8/30/2013 4:30:00 AM IU flirts with school scoring record, hammers Sycamores; Down 12 in first half, Ball State rallies past Illinois State; Colts drop preseason finale to Bengals; Palmer impresses, but Bears lose preseason finale to Browns
Indiana 73, Indiana State 35
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Indiana's fans wanted more than a victory Thursday night. They wanted to see history.
After watching the Hoosiers break the Memorial Stadium scoring record, set a school mark for first-half points and play well enough to give the ticket-holders a complimentary hot dog, the smattering of remaining fans booed when the Hoosiers decided to kneel down four straight times inside the Indiana State 20. They weren't ready to settle for some plain, old 73-35 victory over Indiana State. They wanted the Hoosiers to break the school's all-time scoring record of 76.
The players wanted it, too.
"I was mad about that," receiver Kofi Hughes said. "But you know, the coaches got their respect."
For the Hoosiers (1-0) it was a dramatic turnabout from last season when they struggled to hold off the Sycamores 24-17. Back then, Indiana couldn't quite get a handle on finishing drives, stopping Shakir Bell or finishing off a Football Championship Subdivision foe.
They had no trouble doing any of that Thursday.
Tre Roberson started the game after coach Kevin Wilson was outvoted by his assistants, and threw for two touchdowns in the first quarter before being replaced by Nate Sudfeld, who finished 12 of 17 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns.
The Hoosiers scored six touchdowns in the first half, consuming just 3 minutes, 57 seconds off the clock and finished with 45 points - the highest first-half total since Indiana started keeping records in 1949.
Shane Wynn scored on a 43-yard reception in the first half and a 3-yard catch in the second, his only two catches of the night, and also scored on a 58-yard punt return, Indiana's first since Tracy Porter in 2006. Ted Bolser extended his school record for TD receptions by a tight end with scoring catches of 12 and 9 yards.
And Tevin Coleman broke free for a 34-yard TD run on fourth-and-1, and finished with 14 carries, 169 yards and two scores.
Indiana's usually maligned defense played better, too.
After allowing Indiana State to tie the score at 7 in the first quarter, the Hoosiers stopped the Sycamores nine straight times - enough to give ticket-holders at the game a discount at a local watering hole. Half of the 28 points came on a fumble return and an interception return when the defense wasn't even on the field.
But for Wilson, that wasn't good enough.
"There's a lot of positives, but there's a boatload of negatives," he said. "We've got some stats that are cool, but when we see the tape..."
Wilson is sure to find some miscues.
It was a strange game, too.
Between the 108 points, the highest combined point total in this five-game series or the 298-game history of Memorial Stadium, there were plenty of twists and turns.
Two players were ejected.
Hoosiers offensive lineman Jake Reed was tossed out in the first half after officials spotted him throwing a punch. Indiana State's Carlos Aviles was thrown out in the third quarter after hitting Wynn directly in the head, the result of the NCAA's new "targeting" rule. Wynn stayed on the ground briefly but managed to leave the field without help.
Bell departed with 1:20 left in the first half after landing hard on his right shoulder at the end of a 45-yard run. He was diagnosed with a separated shoulder at halftime and spent the second half dressed in street clothes. He finished with 18 carries for 113 yards but is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks.
"The good news is that they did an X-ray and there is nothing broken," coach Mike Sanford said after making his Indiana State debut. "We're going to wait and see the severity of it as we go along."
And just when it seemed Indiana was cruising, with a 45-7 lead late in the first half, the Sycamores somehow made it a game by scoring two touchdowns in the final 19 seconds of the first half and opening the second half with a 31-yard interception return to make it 45-28.
But the hit on Wynn refocused the Hoosiers, who responded with three more touchdown drives.
The only thing they didn't do was break the 76-point barrier.
"We talked about would we just come out and play as hard as we can play and take all the effort in practice and do it on the game field, because it's hard. It's the same stuff, but now the stakes were higher," Wilson said. "It's probably the first time since I've been here that I can say we played pretty hard across the board."
Ball State 51, Illinois State 28
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - Keith Wenning passed for three touchdowns and ran for two and Ball State defeated Illinois State 51-28 in the season opener for both teams.
Willie Snead caught two of Wenning's touchdown passes and finished with nine catches for 164 yards. Wennin was 24 of 40 for 340 yards.
Illinois State led 21-9 before Wenning hit Javond Williams to make it 21-16 at half. Ball State opened the second half with the two touchdowns passes to Snead before Wenning scored his fifth touchdown on a 3-yard run. Jahwan Edwards and Horactio Banks each had rushing touchdowns to conclude the six-touchdown run for the Cardinals.
Illinois State, coming off a FCS quarterfinal appearance finish last season, was led by Jared Barnett who was 20 for 29 with two touchdowns. Collin Keoshian also scored two touchdowns for the Redbirds. The two teams have not played since 1993, renewing the series dating to 1957.
Bengals 27, Colts 10
CINCINNATI (AP) - A few smooth minutes on the field left Andy Dalton in a good mood.
Dalton completed his only pass and led the Bengals to a touchdown in his only drive - one that took four minutes to finish - and the Cincinnati Bengals ended the preseason with a 27-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night.
The third-year quarterback wanted a crisp drive to finish the preseason. He got it.
"We did what we wanted to do," Dalton said of the seven-play drive.
"We drove down and scored - had some good runs mixed in there and some conversions on passes. We did what we wanted the first offense to do."
Cincinnati (3-1) has a few decisions left before starting the season, none bigger than picking Dalton's backup.
Josh Johnson followed Dalton for the second straight game and had a solid showing. He led the Bengals to a touchdown and a field goal in three possessions before halftime.
Johnson scrambled twice for 38 yards on a touchdown drive that culminated in his 3-yard pass to Marvin Jones, showing his main advantage over John Skelton in the competition for the backup job.
Overall, Johnson was 7 of 13 for 67 yards with three sacks.
"I feel good," Johnson said. "I feel I've improved weekly on everything I've been asked to do and we've been able to get results on the field. We've been able to put scoring drives together, finish drives.
"But you never know. All you can do is put your best foot forward."
Skelton, who was behind from the start of the competition to replace Bruce Gradkowski because he'd never run a West Coast offense, played the second half and was 6 of 10 for 99 yards with one touchdown drive.
The Bengals played most of their starters on offense and defense for one series only. Dalton's brief appearance ended in Giovani Bernard's 1-yard touchdown run.
The Colts (2-2) rested most of their starters, including quarterback Andrew Luck. He and Dalton joked with each other on the field before the game.
"One of the goals is to come out as healthy as you can and we did," coach Chuck Pagano said.
Matt Hasselbeck started for Indianapolis and led a 12-play drive against most of the Bengals' starters. Adam Vinatieri kicked a 43-yard field goal to complete it. Hasselbeck played two series and went 5 of 9 for 49 yards.
Vinatieri also was wide left on a 52-yard attempt.
Indianapolis' starting defense hadn't allowed a touchdown the past two games. With the play-it-safe approach on Thursday, the results were less pleasing.
"We didn't play very well at all," linebacker Pat Angerer said. "But we'll play better."
The Bengals' starters moved the ball easily against a Colts defense of mostly backups during their one series on the field.
All-Pro receiver A.J. Green, who missed the first three weeks of camp with a bruised knee, played the series and drew an interference penalty from Josh Gordy in the end zone, setting up Giovani Bernard's 1-yard run.
Receiver Brandon Tate made more of an impact as a kick returner. Tate's 51-yard kickoff return set up the touchdown. Tate also had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the previous preseason game at Dallas.
Both teams had reserves get hurt.
Colts inside linebacker Kavell Conner and offensive tackle Emmett Cleary were treated for ankle injuries but returned. Receiver David Reed left with a concussion. Cornerback Daxton Swanson pulled a hamstring and didn't return. Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur dislocated his right shoulder in the first quarter and was taken off the field on a cart. Guard Mike Pollak suffered a knee injury, but coach Marvin Lewis said it wasn't serious.
Browns 18, Bears 16
CHICAGO (AP) - Brian Hoyer started by connecting with Josh Gordon on a 45-yard pass on the first play from scrimmage and ended the game with a comeback.
In between, things were a bit choppy.
Hoyer threw for 307 yards and came on down the stretch for the Browns after Jordan Palmer dominated the first half for the Bears, leading Cleveland to an 18-16 victory over Chicago in the preseason finale on Thursday night.
Hoyer was intercepted twice. But he also led the Browns (3-1) on a 76-yard touchdown drive that made it a one-point game in the fourth quarter.
"I don't care if it is the fourth preseason game of the year or the last game of the year," he said.
"When you're out there, you're out there to win, it doesn't matter who is out there, you play the game to win, you don't just play to play."
Punter Spencer Lanning kicked a 40-yard field goal with just over three minutes left following a fumble by Harvey Unga to make it 18-16.
Robbie Gould then missed a 57-yarder wide right with just over a minute left, and the Bears (2-2) lost after leading most of the way.
Signed two weeks ago after third-stringer Matt Blanchard broke a knuckle on his left, non-throwing hand, Palmer made the most of his opportunity with Jay Cutler and Josh McCown sitting out.
Palmer, the brother of Arizona QB Carson Palmer, helped the Bears build a 10-3 halftime lead, completing 11 of 17 passes for 111 yards before giving way to Trent Edwards.
Palmer led the Bears to a field goal on their first possession after Demontre Hurst intercepted Hoyer and connected with Joe Anderson on a 5-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
Not bad, considering he thought his playing days were over. That changed when he got the call from the Bears, and now, he might have to cancel a trip to Europe next week with his wife.
"We've been putting it off for the past couple years. And I would love to cancel that trip," he said.
But it was the Browns who finished the preseason on a winning note, with both teams resting their top players.
The Bears had said they would do just that, and wide receiver Brandon Marshall wasn't even at the stadium. He had an excused absence.
Marshall also voiced frustration on Tuesday about his recovery from offseason hip surgery and missed practice on Wednesday.
He is expected to be ready for the opener against Cincinnati, which is the first game of the Marc Trestman era.
The Browns didn't play Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson or Joe Thomas, among others.
With backup quarterback Jason Campbell out with flu-like symptoms, Hoyer got the call for the Browns and completed 24 of 35 passes.
His second interception - by Sherrick McManis - led to a 44-yard field goal by Gould that increased Chicago's lead to 16-9 early in the fourth.
Hoyer then led the Browns on the go-ahead touchdown drive, finishing with a 14-yard TD pass to Dan Gronkowski with just under 7 minutes left.
The Browns went for two, and the pass got broken up, preserving a 16-15 lead for the Bears.
Cleveland went ahead on Lanning's 40-yarder after Unga fumbled and L.J. Fort made the recovery. Lanning was handling field goals after Shayne Graham injured his back in warmups, keeping him out of the game.
"I told him after he made that kick, you just never know what you're going to have to do when you come to work every day," coach Rob Chudzinski said. "He responded really well."
Gordon started for Cleveland and caught two passes for 77 yards.
The Browns want to keep him sharp, since he was suspended for the first two regular-season games for violating NFL's drug policy.
David Nelson made his first appearance since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in last year's opener with Buffalo, catching four passes for 54 yards. He signed a one-year deal with Cleveland.
Brandon Jackson, trying to solidify his spot as the No. 2 running back, had just 5 yards on five attempts. The Browns are thin at the position with Dion Lewis (surgically repaired left leg) and Montario Hardesty (leg) on injured reserve.
While Palmer looked sharp in the early going for Chicago, Edwards threw for 135 yards in the second half.
He led Chicago to the 3 on the first drive of the third quarter, only to settle for a field goal, and had some bad luck on an interception that James-Michael Johnson returned 23 yards for a touchdown on Chicago's next possession, making it 13-9.
The ball bounced off the hands of Chicago's Fendi Onobun.
Michael Ford, vying for the third running back spot with Armando Allen, ran for 48 yards on nine carries. Allen, who's been limited by a hamstring injury, had 39 yards on 10 attempts.
The Bears held out rookie Jonathan Bostic, who's been starting at middle linebacker with D.J. Williams injured. And Trestman also all but confirmed that first-round pick Kyle Long and fifth-rounder Jordan Mills will start at right guard and right tackle after sitting them on Thursday.
"We just feel that Kyle and both Jordan have really played well and practiced well," Trestman said. "Going into next week unless both change it looks like they'll be there."