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Sycamores fail 3 times late, lose to Indiana 24-17

Associated Press Published: September 2, 2012
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana State running back Shakir Bell showed Indiana it made a mistake by not recruiting him.

Sycamores quarterback Mike Perish proved he could contend with a Big Ten defense.

And with a little more success late, Indiana State just might have pulled the big upset it had been dreaming about.

Bell ran for 192 yards and a score, and Perish threw for 211 yards and another score in his starting debut, but Indiana State failed to score on its final three drives — all into Indiana territory — and wound up falling 24-17 to their in-state rival.

"Being an Indiana guy, this does hurt me. It hurts me dearly," Bell said. "It's a tough loss and a lot of my guys in there are hurting. We've just got to learn from it. We've got to execute better.'"

Bell, last year's co-runner up for the Walter Payton Award, the Football Championship Subdivision's version of the Heisman Trophy, was spectacular.

He averaged 8.0 yards on 24 carries and on his sixth run of the night found a hole in the middle of the line, sprinted through it untouched and ran 54 yards for the first score of the game.

He was still running hard in the fourth quarter and looked like he might score after the Hoosiers turned the ball over on downs at the Sycamores 45. But after 21 yards, Bell was shoved out of bounds — a defensive play that prevented Indiana State from having a chance to win its first game over a Big Ten foe.

"I thought Shakir played with heart, ran well, picked up blitzes and just played an all-around game and proved that he can play on any stage," coach Trent Miles said. "He's a real back. I mean he's the real deal. He doesn't amaze me anymore. I just kind of expect it."

The difference Saturday was Tre Roberson and a better Indiana defense.

Roberson threw for a career-high 280 yards and one touchdown, ran for another and Indiana's defense made three stops — at the Hoosiers 35, 42 and 36 — in the fourth quarter.

The victory ended Indiana's nine-game losing streak.

"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."

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