offensive coaches spent months revamping Roberson's throwing motion, trying to get him to hold the ball higher with the hope of improving his accuracy and efficiency.
The result: Roberson finished 26 of 36, both career-highs, and one TD pass. He also ran seven times for 19 yards and another score, enough to help the Hoosiers maintain control for most of the night.
"Coming in this year, the game was slower," Roberson said. "In the offseason knowing what to work on, it just it made me more confident, it made me more comfortable."
The defense was better, too.
Clinging to a 24-17 lead after three quarters, Indiana managed to stop the Sycamores at the Hoosiers 35, 42 and 36 on its final three series.
Nobody expected it to be easy against a Football Championship Subdivision school out to prove it could play with college football's big boys.
Indiana State did accomplish that much.
Shakir Bell, the co-runner-up for last season's Walter Payton Award, the FCS version of the Heisman Trophy, ran for 103 yards in the first quarter and finished with 24 carries for 194 yards and one long score.
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