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NCAAF: Indiana’s big-play defense overwhelms visiting Vandals

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Stephen Carr rushed for 118 yards and 2 TDs and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. added two TD passes and one TD rushing, lifting Indiana to a 56-14 win over Idaho on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

The Hoosiers (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten) bounced back from a season-opening loss at Iowa by scoring six touchdowns on offense and two more on special teams. Carr, a transfer from USC, rushed for more than 100 yards for just the second time in his career and first time with the Hoosiers.

Penix completed 11 of 16 passes for just 68 yards before being pulled late in the third quarter with the Hoosiers up by 28 points. Backup quarterback Jack Tuttle entered in relief of Penix and threw a 76-yard TD pass to tight end A.J. Barner in the fourth quarter.

Indiana generated sustained drives on offense and made big plays on defense and special teams to build a 35-7 halftime lead. The Hoosiers scored their first TD of the game on an 18-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard TD run from Carr.

Then, Indiana preseason All-American linebacker Micah McFadden recorded a strip sack that defensive tackle Weston Kramer recovered at Idaho’s 13-yard line. Two plays later, Penix connected with receiver Javon Swinton on a 9-yard TD pass, putting the Hoosiers up 14-0.

Indiana extended its lead to 21-0 before the end of the first quarter on a blocked punt by Noah Pierre that Swinton returned for a TD. It was Indiana’s first blocked punt for a TD since Sept. 27, 2003 against Michigan.

Penix connected on a 9-yard TD pass with receiver Ty Fryfogle to put Indiana up 28-0 with 3:39 left in the second quarter. Then, Indiana receiver D.J. Matthews recorded the second special teams TD of the game, returning a punt 81 yards for a TD to extend Indiana’s lead to 35-0 with 1:49 left in the half.

It marked the first time since Sept, 20, 1969 against Kentucky that Indiana scored two special teams touchdowns in a game.

Idaho (1-1) cut Indiana’s lead to 35-7 lead with a drive at the end of the first half, capped by a 16-yard TD pass from quarterback Mike Beaudry to receiver Hayden Hatten.

Indiana receiver Jacolby Hewitt returned the second half kickoff 72 yards down to the Idaho 28-yard line. Carr then rushed for 26 yards down to the Idaho two, setting up a 1-yard TD run by Penix that put Indiana up 42-7.

Beaudry connected with Hatten again on a 26-yard TD pass in the third quarter, cutting Indiana’s lead to 42-14. Hatten finished with 10 catches for 94 yards and 2 TDs

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