Ball State falls to IU 34-24 after hard fought battle on Saturday at Lucas Oil
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (NewsLink)- Yesterday Lucas Oil Stadium hosted the 2019 Ruoff Kickoff Classic, featuring Ball State University. The Cardinals played host to the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday, as Drew Plitt began his first season as starting quarterback. This was the second time Ball State has hosted Indiana at Lucas Oil for the season opener. The first was in 2011 where the Cardinals won 27-20. As of late, Indiana has been playing well in season openers, winning 13 of their last 15, including a 38-28 victory at Florida International last season.
Coming in the Hoosiers were led by freshman four-star quarterback Michael Penix II, a dual threat from Tampa, Florida. Right out of the gates, Penix showed what Indiana Coach Tom Allen referred to as “growing pains.” Penix threw two interceptions in the first half but managed to keep the Hoosiers in the game.
The Cardinals were able to make good use of the ground game in the first half, as junior running back Caleb Huntley had 15 touches for 56 yards, as well as a touchdown before the half. Huntley was playing in his first contest since last season, where he missed the second half of the year due to injury.
Half number two, however was a different story for Ball State’s ground game. Any momentum gained quickly faded. Indiana’s stellar defense held the Cardinals to just nine yards on the ground in the second half. Plitt was also sacked on three separate occasions.
Despite the strong Indiana defense, Plitt was able to throw for two scores in the second half to Walter Fletcher and Yo’Heniz Tyler. This kept the game within one possession. Indiana, however had an answer to seemingly every question Ball State put in front of them. The Hoosiers responded to the Fletcher touchdown with a 65-yard drive and a late field goal by senior Logan Justus from a career-long 50-yards out with 2:15 to go in the contest. Justus tied the single-game record with four field goals, including the one that sealed the deal.
The Hoosiers held their own against the Cardinals and took home the 34-24 victory. Ball State quarterback Drew Plitt finished with 298 yards through the air, two touchdowns and one interception. Indiana freshman Michael Penix II lead the way for the Hoosiers with 326 yards through the air, one touchdown and two picks, both in the first half. Indiana’s defense was the straw that broke the camels back, as they kept Ball State contained through the finish. Indiana has also had at least one interception in 11 straight games and has forced a turnover in 19 games in a row. This is the longest streak in the country.
Indiana advanced to (1-0) on the season yesterday and will take on Eastern Illinois Saturday at 3:30 P.M. Ball State fell to (0-1) and will look to rebound Saturday at 2:00 P.M. at Schuemann Stadium against Fordham.