Indiana vs. Ball State Prediction, Game Preview


Indiana vs. Ball State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Hoosiers and Cardinals.


Indiana vs. Ball State Game Preview

When: Saturday, Sept. 10 – 4 p.m. ET

Where:
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind.

Broadcast: ESPNEWS, Watch ESPN

Indiana and Ball State haven’t met since 2012, when the Cardinals won a third consecutive meeting. The Hoosiers have gradually improved under coach Kevin Wilson – they made their first bowl appearance in eight years last season – and eventually pulled away for an easy win on the road in the season-opener. 

Ball State was in the midst of some of the program’s best years during its winning streak against Indiana, but back-to-back losing seasons forced the team to bring in Mike Neu in search of a turnaround. The Cardinals ushered in that era with a victory Friday, and with both teams seemingly trending upward, this could be one of the more competitive meetings between the in-state rivals.

What To Know About Indiana

The Hoosiers trailed Florida International by a point going into the fourth quarter before Richard Langow threw two touchdown passes and Tegray Scales capped the 34-13 victory with a 16-yard interception return. Not surprisingly, Langow struggled in his debut but came on strong when needed, and it helped that Devine Redding busted out for 135 yards on 6.1 per carry. 

Indiana’s biggest strength, though, appears to be its defense. New defensive coordinator Tom Allen put together a scheme that held FIU to 63 yards rushing, intercepted three passes and registered a safety. It’s only one game against an opponent that won’t be close to the Hoosiers’ toughest this season, but a performance like that is something to build on.

What to Know About Ball State

Whether it was the original plan or an adjustment due to Riley Neal’s two interceptions, the Cardinals ran, ran and ran some more in Friday’s 31-21 win over Georgia State. James Gilbert rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and Darian Green and Teddy Williamson added scores on the ground in the fourth quarter to put the game away. When it was over, Ball State rushed 52 times compared to 29 pass attempts for Neal. 

The Cardinals defense had some question marks coming into the season, but they held Georgia State to just 272 total yards and forced a couple turnovers. That’s about as good as could be expected against a solid offensive unit.

Advantages

Offense: Indiana – Both teams are going to keep the ball on the ground most of the game, but the edge goes to the Hoosiers because I’d trust Langow more than Neal if and when the passing game is needed to make a play. 

Defense: Indiana – It’s tough to go against Allen’s unit after such a stingy performance. And if Neal struggled like he did against Georgia State, he could be in for a long day against the Hoosiers. 
Special Teams: Even – Reigning Big Ten kicker of the year Griffin Oaks missed a 26-yard field goal in the opener, and another was botched on a mishandled snap. Ball State allowed Georgia State’s Glenn Smith to register 128 kick-return yards. 
Coaching: Indiana – Wilson’s hire of Allen could be what the Hoosiers needed to take the next step toward a major turnaround. 
Intangibles: Indiana – This one could come down to the turnover battle, and my guess is that the Hoosiers will pressure Neal into at least one, if not more.

Matchup To Watch

The running games vs. rush defenses 

After Indiana stood tall against FIU and the Cardinals held Georgia State to 3.1 yards per carry, it will be interesting to see how each unit reacts against stronger rushing attacks.

Betting Odds

Spread: Indiana -17 1/2

Over/Under: 62.5

Indiana vs. Ball State Prediction

Redding and Gilbert won’t be able to put up gaudy numbers like last week against more stout defenses. Langow outshines Neal by throwing three touchdown passes to get the Hoosiers out with a victory. 

Indiana vs. Ball State Score Prediction: Indiana 37, Ball State 21 

MORE: Week 2 College Football Bowl Projections