4 storylines for IU’s game vs. Ball State

1. Sustaining the rushing success — and finding help.
Stevie Scott was the story of last week’s win over Virginia, when he rushed for 204 yards and one touchdown, and displayed equal parts power and patience. It seems IU has found its bell cow. This is Scott’s opportunity to back that up. At the same time, IU shouldn’t want its freshman to make a habit of taking 31 hand-offs a game, especially early in the year. Scott needs help. Mike Majette was primarily on the field for passing situations last week, but he can help run the ball in spurts. Ricky Brookins always seems to emerge as a solid third option, and the conditions should allow athlete Reese Taylor to become more of a factor this week. Of course, the more rushing success for the Hoosiers, the more IU’s quarterbacks benefit.

2. More tuneup work for Michael Penix?
Had the weather not been so dismal last weekend, Tom Allen said, Indiana would’ve found time to get backup quarterback Michael Penix onto the field. Instead, the true freshman, who completed eight of his 10 passes in the season opener against Florida International, remained on the bench for the duration of the contest. IU still has three games with which to work before Penix’s redshirt is burned, though it almost seems like it will be hard to keep Penix and his rocket arm off the field this fall. Either way, as the No. 2 quarterback, Penix needs more game experience. Saturday could be as good as any game for him to get it.

3. Where’s Whop?
The most exciting player to watch during last month’s fall camp, sophomore receiver Whop Philyor has been more of a hidden weapon than a go-to asset for Indiana through the first two weeks. The explosive slot man has only two catches — both of which came in the season opener — for 27 yards, with three total targets. Although the conditions last week probably weren’t conducive to maximizing his speed and overall skill set, that shouldn’t be an issue this week. The good thing for IU is it has a handful of capable options in its receiving corps. But few — if any on IU’s roster — can turn a short pass over the middle into a chunk gain downfield quite like Philyor can. The Hoosiers need to get him more involved.

4. All eyes on Neal.
Tom Allen praised Ball State’s Riley Neal this week, calling the redshirt junior the best quarterback IU will see during the non-conference season. Although Neal was under duress at times against Notre Dame, he flashed good poise and the ability to create on the run. Neal will likely concentrate his throws on three receivers — Riley Miller, Justin Hall and Corey Lacanaria — trying to dink and dunk his way through IU’s defense. Bottling up running back James Gilbert will be of equal priority to keep Ball State off schedule.

One comment

Comments are closed.