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Indiana University

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Indiana
vs. Northwestern
When: Noon Saturday
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: 1250 AM
IU notebook

IU tries to shake interception bug

– In Indiana’s four wins, quarterback Ben Chappell hasn’t thrown an interception.

In Indiana’s three losses, the senior quarterback has been picked off six times. Three came in Saturday’s 43-13 loss at Illinois, a game in which the Hoosiers had five turnovers.

Illinois returned two of Indiana’s four interceptions for touchdowns, including a 66-yard return off redshirt freshman quarterback Dusty Kiel for the final score.

“If you are a team that turns the ball over week after week, then you have to take a good look at what we’re doing wrong here. It doesn’t make me feel any better, but I saw where (New Orleans Saints quarterback) Drew Brees threw a bunch of (interceptions Sunday, he had four) and a couple of them went back for scores. That’s pretty uncharacteristic there, too,” IU coach Bill Lynch said.

“That doesn’t make me feel any better, but … those are correctable, too, and nobody knows that more than Ben.

“Dusty’s at the end, he’s a young kid who has played very little, so I’m not worried about that one, either. It would be different if we were a team that was consistently fumbling the football or those kinds of things.”

The Hoosiers have 12 turnovers, tied with Penn State and Michigan for the third most in the Big Ten, trailing Illinois (15) and Purdue (13).

Northwestern (5-2, 1-2), IU’s opponent Saturday, has forced 15 turnovers (10 interceptions, five fumbles), third best behind Ohio State and Michigan State.

Punt protection

The Hoosiers had two punts blocked against the Illini. The second resulted in a safety.

“We have the advantage of sitting down, studying it and watching every punt all season. The breakdowns we have are all correctable, and we spent a great deal of time (Monday morning) as a group that works with special teams, much more time than usual. I am confident we will get it straightened out,” Lynch said.

“It’s a combination of things. The first one was a poor snap that took (punter Chris Hagerup) out of the box. The second one was a breakdown on our protection in the certain punt rush they had. You are always looking to speed things up, but to point the finger at any one particular thing wouldn’t be right.”

Indiana ranks last in the Big Ten in net punting with a 33.3-yard average.

Dedmond ruled out

Tight end Max Dedmond will miss Saturday’s game with a knee injury. He has five catches for 37 yards and two touchdowns.

lpope@jg.net

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