Sycamore Defense Stands Tall
by: Steven Stremming
photos by: Tony Harper/Indiana Sports Network
Opening nights always bring questions.
Sometimes they finish with more questions, but one thing for Curt Mallory’s Indiana State 2022 Sycamores that can be answered on a Thursday night at Memorial Stadium, is the defense stood tall.
Mallory in the press conference after the game, repeatedly said the defense played hard all night and with a purpose.
Northern Alabama was the opponent, and they came into the game with questions themselves.
The Lions tried running the ball but to no avail, as the Trees stood tall and held them to just eight yards rushing on 49 attempts. Many of these can be accounted to snaps over the quarterbacks’ heads.
Which the Sycamores were to circle and tackle for significant losses.
The Lions did manage to accumulate 148 yards passing from three different quarterbacks.
ShunDerrick Powell was the Lions leading rusher with 80 net yards while true freshman Noah Walters threw for 64 yards on six of thirteen passes with a interception.
As for the Sycamores they collected yardage but had difficulty putting six on the board as they had to settle for two field goals in the first half.
The Sycamores got on the board in the fourth quarter as Avon, Indiana, Sophomore Tyce Farrell hauled in a two yard from Sycamore quarterback, redshirt Gavin Screws (Jacksonville, Florida) and then collected two points on a nice Screws pass to Indianapolis Cathedral graduate, Daijon Collins, a redshirt Junior to put the Sycamores up 14 to seven.
The Lions would return the favor with a score of their own with 48 seconds left in regulation.
Overtime would begin on opening night of the 2022 season with the Sycamores having first crack at the end zone.
The Sycamores would put up points as true freshman, Ryan O’Grady would place the ball through the uprights from 25 yards.
Up next the Lions took their attempt, but the outcome would be different as the long snapper heaved it over the yead of Walters, which would force a fourth down. The fourth down pass was not complete giving the homestanding Sycamores the win.
Maryville, Tennessee (Tennessee) redshirt freshman Tee Hodge led the Sycamores with 78 yards rushing on 20 carries while Justin Dinka, redshirt sophomore from Flower Mound, Texas (San Diego State) rushed for 65 yards on ten carries.
Screws would complete 16 of 30 passing attempts with two picks for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, redshirt sophomore Kevin Barnett would lead in receptions with 10 for 38 yards with Dinka and Collins would collect two more receptions for another 63 yards.
Geoffrey Brown, a sophomore from Fishers, Indiana would lead the tenacious defense with 16 total tackles while Rylan Cole added eight and Gianini Bellzaire and the formable Kris Reid, Junior would account total six a piece.