Who, When, Where: For the 8th time, Indiana and Ball State will meet on the gridiron, the first such meeting since 2012. For the 6th time, Bloomington will play host to the game. Kickoff on Saturday at Memorial Stadium is 4pm, with Mike Corey and Rene Ingoglia on the call for ESPNews. Indiana looks to break Ball State’s current 3 game win streak against IU, and prevent them from tying up the all-time series record. The Hoosiers last beat the Cardinals in 2007. Also, they still owe us for 2012, because there’s no way that receiver was in bounds.
Big Men on Campus: Indiana’s defense came up huge against Florida International, with Rashard Fant and Tegray Scales providing a pick-six each. Ben Bach also picked off Panthers QB Alex McGough. In addition, an FIU holding penalty forced a safety, meaning IU’s defense outscored FIU all by itself. Certainly a step up from previous years, and with plenty more room for improvement, look for the defense to maybe not be terrible this year for the Cream and Crimson.
Interesting Tidbits about Ball State football: The Cardinals come into this weekend 1-0, having defeated Georgia State 31-21 last week. This is the first year in charge for head coach Mike Neu, who was previously the QB coach for the New Orleans Saints, and whose last head coaching job was for the New Orleans VooDoo of the AFL. Notable former Ball State head coaches include former IU head coach Bill Lynch, and former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke.
How Would This Game Go if it Was Basketball?: Ball State went 21-14 last season, and made it to the quarterfinals of the CIT. The Cardinals were undefeated in overtime games, going 4-0 (including two double overtime contests). While it’s likely the Cardinals would lose this game, they would probably put up a good fight for at least the first half.
Prediction: Indiana does not have a great recent history with Ball State. That said, the 2011 game was part of Kevin Wilson’s first year at the helm for IU, and beating teams with a pulse was pretty difficult for that squad. This time, it’s the Cardinals who are in the process of rebuilding. Indiana also gets back most of the players suspended for last week’s game with FIU, and with good luck should be able to improve upon that performance. I don’t expect either team will be able to run away with this one, unless IU’s offense gets all the way on track. Call it IU 35 - Ball State 21.
Next Week: IU has the week 3 bye. The following week, the Hoosiers welcome the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to Bloomington.