4 storylines to Indiana’s game against Ball State

1. Can the Hoosiers silence the chirping?

Ball State has won the last three meetings in this series, and Indiana has a chance to exact a measure of revenge. More importantly, a win would assure Indiana of a winning non-conference record. To keep a second consecutive bowl appearance within close reach, IU should feel obligated to win at least two of its three non-league games this month. Ball State presents an opportunity to do so. The Cardinals, with a new coach, young quarterback and muted outside expectations, are the kind of team Indiana needs to beat on its home turf. This afternoon, they’ll have the chance to reverse the narrative of this in-state series and find a charge of momentum that can be carried into next week’s bye.

2. How well does the Indiana run defense fare?

Georgia State settled in with its running game last week at Georgia State, rushing for 325 total yards and 6.2 yards per touch. James Gilbert accounted for 160 of those yards, finding the end zone twice as the Cardinals claimed the opening-week win. Limiting him between the tackles could be Indiana’s top defensive objective. Of course, Ball State wasn’t totally reliant on Gilbert. Backup Darian Green presents a nice change of pace option, and even quarterback Riley Neal got loose a couple times, including a long run of 46 yards.

3. Can IU pressure Riley Neal into making mistakes?

The rushing totals came in part due to Neal’s struggles to settle in at quarterback. The sophomore was intercepted on both of his first two possessions, including on a batted ball at the line that was returned for a score. He eventually found a groove and completed seven of his eight passes in the second half. IU’s defensive line should be closer to full strength with the expected return of experienced defensive tackle Ralph Green III (suspension). Should the Hoosiers bring the pressure, an opportunistic defense that intercepted three passes last week could take it from there.

4. What’s the next step for Richard Lagow?

Lagow’s Indiana debut last week featured a playbook tailored to his comfort. He turned in a fine effort, throwing for 240 yards and playing with poise for four quarters. Afterwards, Lagow and IU’s offensive staff were in agreement that there was much to clean up. That includes the precision on Lagow’s throws, along with an offense that bogged down on trips across midfield. Perhaps Indiana opens the playbook a bit more for Lagow in his second start, or maybe the Hoosiers stick once again with a backfield that is at least five tailbacks deep. Another game plan that allows Lagow to settle in should benefit him ahead of the bye, and no matter his workload, Indiana needs to see more of what Lagow gave the Hoosiers during last week’s second half.


  1. IU will play better this week as the away game was a long trip. They have had a longer week to prep for BSU and to work on the issues from the FIU game. I hope they do open up the game for Lagow to help the RBs with a defense spread out to help stop the passing game. The offense should be able to cut loose and put points on the board. The defense will improve on tackling and slow down the running game while still putting pressure on the QB. The IUFB wants to go 2-0 and they will play hard to get the job done.

  2. I think this game could be tighter than many are anticipating. Ball State will come to play.

    Off-topic a bit….I do miss ScoopTalks. Enjoyed the back and forth of two “ScoopMasters” providing the insights. There was also a much homier feel to watch a couple coworkers fighting the obvious unpredictable giggles…and smirks… and interplay of secret understandings/thoughts that can only develop in the trenches of long office friendships. Selfie presentation videos somewhat fall in the realm of packaged speeches and seem a bit cold in comparison.
    ScoopTalks brought a feeling of camaraderie to the lonely viewer/listener who types from this side of the late night mysterious curtain. Hard to explain….There’s something about the ScoopTalk that cures not having a buddy to share the game. Even with all the hustle and bustle, the crowded grocery stores, the packed streets, the devices to open our doors to the Twitterverse, it can’t replace chatting side by side with a beating heart and a smile hitching a ride with wide eyes igniting the sparks of human spontaneity. I may not be part of the conversation, but it burns the same primeval DNA flames of brotherhood to comfort a lonely hermit in the hills …or ease a bout of the urban solitude blues.
    Don’t make SportsReport just another gray sky of talking to us rather than with us. LiveChats and ScoopTalks were truly the sunshine of Hoosier Scoop. And when you could bring in a special guest(e.g. Osterman, a rookie from IDS, or the invisible Chronic Hoosier), I almost felt like I could pull up a chair.

    Just my late night howling to the moon…..

    1. Harvard,
      I hear you, man. ScoopTalks aren’t going anywhere. We’ll continue to use the same format as always postgame.

      I’m not entirely opposed to doing the in-game live chat, but moderating the trolls became a full-time job itself during games. I think the H-T was the last outlet to hang on to the live chats. Interest waned on both sides. Plus, the conversation seems to have migrated more toward Twitter in recent years. That’s where we are now.

      It’s not live chat, I realize, but the comment section under the gameday ticker can be used as a live thread.

  3. H4H, I agree with both of your points. I hope IU wins big but BSU will find a way to keep things close unless IU unleashes the offense. Lagow showed there is no reason to hold back on the passing game and I hope the coaches give him the opportunity to cut loose. IU will need a strong passing attack against the best of the B1G teams. I know Coach Wilson wants to have a tough running game but will have to wait until Patrick gets back or they can start using Natee and Newton to have a power running game. It was good to see a two back offense but they need to run plays for a two back offense.

    The defense needs to play hard once again and show the FIU wasn’t a fluke game for the defense but something to build on and get better. Continue to get take-aways for the offense to get the ball back quicker. They need to cause more fumbles and recoveries with the way they tackle. They still need to reduce the number of missed tackles and reduce the number of deep passes they were beaten on. It is time for the team to put it altogether for the entire game.

  4. IU fb has a pretty full team of 3 star recruits now with many who have experience in the program. IU fb has some decent coaches. Of course Ball State will dogfight to bear a big ten team and intrastate school. Ball State has talent but not near as much as IU. Ball State wants to keep there dominance (sadly) of IU going. IU wants to put this in the IU win column where it should be. IU should have a lot of motivation and win by at least 3 touchdowns. However, Ball State beat Georgia State by a similar margin as IU beat FIU. How does FIU match up against Georgia State? IU can not let Ball State out physical them.

  5. We will find out a lot about this IUFB team this game. They have film of themselves and know what to work on to get better. It is time to stop the dominance by BSU just as IU has done with PU in the Oaken Bucket game.

    IU now has their suspended players available so the team is near full strength. It will help the offense and defense out getting those players back. We will see what kind of pride these players have as they should want the dominance to end. It is important to get the passing game going and I don’t mean throwing bombs early but getting the ball into the hands of playmakers. Ball distribution last week wasn’t very good and needs to improve in today’s game. I also would like to see the RB rotation get established as I want to see how Gest responds . It appears that Majette has established himself as the #2 RB for now. Based on camp news I expected D Williams to have a major roll behind Redding but Majette had a much better game,

    Game time is just 5 hours away and the players will be jacked up to take the field. I want to see how our OL dominates BSU DL and how our receivers match up with BSU defenders.It would be great to see our coaches open up the offense against BSU.

  6. Mike-
    Thanks for the response…
    Glad to hear ScoopTalks are staying. Maybe it was before your arrival at HT, but I also remember rather spontaneous ScoopTalks if something very significant was breaking in Hoosier sports. The ‘Going Solo’ nights were also sorta fun as we were invited into dimly lit posh hotel accommodations to hear ScoopMaster’s thoughts before hitting the silk pillows.
    Hope you consider bringing in guests on occasion as well…Reunion ScoopTalks when any of the legendary HT members I drove out of town would also be great fun. You blew a shot when Dusty was in B-town for a wedding.
    Now that you have login procedures, would it be that difficult to implement it into a LiveChat. DoubleDown was a huge fan of LiveChats. Sure, it got clownish and cynical…and over-the-top as emotions hinged on every up and down of a game…But that’s what also made it a blast. Some of those contributors had marvelous wit(and that included the ScoopMasters who seemed to feel more at ease to let their humorous side and personalities shine through under less regimented circumstances). Wilmont’s Kissy Face….Landon Turner Overdrive….and Tijan Forever…..and FLAGGGGGGSSSSSSSSS! Nothing compares to being at a game, but LiveChats were certainly a unique gathering hole for a select set of uniquely Indiana fans. Twitter is for twits. Sorry, just is. And it’s damn silly to see an endless row of twitter portraits raining down on a page. You guys are all drop-dead handsome, but……?

    v13- You da man.

  7. Just one other note of sorts….
    The Fairfield Inn jingle makes me more tense than fifteen seconds of happy elevator music while in eternal descent to the caverns of torment at Hades.

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