BLOOMINGTON – There were a couple of things that stood out about the team running out of the open end tunnel on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
It wasn’t just the bright orange on their helmets and part of their jerseys.
For one they were a MAC team that come into Indiana with an offense scoring 37 points a game and two dominating wins under their belt. Some may have even considered the team from nearby Ohio to have a better squad than the Navy team that left Bloomington with a win over the Hoosiers a week earlier.
Cody Latimer knew all of that as he took the field along with the rest of his Hoosiers teammates on Saturday afternoon-and he was the first to express it.
“Bowling Green is a great team,” said the junior receiver. “Offensive and defensive wise.”
For Latimer, however, that’s only a minor part of his connection to the Falcon program-and why facing them as a member of the Hoosiers took on special meaning for a quickly rising receiver in the Big Ten.
His opponent on Saturday was the team of his father, Colby Latimer, who played for Bowling Green in the mid-1980’s. He was apart of the Falcons’ team in 1985 that finished the regular season a perfect 11-0 and won the Mid-American Conference championship on their way to a berth in the California Bowl in Fresno.
“I heard he was a hard worker,” said Latimer of what he’s picked up about his father’s playing days with his opponent on Saturday-and unfortunately that is the perspective Latimer has had over the past eight years.
Colby Latimer died of Colon Cancer when Cody was 12-years old and just beginning to appreciate the game of football. Continuing in the game was a dream Colby had for Coby and since his death the receiver has tried to make that happen.
“He always wanted me to do my best,” said Latimer of his father. “When I was a kid he always wanted me to play football, that was his dream. ‘Kid, you’re gonna play football.'”
Indeed Cody did. At Jefferson Township High School in Dayton, Ohio he elevated himself to the Rivals.com Top 50 among receivers nationally and when he signed with Indiana he immediately saw playing time. After appearing in eight games his freshman year, Latimer broke out in 2012 with 51 receptions for 805 yards and six touchdowns in a pass-happy Hoosiers’ offense.
All the while, his father’s memory remains close.
“He keeps me going,” said Latimer. “Knowing that he worked hard.”
Maybe that’s a reason that the junior receiver enjoyed on of his best games in a Hoosiers’ uniform against his father’s Alma Mater. Latimer led the Hoosiers in catches (6) and yards (137) and hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Nate Sudfeld in the third quarter of Indiana’s 42-10 win over Bowling Green.
On top of that, Latimer was named one of the team’s captains for the game based on his father’s connection to the school and his teammates even paid tribute to Colby as well.
“He’s been a really good leader for us and we all had “98”-that the number of his dad-on our tape today and we said ‘Hey, go out there and ball for your dad’,” said receiver Kofi Hughes. “Beat his team like he would probably want you to now and that’s what he did-he had a great game.”
While it was a unique moment for Latimer, the receiver tried to see the performance and victory as just a step in the road of his season and career.
“We’re onto the next game,” said Latimer. “It’s just a good win for the team and we’re just going to get ready for our next game.”