Defense struggles to stop hot Hoosier offense in 38-10 loss
From North to South, Ball State Football (1-2, 0-0 MAC) has been all over the state in this early season. This weekend, the Cardinals were in Bloomington to take on Indiana (3-0, 0-0 Big 10) in their ninth all time matchup. After a stalemate first quarter, the Hoosiers would come out running to take the game 38-10.
“It’s a disappointing day for us,” Neu said. “That’s not Ball State football. Credit IU for playing a great game, but for us, after having a good week of practice, we did not execute the way we are capable of.”
The game remained close throughout the first quarter with senior kicker Morgan Hagee opening up the scoring with a 31-yard field goal. IU would answer with a 21-yard field goal of their own to tie it up. A Hoosier drive at the end of the first quarter would set them up at the 1-yard line at the start of the second.
In first ticks of the second half, the Hoosiers would find the endzone to take the lead, 10-3. It would only be a few plays later that J-Shun Harris would return an 86-yard punt giving the Hoosiers a 17-3 lead. Once again the Hoosiers would find opportunities to get on the scoreboard late in the quarter as they would take a 24-3 lead into halftime.
“We did a good job coming out in the second half defensively, but not offensively in responding to the score,” Neu said. “We didn’t respond well to that first drive in the second half and then they would get another one going. It was really just a consistent theme the entire day for us which was disappointing.”
Mid third quarter saw Ronnie Walker put the Hoosier up by 28 giving them the 31-3 lead. Ball State would finally find the back of the end zone from a 27-yard rushing touchdown from redshirt junior running back James Gilbert to put the Cardinals within 21-points. The fourth was much of the same as Stevie Scott put six more up for the Hoosiers. Scott’s touchdown would seal the deal for the Hoosiers as the Cardinals would fall, 38-10.
The Cardinals defense struggled to make stoppages throughout the game as the Hoosiers would rush for 164 yards on the day. The Cardinals could not catch IU quarterback Peyton Ramsey as he would complete 20 of 27 passes and pass for 173 yards. Redshirt Junior Riley Neal would struggle to connect as he would compleat only 12 of 24 passes and be taken down by the IU defense once on the day.
“We did not play Ball State football and we did not play to our capabilities,” Redshirt junior James Gilbert said. “We left plays out there and just beat ourselves up all game. This was supposed to be a must win game, so now we're going into Western Kentucky as a must win game to get to 2-2 in non-conference play.”
From last weekend in South Bend, the Cardinals saw a lot of disimprovement in many facets of the game. The Cardinals dropped in passing yardage by 40 and recorded only 78 tackles to last week’s 84.
“We need to appreciate the process,” Neu said. “Winning is hard in general and it doesn’t matter what level it is. Unlike other sports, football plays once a week, so you have to be at your best. We have to challenge the guys to appreciate the process and be ready to win the day.”