September 29, 2007 — Iowa City, Iowa
Indiana’s 2007 season will forever be remembered as the year they played for Coach Hep.
Former head coach Terry Hoeppner succumbed to cancer during the summer before the 2007 campaign, and his “Play 13” mantra quickly became a rallying cry as the team tried to honor their beloved coach.
After a disappointing early season home loss against Illinois, the Hoosiers knew they would likely need a Big Ten road win to achieve a winning record and thus play 13 — a postseason bowl game.
The Hoosiers would deliver the road win just a week later in one of the league’s more difficult venues — Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium.
Quarterback Kellen Lewis did a little bit of everything for the Hoosiers in Iowa City that day.
Lewis threw touchdown passes to James Hardy and Ray Fisher in the first 18 minutes of the game as IU stormed out to a 14-0 lead. Hardy would end up with 4 receptions for 113 yards.
And then something happened that left many wondering if Coach Hep himself had intervened.
Midway through the second quarter, Lewis completed a pass to fullback Josiah Sears for a 9 yard gain. Sears fumbled, and Lewis, who had trailed the play, scooped the ball in stride and strolled 71 yards for a Hoosier score.
A stunned Hawkeye crowd sat in silence as Indiana led 21-0. You can see the play at the 2:00 mark in the video below.
Lewis made another big play after Iowa drew to 21-13 in the third quarter. He hit Brandon Walker-Roby for 24 yards on fourth-and-5 from the Iowa 27, setting up a 1-yard TD plunge by Sears.
Iowa threatened a final time, cutting the lead to 31-20 with 10:01 left.
But Lewis led the Hoosiers on a 69-yard drive that Sears finished with his second score — a 7-yard TD burst.
Indiana’s defense came up with plenty of big plays too. The Hoosiers recorded nine sacks, including four by Jammie Kirlew. IU also forced two turnovers on the afternoon.
The 38-20 win was Indiana’s largest margin of victory over Iowa since 1945 and their lone win at Iowa City in the last 22 years.
Lewis finished 19 of 26 for an at the time career-best 322 yards passing.
The box score also credits Lewis with 71 receiving yards — perhaps with an assist from Coach Hep.
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