Indiana-Ball State football notes

FINAL: BALL STATE 27, INDIANA 20.

9:34 to play. BSU starts possession on its own 14. An IU drive got past midfield but stalled. It’s getting late. No points for the Hoosiers this half, in part because they passed over an almost certain 3.

On the first snap of the final period. Wilson goes for it on 4th-and-3 on the BSU 9, eschewing the chip shot field goal, and Wright-Baker’s pass attempt not close to a completion. BSU takes over.

END THIRD QUARTER: Ball State 24, Indiana 17. Hoosiers facing a 4th-and-3 at the BSU 9.

3:38: Ball State 24, Indiana 17. The Cardinals continue to move with almost total impunity against IU’s defense, and took their first lead on a pretty 20-yard TD pass, perfectly thrown by Wenning to Connor Ryan in the back corner of the end zone, beating Chris Adkins. It was a 9-play, 70-yard drive that took just 3:38 off the clock. The Hoosiers, whether in a 4-3 or a 3-3-5, look powerless defensively.

9:25 Ball State 17, Indiana 17. Again, the Cardinals marched impressively on the half’s first possession, but a personal foul call bogged the ball down. Steven Schott still got points for BSU with a 38-yard, game-tying field goal.

HALFTIME: INDIANA 17, BALL STATE 14. IU’s offense arrived pretty much as-advertised, generally moving the ball well and mixing its calls nicely. Ed Wright-Baker has played solidly in his first start, with a near pick-six his only real serious miscue. But Indiana’s defense has disappointed, given some of the preseason rhetoric. A primary issue has been a near total lack of pass rush. Some of the secondary coverage was clearly soft, too, but even when the Hoosier DBs had close coverage, BSU quarterback Keith Wenning has been virtually unmolested, able to operate with impunity. He’s 14-of-19 in the air, mainly short throws. Wright-Baker is 12 of 16 for 159 yards and the 65-yard TD bomb to Damarlo Belcher. Overall, IU has a 226-155 advantage in total yards.

3:17: Indiana 17, Ball State 14. Mitch Ewald nails a 49-yard field goal to again give IU the lead.

7:11: Ball State 14, Indiana 14: Another impressive Cardinal drive, or rather a lack of impressive play by IU’s defense. The Hoosiers are getting zero pass rush. On the rare occasion they blitz, they don’t disguise them well. Wenning can basically operate unmolested. IU’s Lawrence Barnett badly missed the tackle on a 10-yard Wenning keeper to set up Wenning’s 1-yard sneak to cap a 15-play, 73-yard march.

12:58: Indiana 14, Ball State 7: The Hoosiers strike back quickly. A play after nearly throwing a pick-six to BSU linebacker Tony Martin, Wright-Baker unloads a 65-yard bomb down the west sideline to Damarlo Belcher, who used his size and strength to beat his defender for the ball and stay inbounds to complete the play.

14:20: Ball State 7, Indiana 7: The Cardinals equalize on a 1-yard TD pass to Barrington Scott, beating Greg Heban over the middle, capping a 13-play, 84-yard drive that took 6:00. IU was very vanilla defensively and, when it did blitz, it was easily handled. The Hoosiers got virtually no pressure on quarterback Keith Wenning.

END FIRST QUARTER: INDIANA 7, BALL STATE 0.

Ball State is driving and threatening to tie the game, rather easily converting third-down passes against some loose IU coverage. On a 1st-and-10 completion from its own 34, IU’s safeties were playing well beyond midfield as the play developed into an easy 13-yard strike to Torieal Gibson.

Indiana missed a nice opportunity to really put the hurt on early, starting its second possession at the BSU 42, but Ed Wright-Baker took a sack on third down and the Hoosiers punted.

8:56: Indiana 7, Ball State 0. Zoom. Indiana’s no-huddle offensive pace as fast as advertised as the Hoosiers go 76 yards on 15 plays to score on the game’s opening possession. Matt Perez took it in on a stretch play around right end on a 4th-and-1 from the BSU 9. The drive consumed 6:04 on the clock, and probably kept the Cardinal defense breathless.

PREGAME — Finally, it’s time for the fightin’ Kevin Wilsons against the fightin’ Pete Lembos. Two coaching staffs new to their respective institutions will show what they’ve got cooked up tonight here at a sparsely attended season opener in Lucas Oil Stadium. Lots of weather in and around Indianapolis may have made some of the crowd late-arriving, but we’ll see.

There is little question Wilson and his staff have created some considerable buzz around Bloomington and in IU circles, but they’ve also said repeatedly that they know performance — and wins — will be key to support, in terms of attendance and otherwise. This is their first chance to make their case publicly.

As always, here on The Scoop, I’ll share some thoughts on the proceeds as they occur. Thanks for checking in. It feels great to be on the cusp of another football season. And, who knows, perhaps a time will come when those who actually show up tonight can truthfully say, “I was there when Kevin Wilson started that turn-around for Indiana.”

47 comments

  1. Well, there wasn’t much to like about that. In particular, I had hoped to see some sort of defense for a change. I didn’t like the decision to pass up the field goal and that came back to bite us in the face. It was just a poor performance on many levels. Coach Wilson wasn’t able to ‘coach up’ Coach Lynch’s recruits in this one. I hope it looks better next week.

  2. same story different year. WOW IU SUCKS. We should kill Ball State. This is embarassing. Wilson give some of that money back or give it to the coach who probably makes 1/4 of what you do that kicked your a$$.

  3. I was going to but tickets and attend this game but held back. I am so glad that I did that. I am of course very disappointed in IU’s performance against BSU. But had I been there it would have been even worse. I am happy that this game was not on the Big Ten Network so the pain of this loss will not been seen by many.

  4. If anyone gets a chance, read Andy’s column in the Herald-Times today (Saturday). Very good insight, Mr. Graham…

    No doubt this is disappointing, but you gotta keep everything in perspective.

  5. The offensive play calling was cowardly and vanilla. The defense was pathetic. But neither was as embarrassing as the IU fans. All sitting on their Dairy Queen eating asses on 3rd down. Not even the student section had a clue. BSU fans were loud and energized. So before you criticize the team or coach ask yourself “was I sitting on my fat ass on 3rd down?”

  6. IU’s small defense got exposed again. The defensive line was just terrible. They could not shed blocks and were just getting pushed around by Ball State. They did not protect their linebackers, which are also too small. The only positive on defense was the safety, Atkins. He made some nice plays and actually hit some people.

    Wilson is going to take the hit, but it’s obvious this is why Lynch needed to be fired. Wilson took over a team that is grossly undersized. Ball State was significantly BIGGER than IU! You can’t blame Wilson for that. You can build strength, but you can’t build size. And I don’t care what anyone has too say, in the trenches, a big part of the equation is size. Smaller guys get worn out going against guys that are 30 to 40 lbs bigger.

    On offense, it was obvious that IU has a new quarterback and a new staff. EWB did O.K., but he flushes from the pocket too early and was late on too many passes. He’ll improve rapidly.

    Wilson is going to have to go after some JC talent for the o and d lines. Not sure he can afford to wait to develop HS recruits for those positions.

  7. I think it was asking too much of Wilson to win with Lynch’s recruits. All the recruits that actually had other BCS offers are redshirt freshmen at the oldest. Building year for Wilson, hopefully we win 2 or 3.

  8. We should still beat ball state, ball FREAKIN state, are you kidding me? I like Wilsons attitude, but he needs to deliver on the field with Ws

  9. After a day watching football (on either side of a great motorcycle ride) I have come to hate with a passion schools that play their fight song after every f#^$&$*#g play. That should get the NCAA death penalty. So lame.

  10. I thought we were winning recruits away from MAC schools. It seems we’re still getting the ones that couldn’t make it in the MAC.

  11. Emotion is your enemy!!!! I suggest patience. We live in an immediate return life. It is just not real!! Only my opinion

  12. Defense is pathetic. You have to be able to stop a very basic off tackle running – short passes to the backs MAC offense. Sadly – good coaches make half time adjustments to stop or change what they’ve seen. BSU was identical in the 2nd half – even better. Killing us 3.3 yds at a time. A dull knife of clock eating death. Any Big Ten team should have enough talent to stop a MAC team – period.

    We have two D an O coordinators? TWO heads aren’t better than one if they’re both stupid. Matt Canada – why do you still have a job..staff to staff..who would keep him?
    Kevin Wilson. Way to much talent in coaching to settle.

    PS – take the FG when your down 7. You still need to have it to win even if you score a TD. PS – DON’T ASSUME YOUR DEFENSE WILL SHUTOUT ANY OPPONENT FOR THE REST OF ANY GAME – TAKE EVERY POINT YOU CAN GET WHEN YOU CAN.

    I don’t throw in the towel on a coach after one game – but – I really don’t know what this staff has been doing to prepare for the last few months after watching this.

    Really dissapointed.

  13. Will be hard to put up alot of points with a new QB. He didn’t do horrible, but didn’t look like anything special. As everyone else already noted, our defense is still looking pretty weak. If Ball State runs you over, what’s going to happen against Big10 teams? Hoping the IU/UVA game is better. Go Hoosiers!

  14. Hello Lynch recruit haters…………Wilson himself has said multiple times that he thinks the incoming class was pretty strong and that alot of kids would play early.

    FOlks this team is about a 4-5 win team with no QB. I was at the game and both lines got beat. They went for 5+ yards on every 1st down run. It was rediculous. Just pull back on the expectations if you thought this was a bowl team or something. Give it a few years and then maybe we can get rolling.

  15. As I sat there in Lucas oil stadium, I kept waiting for something to change; the defense to come out of there deep/soft cover 2, the offense to create a hole, the defense to put some pressure on the qb, our qb to throw the ball to belcher who was typically in 1 on 1 situations, etc. To my surprise, nothing. This team was not prepared. WIN TODAY???? I think the team read too much of the “Wilson our savior” articles. Lynch’s offense seemed more explosive and more creative and more prepared than the alternative from the “offense guru”. I hope that this team turns around quickly or we better be prepared for a 2 win season. DAMN!

  16. Tom gets my vote for smartest guy on here. Keep that train of thought and you will be a billionaire. Tough year, Go Hoosiers.

  17. Wilson’s praise of Lynch’s last class may be sincere or it may be psychological, considering he is going to have these guys for four years what else can he say? He needs these kids to believe in themselves. Patience (and support for the program) is important. It is going to be tough to recruit to IU if the fan base remains cynical and bitter. That said, it does hurt to lose game 1 to another school with a losing record and a new coach. On the bright side, it sure was nice to see experienced coaches on the sideline who were not mostly hired based on nepotism. As for me, I choose to believe.

  18. Yes, emotion. Once it has faded to the background and the poor judgment of hops slowly follows…I realize this will not be an”immediate return”. I commend the Cardinals. I’m still so disappointed in the IU fans. BSU played with a 12th man tonight.
    IU had no such advantage. Especially on 3rd and long.

  19. The freshman class may be good, in relative terms, but you can’t win with freshman. IU is just too small. Ball State dominated the line of scrimmage with bigger and stronger players. IU’s defense was terrible, again. The difference was that we did not have an offense capable of scoring 38 points today.

    Can’t blame Wilson for the personnel that his predecessor recruited. Just too small.

  20. There’s a big difference between football and basketball. That’s why the NFL has a three year rule. You can win with a couple of talented freshmen in you lineup in football whereas in basketball you can have a freshman dominated team. Physical maturity just means more in football.

  21. One word as I sat dismayed at Lucas Oil Stadium: PATHETIC! The defense sucked period and to me it looked worse than last year. The offense was inept to say the least. I expected WB to be rough and he was for the most part. The guy has GOT to learn to the throw the ball away and not take sacks. It was like watching Ben Chappell again in his first couple years as a starter, but without the accuracy.

    It’s going to be a LONG YEAR, I’d be surprised at anything better than 2-10. The 2 wins I’m noting would be S. Carolina St and N. Texas. However, they could easily lose one of those, as well. The Big Ten games are going to be BIG blowouts. I actually think Wisconsin can put even more points on this team than last year. I’m not kidding, either. It’s going to be brutal.

  22. I echo whomever suggested patience. Also this size disparity is just BS. BSU DL roster lists 2 players above 285 lb., OL lists 8 above 285. IU lists 5 DL members over 285 lb. and the OL has 9 above 285. That argument is now dead.

    I would suggest Colts Coach Caldwell start looking over his shoulder now that Pete Lembo is in state. He did a superb job.

  23. Hoosier Clarion; According to the data included in Dustin D’s article “IU position-by-position previews” dated August 28, here are some facts:

    The starters on IU’s Defensive line (Johnson, Jones, Repolgle and Black) average 275 labs. The starting linebackers (Thomas, Beckun, Jones and McGhee) average 221 lbs. The average height of IU’s starting linebackers is less than 6 feet (average = 5’11” and3/4 inches). Jones is listed at 5’10” and weighs 209 lbs and Beckun is 5’11” and 213 lbs.

    IU’s two starting safeties average 195 lbs. Neither is over 200 lbs.

    The average weight of IU’s starting Offensive line, including the tight end, is 282 lbs. The average weight of IU’s back-up O-line, with TE, is 271 lbs. IU’s back-up center is listed at 263 lbs. Removing the tight ends from the equation, IU’s starting O-line averages 287 lbs. Removing the TE from the back-up O-line, they average 279 lbs.

    While I do no have the height and weight data for the starting line-ups of each Big Ten team, in my humble opinion, this data supports what my eyes witnessed. IU is under-sized in those positions where size matters most, especially on defense.

    While I’m sure there are other issues, on paper and on the field, they appear under-sized for a Big Ten team. My guess is, they are the smallest or second smallest team in the Big Ten.

  24. Just as a basis for comparison, I thought I would provide the following data about the size of some of Wisconsin’s starters:

    Average weight of starting O-line, without TE =322 lbs. Average weight of second team O-line, without TE = 331 lbs. (The back-ups are bigger than the starters!)

    Average weight of D-line 279 lbs.

    Average weight of three starting linebackers = 242 lbs.

    Difference in average weight between Wisconsin’s starting O-line and IU’s starting O-line is 35 lbs, or, on average 12.2% heavier. Not one Wisconsin O-line starter weighs less than 315 lbs.

  25. IU’s defensive line average is 25lbs more than Virginia Tech’s quarterback. We’re not big. Or fast.

    Former Michigan State coach, Duffy Daugherty, once repeated a coach’s description of himself. “He may not be big, but he’s slow.”

  26. PATIENCE – WONDERFUL ADVICE?! I GUESS 50 YEARS ISN’T ENOUGH? HERE’S WHAT IS LOST IN THE SIZE – SPEED – ETC.. ISSUES.

    COACHING AND ATTEMPTING TO BE AS GOOD AS YOU CAN BE WITH WHAT YOU HAVE. DID WE TRY ANYTHING DIFFERENT ON DEFENSE THROUGHOUT THE GAME. DID WE BRING 6-7 OCCASIONALLY – DID WE RUN BLITZ – DID WE ATTACK AND HOPE TO MAKE A BIG PLAY TO STOP A DRIVE………..NO!

    WE SAT BACK – FINE WITH INFERIOR TALENT – BUT WE STILL SAT BACK AND WERE DICTATED TOO. DON’T MAKE EXCUSES FOR A LACK OF TALENT…DO MORE AND ADJUST TO MAKE WHATEVER TALENT YOU HAVE PLAY TO IT’S BEST ABILITY. STRATEGY CAN OVERCOME TALENT FROM TIME TO TIME. IF IT DIDN’T – WHOMEVER HAD THE BEST RATED RECRUITING CLASS EVERY YEAR WOULD WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP EVERY YEAR.

    SOME COACHES HAVE THE ABILITY TO MAKE A PLAYER…….BETTER!

    ANY IDIOT COULD WIN WITH THE BEST TALENT. NOT MUCH TO DO BUT SIT BACK AND WAIT FOR THE TALENT TO WIN. REAL COACHES DO WHAT THEY HAVE TO DO TO WIN WITH WHAT THEY HAVE. HARDER..HELL YES….IMPOSSIBLE…NO WAY. I SHOULD SAY WINNING COACHES.

    EVERY YEAR SOME SCHOOLS COME UP WITH COACHES WHO TURN THEM AROUND WITH THE SAME TALENT THAT LOST FOR THE PREVIOUS STAFF.

    ATTITIUDE – IMAGINATION – EFFORT MAKE A DIFFEERENCE. WAITING UNTIL THE PERFECT SCENARIO OF TALENT ARRIVES…IF THAT EVER OCCURS……..IS RIDICULOUS.

    BARNETT AT NORTHWESTERN INHERITED NOTHING FROM 0-11…1-10…TEAMS. 8-4 IMMMEDIATELY. WHY. IMAGINATION AND COACHING. COULD NAME 25 OTHERS. IT’S TIME TO STOP INSISTED THE 5 YEAR PLAN IS A MUST……IT ISN’T.

  27. Po, You were complaining about size in comparison to BSU, now you want to add the Badgers to support your incorrect statement as to IU vs. BSU. Nice slight of hand. But I will not accept that. I am using the listing weights on the IU roster, seeing how IU bought the scale, weighed the players and posted the weights. If Coach Wilson was okay with those weights on his roster as I am sure Coach Lembo was okay with the weights listed on his. In other words if our numbers are over stated then so is the same for BSU. I doubt DD weighed anyone. Our OL w/o TE averages 289. Our 4 man DT rotation, consisting of LB, NS, AP and RM weigh in at 305, 290, 290 305. But that did not fit your slant. As far as us being lighter than Wisconsin I do agree we are smaller, IU and 10 other B10 teams. Patience.

  28. I agree with Hoosier Clarion. No one should be surprised we have carry-over issues (problems??) that require patience while the staff addresses them. Winning is a process much more than an event. At this point we can have a critical eye, resolve, patience and the wisdom to allow the professional teacher/coaches do their job. If you want immediate results become an Ohio State or Miami Hurricane fan…but live with the slime that goes with it.

  29. HC, no slight of hand intended, just did not have (could not find) the data on BSU’s starting players. To my eye, IU looked smaller. I think I’m beating a dead horse here, but one final justification for my opinion. When a team plays three “down” D-linemen, with four linebackers behind them, the linebackers are going to be going against the opposing team’s O-linemen frequently. Because they’re outnumbered, the down D-linemen can’t “protect” the linebackers from all the O-linemen, allowing them to fill the gaps and make tackles. IU’s linebackers are clearly too small (come on, you can’t argue that, it’s obvious) to take on O-linemen and still make tackles. They got pushed back and out of the gaps all night.

    For the sake of argument, if IU’s size is not a problem, then the other potential root causes of their performance on the lines of scrimmage during the BSU game are even more disturbing. If size is not a problem, it indicates that IU is too slow, physically weak, were not motivated, were confused, have bad technique, played in the wrong scheme, are too inexperienced, or several or all of those combined. I can’t imagine the team lacked motivation. Besides just saying BSU played scrappier, what’s your opinion of why IU got beat so badly in the trenches?

  30. Podunker,
    Tried to address all of this in my story for today’s paper. What did you think of the players’ and coaches’ explanation? Not saying I think theirs is the only explanation, but just interested in your take.

  31. Dustin; I think a lot of IU’s defenders reverted back to several old and bad habits on Saturday. I’m no one to challenge Ekeler’s explanation (I don’t watch them practice) and Black seemed to confirm it, but IU resorted to several bad habits during the game. Missing tackles and playing too far off receivers are both on the list.

    But more disconcerting than reverting back to some bad habits on defense was what Wilson said about the team’s lack of energy, lack of excitement and lack of passion. How could that have happened? What happened or failed to happen to sap IU of the passion and excitement normally associated with the first game of a new season. That’s the most disturbing news of the day and suggests something very, very troubling. Those guys should have been sky high!

    I know they play one game at a time, but the young men can look at a schedule and see the games that they are most likely to win. They had to know that in order to go to a bowl game this year, beating BSU was a must. Where was the leadership from the seniors that want to experience a winning season before they depart IU?

    I hope Wilson can identify the source of that problem and make changes immediately.

  32. About our senior leadership…I was thinking about David Carr. Houston drafted him coming out of Fresno State. He spent several years getting the crap knocked out of him in Houston before they went another direction. Carolina picked him up and he quickly found himself tabbed the starter. I don’t know what he was like early in his career but he must have just been a shell of himself when he came to Carolina. The second the pocket started to collapse he curled up in the fetal position. I’m not talking about Peyton Manning not taking the big hit, he did this 10-12 times a game. He only lasted a couple games as the starter.
    I wonder if our seniors are carrying some baggage.

  33. Is there not normally a size differential when a LB goes up against an OL man? DUH! Hell Whisky LB’s are at a size disadvantage against PSU OL men. It is just the way it is; there will be a weight difference when considering a given position against a different position. The truth is their OL is not bigger than our DL, their DL is not bigger than our OL. That is the comparison you originally wanted to rant about. As far as adjustments the 3 man DL front was an attempt by the D staff to make an adjustment to confuse BSU, maybe we should have adjusted to a 5-2-4, I do not know. IU made adjustments in this game, something everyone said BL would not do. The adjustments we made were either ineffective or the wrong moves. Why did IU not continue the run game as in the 1st Q and keep some of the load off EWB? If that was an adjustment it was wrong. Why did Belcher stand on the sideline for several offensive plays so Freshmen could play instead of him(although Wynn did ok)? What puzzles me the most is why our 4 player DT rotation(supposedly our strongest D position)could not better stop the run. Hagen had our ST doing their jobs at their every appearance on the field but where was the whip he should have used to motivate the DT’s? There were mistakes made on the sideline. But at least KW organized it well enough so 3 coaches being heard in the ear of the IU QB did not create delay of game penalties. I believe IU was up for this game but BSU was higher. If we see improvement in performance on the field in game 2 it will be because there is also improvement on the sideline. Congratulations Coach Lembo.

  34. HC; we agree to disagree. I did not realize my opinion about IU’s size would offend you. Given the escalation in the tone of your posts on this subject, it appears they did. Time to move on.

  35. I may be incorrect on this but I believe only one coach is allowed to communicate with the QB and that coach is designated.

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