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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 North Dakota State at Indiana State Photo by David Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Indiana State is not a power when it comes to FCS football, but they have been a fairly regular fixture on Purdue’s schedule over the last 25 years or so. This season is the first of a three games set (The other two coming in 2024 and 2026) where the Trees come to West Lafayette. They will be a heavy underdog in all three games, but as the only scholarship FCS school in the state Purdue is happy to do them a favor by giving them a nice check to come up to West Lafayette.

There will be heavy hearts this year, however, as overnight a single vehicle accident resulted in the deaths of three athletes and two more were severely injured. It is believed that all five people involved were football players, casting a pall over the season set to start in a few days.

So far only a few details are known. One of the players killed was a freshman from the Cincinnati area named Caleb VanHooser. One of the injured is a familiar name to those in the Lafayette area, as standout running back Omarion Dixon from nearby Harrison was seriously injured in the accident.

Purdue showed some interest in getting Dixon as a preferred walk-on, as he rushed for more than 4,000 yards in his career and was the area offensive player of the year according to the Journal & Courier in 2020. He got an offer from Indiana State, however, and he redshirted last year before he was expected to play this season.

This also hits close to home because H&R writer Kyle Holderfield is a teacher at Harrison and one of the assistant football coaches. I know we haven’t written a ton about him, but in our staff group chat we feel like we really know the kid. He is someone Kyle has talked about in very high esteem the last few years and he has been extremely proud to help in his academic and athletic development. When you hear Kyle talk about him you hear the voice of a proud uncle, as he is a young man that has come a very long way. Kyle has been an excellent mentor to Omarion, and we are honored to have heard so much about him as a staff.

The first message that Kyle sent our group today at 9:30am was even about Omarion:

Omarion and 4 teammates got in a wreck last night. 3 dead. Omarion on life support. Damn it. He’s worked so hard to get where he is.

Kyle has given us updates throughout the day as he has heard news and while he is seriously injured, the nurses and doctors are pleased with what they are seeing. Honestly, we have heard so much about Omarion over the last few years from Kyle that I feel like we know him better than some of our Purdue guys. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved. If there is any way we can further support our Indiana State family in the coming days we as a staff will do our best to promote it.