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INDIANAPOLIS — Alex Parsons and his University of Indianapolis teammates knew what was at stake entering Saturday evening’s Great Lakes Valley Conference matchup with No. 23 Truman State, and they delivered.
Following a 34-27 loss at Lindenwood, the No. 17 Greyhounds needed a win over Truman State and a win in their regular season finale against Lake Erie to keep their NCAA Division II playoff hopes alive.
Trailing 21-20 early in the second half, UIndy responded with 24-straight points to run away from the Bulldogs with a 44-28 win.
“This was a win or go home basically,” Parsons said after the game. “If we won we have a chance to make the playoffs, and if we lost then we would be done. So we just had to take it to the next level.”
Parsons, a 2016 North Montgomery graduate, led the Greyhounds defense with eight tackles and 2 1/2 tackles for a loss in the win. After spending time on special teams as a freshman and sophomore, Parsons moved into an outside linebacker role last season as a junior, and to middle linebacker this fall for his senior campaign.
Patience literally has been a virtue for Parsons at UIndy.
“That’s what college is,” he said. “Most of the time you’re not going to be a starter right away. It’s just learning and growing and getting bigger and more physical. That helps you be ready when your time comes.”
The senior is second on the team with 51 tackles, and leads the Greyhounds with 13 tackles for a loss, and also adds 2 1/2 sacks on the season. UIndy changed defenses this fall under new head coach Chris Keevers and defensive coordinator Tim Cooper, who recently spent time as a defensive assistant at the University of Pittsburgh.
“It’s been a lot of film study and just experience,” Parsons said of his increase in production. “Knowing the ins and outs of this new defense has definitely helped on the field, and just being a second faster. The speed is definitely an adjustment, but I would say the mentality and the x’s and o’s is a whole other level than high school.”
Parsons says when he arrived on campus in the fall of 2016, he saw a promising future ahead, but knew it would take a lot of hard work to get there.
“I definitely saw it in my future,” he said. “Just knowing the people I was coming to school with, and the people were already here, I knew there was a possibility it could be endless, especially now this season that we’ve all grown and have new additions. I would say just grinding out and not getting discourage. I wasn’t on the field a ton as a freshman and just putting the nose to the wall and just grind.”
UIndy will host Lake Erie on Saturday at 2 p.m. and then wait to see if they get an at-large bid into the playoffs for a third straight season.