BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Ball State scored the final 20 points of Saturday’s football game against Indiana, but that could not overcome the large hole BSU found itself in midway through the third quarter.
Indiana (2-0) jumped out to a 30-0 lead on the way to a 30-20 victory on its home turf at Memorial Stadium, snapping a three-game Ball State winning streak in the series.
Ball State (1-1) rallied in the second half with . . .
The Ball State defense forced six punts, turned Indiana over on downs twice and held the Hoosiers to 2-for-13 on third downs. But IU was able to get yardage in chunks. The Hoosiers scored on four straight possessions spanning the second and third quarters to open up their 30-point lead.
Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Nick Westbrook for two of those scores with a 43-yarder for IU’s first touchdown of the day and a 79-yarder on its first possession of the third quarter.
A missed opportunity for Ball State early in the game loomed large as Indiana built its lead. Trailing 10-0, the Cardinals marched 72 yards down the field and were poised to cut into the lead. But James Gilbert was stripped at the 3-yard line and the Hoosiers recovered. It was the second of three first-half turnovers for the Cardinals.
“Give credit to Indiana; they beat us,” Neu said. “It’s not the recipe you need in order to have success. You can’t have three turnovers. You can’t get off to a slow start.”
That was the last time Ball State found itself in the red zone until late in the third quarter when Neal hit Hogue on a 43-yard pass to set up Hagee’s first field goal of the day, a 22-yarder. The drive was the start of Ball State finding some rhythm offensively. The Cardinals racked up 232 of their 371 total yards over their final five possessions.
Hagee hit a 38-yarder on the next drive, and then the Cardinals’ special teams provided their first touchdown of the game. Dedrick Cromartie came free to block an Indiana punt, and Malik Dunner scooped it up for the score.
Dunner gave the Cardinals a bit of a boost offensively in the second half, seeing his first collegiate carries and running for 39 yards on seven attempts.
Gilbert led the ground attack with 54 yards, while Neal threw for 231 yards on 15-of-30 passing. KeVonn Mabon caught five passes for 84 yards.
The Cardinals had won the previous three meetings with Indiana, dating back to 2008. The teams will meet again three times in the near future– 2018 and 2020 in Bloomington and 2019 in Indianapolis.
After two straight games on the road to open the season, Ball State will return to Muncie to host Eastern Kentucky next Saturday with a 3 p.m. kickoff at Scheumann Stadium.
(Courtesy of BSU Athletics)