The Ball State University football team storms the field against Central Connecticut State Aug. 30, 2018, at Scheumann Stadium. The Cardinals went on to defeat the Blue Devils 42-6. Jacob Haberstroh,DN
Football prepares for IU matchup after impressive display at Notre Dame
Having proved it has what it takes to play with the big boys after a 24-16 loss to No. 8 Notre Dame, Ball State Football (1-1, 0-0 MAC) will head to Bloomington with all the confidence in the world.
Taking on the Irish is a task in itself, but throwing in over 77,000 screaming fans cheering against a Mid-American Conference team could be considered brutal. Ball State head coach Mike Neu’s team was cool, calm and collected in its first contest with Notre Dame in school history.
“We can accomplish anything we want to, but it takes every guy on the team making sure they know his best effort is required day in and day out,” Neu said. “It reinforced our belief and our mindset that we’re capable of anything we want to accomplish, but it takes every guy working that way in practice.”
History of Ball State vs. IU
2016: IU beats Ball State, 30-20
2012: Ball State beats IU, 41-39
2011: Ball State beats IU, 27-20
2008: Ball State beats IU, 42-20
2007: IU beats Ball State, 38-20
2006: IU beats Ball State, 24-23
1999: IU beats Ball State, 21-9
1997: IU beats Ball State, 33-6
The Cardinals managed to win the time of possession battle and picked up four more first downs and 52 more rushing yards than the Irish. The defense, however, is what really shined.
Three Cardinals ended up with nine tackles, and pressure was constantly on Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush as he took four sacks and threw three interceptions.
“Coming in, we knew nobody gave us a shot, but we really didn’t care,” said redshirt senior defensive back Josh Miller. “Going out and playing like we did just proved to ourselves we can play with anybody in the country.”
Even after nearly pulling off the upset of a lifetime, Neu said the team isn’t satisfied with any loss. He stressed that it’s a new week, and it’s time to get back to the drawing board.
“I’ve got no question about the effort. I’ve got no question about were they prepared to play,” Neu said. “That’s the challenge every week. You got to make sure that you’re able to go out and play with confidence so you can go on the field and compete toe-to-toe and leave everything you got out there.”
Indiana (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) is coming off a close win over ACC opponent Virginia, 20-16. The Hoosiers haven’t been shy about running the ball, racking up over 200 yards on the ground in each of their first two games.
Redshirt junior linebacker Jacob White said the team is optimistic after competing with the Irish, and fans should expect no less intensity against the Hoosiers.
“We can’t take the foot off the gas pedal,” White said. “We got to keep doing what we’ve been doing and do it to the best of our ability. It doesn’t matter the opponent. Whoever it is, we’re going to go out and execute and perform.”
Indiana won its last meeting with the Cardinals, but Ball State was victorious the previous three times they faced off. Miller said players can’t afford to get overconfident, or they will be in store for a rude awakening.
“People have been telling us how great we played and all that, but we’re not trying to get caught up in that because we’ve got another game this week,” Miller said. “If we come out and practice like we’re so good, then we’re going to lose on Saturday.”
Indiana leads the all-time series 5-3. Ball State will have a chance to improve its record noon Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington.
Contact Zach Piatt with comments at or on Twitter @zachpiatt13.