Hoosiers Use Balanced, Relentless Attack to Down Ball State

 A view of the newly renovated IU Excellence Academy and massive video board from our seats in section 30.

A view of the newly renovated IU Excellence Academy and massive video board from our seats in section 30.

The Hoosiers entered Saturday’s contest looking to finish strong with the non-conference portion of their schedule and that they did in route to a 38-10 victory over the Ball State Cardinals.  Join me as we dive into a general stat battle, statistical difference makers, impact players, and much more.

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Statistical Difference Makers

Balanced Passing-Rushing Attack – Indiana was able to keep the Cardinals on their toes throughout the game both through the air (202 passing yards) and on the ground (255 rushing yards).  As valuable as the defense was for IU, the offense did a fantastic job being efficient with their game plan.

Penalties (Yards Lost) – IU had a handful of penalties in this one, but none that particularly ended up biting them too bad outside of a big J-Shun Harris return that was brought back.

Special Teams – The Hoosiers made a definite impact on the specials team end in this one with J-Shun Harris highlighting their efforts (more coming on him below).  Logan Justice did his part in his lone attempt going 1 for 1 hitting a 21-yard field goal for IU while Ball State’s Morgan Hagee finished 1 for 2 missing a 48-yard attempt. Indiana’s Jared Smolar did his job averaging 64.7 yards with 6 touch backs on kickoffs.  Hayden Whitehead 4 punts for 75 yards dropping one of those inside of the 20-yard line.

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Hoosier Heartland Podcast Player of the Game

Redshirt Senior WR J-Shun Harris

Multiple players made a significant impact for the Hoosiers, but none more impactful than Harris who finished with 103 total punt return yards with on being a memorable 86-yard touchdown that tied the school record for longest punt return.  He had a second big return canceled out due to a penalty.  Considering everything he has been through after missing significant time due to ACL injuries, how can I possibly leave him off without giving him his props for being a real trooper.

Other Impact Players

Redshirt Sophomore QB Peyton Ramsey – Ramsey finished the game going 20 of 27 (74% completion) for 173 yards passing.  He also rushed for 43 yards (7.2 avg yards per rush) and scored a touchdown to help pad their lead and keep the foot on the throats of Ball State.

True Freshman RB Stevie Scott – The bulldozing back from Syracuse, NY had 18 attempts rushing for 114 yards while adding two touchdowns with the latter one featured him literally steamrolling through Ball State defenders into the end zone.  He continues his torrid freshman campaign as he has proven himself to be the clear front-runner of this running back corps.  After seeing him play for the first time in person, I cannot stress how big this kid is. I mean scary big.  It’s not often you see a true freshman back with an NFL body.  He continuously bruised this Cardinal defense throughout.

Jonathan Crawford and Reakwon Jones – Both players finished the game with 5 tackles a piece with 2 being assisted for Crawford.  Both contributed to IU’s sack category with one apiece.  It just seemed like these two were everywhere on the field throughout as they led the defense in an impressive showing.

My Personal Experience

This was the first game of the season for me to make it in person.  Enjoyed the atmosphere beforehand as the tailgating scene was lively.  Had the pleasure to meet many familiar faces, but none more profound to me than my good friend Brian Tonsoni.  I had the pleasure of experiencing his tailgating spectacle.  If you attend IU home games, you need to make it a priority to stop on over in the purple lot just on the other side of the practice facility Tonsoni’s tailgate. Just an all-around good guy. I am blessed to have him a part of our Hoosiers-United family and as a regular guest on Hoosier Heartland Podcast.

What was special about this game was my brother-in-law Brian Schum had the J-Shun Harris punt return for a touchdown as his bold prediction beforehand.  It turned out to be something we will both remember forever. I, personally, fell just short of my bold prediction which were 150+ rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns for Stevie Scott. Brian also fell short of his second bold prediction in 250+ passing yards for Peyton Ramsey. I have no doubt in my mind that he would’ve reached that mark if not for sitting out a majority of the second half.

Other notable thoughts:

-          Great to see Ronnie Walker Jr. get some time as he scored his first collegiate touchdown. Michael Penix also saw playing time in this one, which was something I was personally hoping for if the lead was large enough.

-          Only complaint was with the lack of cloud cover.  That sun kicked my ass.

Up Next for #IUFB

The Michigan State Spartans make their way to Bloomington next Saturday for a 7:30 pm EDT showdown with the Hoosiers.  The Spartans are coming off a BYE week after losing to Arizona State the previous week.  MSU (1-1) lone victory this season was a nail-biting victory over Utah State to kick off the season.   IU has a legit shot against this Spartan squad. The game will air on Big Ten Network.