IU runs over Cardinals, 38-10

With his team huddled around him in the Indiana locker room, digesting his postgame remarks, Tom Allen reminded his players of the all-important truth.

“The Hoosiers are 3-0!” Allen hollered, raising his arms in triumph as his players cheered.

Saturday was indeed a day for Indiana to celebrate, the first meaningful checkpoint met in a season full of them. A 38-10 thumping of Ball State at Memorial Stadium sealed a perfect three-game run through the non-conference schedule, keeping all of IU’s season-long goals intact.

To fully realize the potential of this 2018 campaign, Indiana needed this three-game cushion entering the Big Ten season, which begins next week in Bloomington against Michigan State. Now, not only do the Hoosiers have it, they enter league play coming off their most decisive victory yet.

“Huge to get the first three,” Allen said, “and really proud of the way we did it.”

That’s because it felt like the next step in building the season this program aspires to author. After IU opened the schedule leaning on its offense at Florida International, then rode its defense to the finish line last week against Virginia, Indiana put forth its most complete effort to date in dispatching the Cardinals.

There was Stevie Scott and Peyton Ramsey propelling the offense to a commanding, 24-3 halftime lead.

There was J-Shun Harris — 11 months removed from the third ACL tear of his career — running back a second-quarter punt 86 yards for his third career touchdown return.

And there was the defense, which rebounded from a suspicious game-opening drive to keep the Ball State offense in front of it the rest of the way.

“Everyone’s kind of riding high, feeling good,” Harris said.

For good reason. Even with Ball State giving Notre Dame a fight last week in South Bend, this was precisely the kind of performance Indiana wished to see against a Mid-American Conference opponent that, in recent seasons, has made this series interesting.

Saturday’s victory comes two years after IU allowed Ball State to score the last 20 points in the Hoosiers’ 30-20 victory at Memorial Stadium, a game that snapped the Cardinals’ three-game winning streak.

But most importantly, this performance illustrated Indiana’s potential in full — an offense with balance and versatility, a young defense with emerging playmakers and a special teams dimension with scoring ability.

“Really proud of our team to come together and to be 3-0,” Allen said. “It was something we knew we needed to do, we wanted to do, but had to go out and earn it, and that’s what our guys did.”

Ramsey kept a steady hand on the offense, while Scott gave it the push it needed.

Scott rushed for 114 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns, becoming the fourth true freshman running back in IU program history to record back-to-back 100-yard rushing games — and the fastest to do so.

He broke a 3-all tie with a one-yard touchdown run to open the second quarter, then capped the scoring with an impressive 11-yard rumble, during which he refused to be slowed by Ball State’s would-be tacklers.

In a game where IU needed Scott to back up last week’s 200-yard effort, the newcomer proved once again that he can be trusted with the expectations of a top back.

“It’s all about consistency,” Scott said, “just day-in, day-out practicing my craft and just working hard every day in practice. Especially the offensive line did a great job today and in practice this week by creating holes for me and letting me gain my yardage.”

Meanwhile, Ramsey settled in nicely.

After completing only two of his first six throws on the Hoosiers’ first series, Ramsey connected on 18 of his final 19 throws of the first half.

He also finished as IU’s second-leading rusher, carrying the ball six times for 43 yards. His five-yard touchdown run to close the first half built a 24-3 halftime advantage for the Hoosiers.

“He’s proven to everybody why I picked him,” Allen said, “and I believe in him. I do. The team believes in him. He plays the way he practices, and he played the way he practiced during fall camp. So I just feel like he’s extremely dependable and consistent, and he gets first downs, leading with his legs and his arm.”

The offense also received some help from another freshman running back, Ronnie Walker. The former four-star high school prospect scored on his first collegiate carry — a bouncing 18-yard run through the Ball State defense that gave IU a 31-3 lead three minutes into the second half.

“This was my first chance, so it was make it or break it,” Walker said. “I knew these boys up front would put me in the end zone.”

Although Ball State opened the game with a methodical 12-play, 61-yard drive that ended in three points, Indiana’s defense largely controlled things from there. At times, it was a bend-don’t-break operation, but the Hoosiers shut down the Cardinals on third down (4-for-14), while keeping Ball State’s offense in front of them for much of the afternoon.

James Gilbert’s 27-yard touchdown run with 2:08 left in the third quarter was the only real damage done by Ball State’s offense.

“Gave some things up a little bit offensively yards wise, but the key is points,” Allen said. “That’s the only stat I care about is points. We gave up 10 points. I thought we only should have given up three. The last one shouldn’t have happened. We’ve got some young guys in there that made some mistakes, but we’ll get that fixed.”

Right now, what matters most is what’s next — Big Ten play and the attainable goals the Hoosiers are striving to reach.

“It’s a blessing,” Scott said of starting 3-0. “We just need to keep it up and dominate every opponent we have and keep playing hard.”

47 comments

  1. Overall IU played a very good game. To beat MSU, IU will need to play like they have each first half but finish up with a very good second half. The offense showed diversity today but still I have some concerns. Hale didn’t have any catches and Westbrook was ineffective. The TEs are getting more receptions this year but we need the WR to get pass that stretch the field at times. Our running game is steady so far with the ability to have some big runs as the OL is getting the job done.

    Defensively IU adjusted as the game went on and overall did a good job shutting down BSU. Early the BSU QB was hurting IU with his running but IU adjusted and started getting him shutdown. IU isn’t a shut down defense but seem to find ways to stop offenses. Life will get tougher in conference play but except for OSU it looks like the defense can keep the team in the game.

    It was good to see the special teams make a difference in this game.

    The best thing right now is the offense compliments the defense. We may be missing the big play offense but this offense eats up time and scores points most drives. It gives the defense time to recover and make adjustments.

  2. Great win! All phases involved. Scott’s 2nd TD was next level. This is a special kid ladies and gents. Enjoy it! MSU will have their hands full next week. We haven’t dipped all the way into the playbook yet. This could be a special season! I got sunburnt today. Looking forward to a cool night at The Rock and an exciting matchup next week. Go Hoosiers!!!

  3. A very good all around game: offense, defense, and special teams. Peyton is very consistent: 20/27, but this game 0 interceptions and some important runs. Penix is also consistent: 80% with 0 interceptions. Stevie is good: averaging over 125/game. Now we also have Walker. He will be very good as well. How can IU not complete a pass to Hale during the entire game? The defense works extremely hard. The secondary is not fouling as much. IU is deep at LB but we do not have a “killer” like last year. Reakon is getting much better. J’Shaun is amazing! GO IU!

    1. While it would be great to get every playmaker a touch, the fact is TEN different players had receptions.

      The ball was being spread around. For one game Hale didn’t have a catch. BFD.

      Ten other players did.

      1. Hale is our best receiver, our top NFL prospect, 6’4/ 220, and fast with a good vertical. He must be targeted often for IU to win!

  4. Ramsey played well today. Here comes the meat of the schedule. Someone is eventually going to have to stretch the field and keep opposing defenses honest. More talented teams will start pressuring up front and make IU prove they can (Go down field). Is Penix ready? Or can Ramsey do it? Success is going to be based on improving because this team has a pretty high ceiling for that.

  5. It seems as though from last to this year T.A. goes with the qb he chooses for a long time until almost forced to make change. Once he chose P.R. last year he didn’t change back. Not saying that’s bad, rather just an observation.

    1. What kind of crowd do you think we will have next week? If the fans won’t show up for the MSU game, there is no hope for our fan base. With a good crowd, we can beat MSU and go 4-0 heading into the Rutgers game.

      I can’t believe the 0-2 Pukes appear to have a full house or close to it tonight against Missouri. We were 2-0 going into a game against a Ball State team that played ND tough and we had another poor crowd on an absolutely beautiful day for a game. Why do the Purdue students support their team and the IU students just want to party?

      1. Chet & HC,
        Both your comments you sound like you are whistling past the graveyard. Fan support is why PU can always be on the verge of a good season while IU always struggles. PU may be having a terrible year, but the recruits look at how full are the stands and is the team supported. TA is in a steep uphill struggle to bring IUFB to relevance. If he can perform the miracle of getting IU to a winning season, then at that point it is all on Hoosier Nation. Either you support him all out or let him wither on the vine the way they did Mallory.

  6. Mizzou had the worst secondary I have ever seen. They gave up a bazillion yards passing and still beat the Boils.

    1. Purdue receivers were just open. They looked like they were wandering around a Walmart parking lot at 3:00am.

      Purdue had to be exceptionally bad to lose that game.

  7. Happy and relieved that we won this game today. Pleased that we dominated a weaker team as we should have (that has not always been the case with IU). Ramsey played very well today. He ran the ball well and he passed well. But he still has not demonstrated the ability to throw deep downfield. That’s my only concern with this offense. Ramsey didn’t have to throw deep today because IU dominated the outmanned BSU defense, but that’s not going to be the case next week, or for most of the rest of the season. We’re not going to dink and dunk and outlet pass our way to beating teams like MSU and Iowa. If we don’t force these upcoming defenses to respect our downfield passing attack, they will shut down the run and dare Ramsey to beat them deep. Let’s hope DeBord has been holding Ramsey back so as to surprise MSU next week. I want to see some home run balls!

    1. Po,
      You raise the issue of the one possible major chink in PR’s armor. He does everything else well, but can he stretch the field vertically? If they have been keeping their powder dry for B1G play, great. If he cannot get the ball deep downfield effectively, it will be a problem. OSU, PSU, maybe UM & MSU have too good of defenses to leave the downfield unchallenged. Hopefully they have a solution. Beyond that kudos to PR for a very well played game.

  8. Ranger67, you raise an important point about the attendance in today’s game, and what it will be next week. Attendance was, once again, very disappointing today. People can’t blame the weather this time; it was a beautiful day. I guess the noon kickoff was too early for a lot of folks, or BSU simply was not a worthy opponent! But it is outright embarrassing to see so many empty seats in Memorial Stadium. I’ll be there next Saturday. Travelling over 2,000 miles to see the Hoosiers take on MSU. I doubt I’ll have trouble finding tickets.

    What’s it going to take to motivate The Hoosier Nation to attend IU’s home football games?

    1. It’s going to take a winning season with a signature win before people support the team again. Too many times we’ve heard “this is the year” only to find out it wasn’t. That’s not fair to this year’s team but it’s reality. IU has won 3 games they were expected to win. That is more than Wisconsin, MSU, Northwestern or Purdue can say. But it’s not enough to risk investing 8 hours of precious weekend time only to leave disappointed yet again. The “breakthrough” season that didn’t occur after 10 straight years of bad to mediocre football has just soured the experience. Fool me once…. but fool me for more than a decade?

      1. 123,
        I hate to sound repetitive, but Coach Mallory did all that you suggest and even more to gain the support of the people. Still, he got nowhere near the support his accomplishments should have demanded. The question is if TA is able to produce what your say is required to gain support from the people, will they be any different than they were 30 years ago? The history of IUFB support suggests they will not, yet again. I would love to be proved wrong, as real, not illusionary, support for the IUFB program would be the first meaningful step forward in IUFB history.

        1. The best thing about IU Football for the players is the road games….Though it’s a “murderer’s row” of opponents in the BigTen East, it’s also a blessing in disguise for a program that struggles for popularity on its own campus grounds. Great exposure against upper echelon teams(3 to 4 almost always nationally ranked in the Top 10) allows a recruit to prove himself against the best in hostile environments.
          We bitch about the brutal conference play by being in the Big10 East, but it’s honestly the best thing IU Football has going for it.
          It not only presses our team/coach to be much better, it realistically measures our team(and our recruits) against an elite standard to aspire.
          People forget and forgive poor history very quickly…One winning season, along with a couple major upsets against conference foes, and bandwagon(ism) will build.
          The only thing that can give IU Football legitimacy stands before us. Every conference game(outside of Rutgers..or Purdue) we get the OPPORTUNITY to play the role of David against Goliath. You think the stands are empty now? We should count our lucky stars to have such a negligent history in the sport and still be allowed to take the field against the ‘Monsters of the Midwest.’ Every weekend here on out we get to be Buster Douglas against Mike Tyson. Every weekend a Hoosier has a shot to stun the college football world. How can that not be fun and valued by sticks of dynamite like Stevie Scott, Reese Taylor, Peyton Ramsey?

          1. And you should thank Bob Knight and those banners in Assembly Hall every day IU Football still has the OPPORTUNITY to play against BigTen East opponents. We are basically Butler Football without the dreamy days in hoops still feeding whatever remains of tradition and excellence in a major sport in Bloomington. Start worrying mightily when Assembly is half empty against a cupcake team.
            And it was Knight who strongly advocated hiring Bill Mallory…(the guy most of you profess to be instrumental in bringing the only rays of historical sunshine upon the “graveyard”).

            Quit bitching and whining about the fans lack of interest. Be forever thankful that 30,000 on any given Saturday still believe IU Football deserves an OPPORTUNITY to play against some of the top football programs in the country. People don’t break down the doors of restaurants known to be full of cockroaches…..

    2. Beautiful? Yes, to look at. 91 degrees in the shade–very high humidity–not a cloud in the sky until late in the game–occasional 6mph breeze from the north–weather was brutally uncomfortable–definitely heat stroke conditions. I am also hoping that we have cooler wx and a great turnout for the MSU game. With a 7:30 p.m. start time, there will be no excuse for fans to stay at home. Po, for what it’s worth, In S.R. 37/I69 Indy to Bloomington has 4 lanes open now. Enjoy your time in the hills of Monroe County. Go Hoosiers!!!!!

  9. The B1G took a beating Saturday yet IU came out and played well against a team that took ND to the wire. IU still has things to work on but they are getting better every game. They need to continue that improvement this week against MSU. It isn’t easy taking a program from being solid to one that is very good, all you have to look at is FSU and Nebraska to see how quickly teams can decline. Wisconsin’s defense looked porous against BYU and not like the tough defenses Wisconsin usually has. The only winning team in the West was Iowa and they weren’t really challenged by N Iowa. OSU looked very good and could be one of the top four teams in the country. PSU has recovered from the first game and their offense looks very good. UM is getting better but they haven’t really played a strong team since ND. Rutgers looks like a train wreck and could be in disarray by the time IU plays them. Maryland looked not like the same team, so is it because Texas isn’t a good measure as an opponent or did Maryland look past Temple.

    The concern about IUFB being in decline under coach Allen is being destroyed but IU needs to win B1G games coming up. It was good to see Walker in the game and running well. He shows the talent to start getting more reps and becoming a good compliment to Scott. IU is averaging over 200 yards / game rushing the ball and over 200 yards / passing the ball. The offense is very balanced this year but we need to start seeing the WR becoming a bigger part of the offense. There are several ways to get big scoring passes and IU needs to start finding ways to do that. Now they have done that when in the red zone and it would be nice to see that out on the field not just the red zone.

    It was great seeing Harris returning a punt for a TD again after going through 3 ACL surgeries. IU also got a punt block for the first time in a while although it took a fumbled snap by BSU to get the block. The KO team still needs work but I like Taylor in that position.

    The team is a work in progress with all the young players that see the field but so far the team looks to be a much different squad than we have seen for a while. This opening game of the B1G season for IU is a very important one as it will determine where IU really is right now. It would be great to be 4-0 after MSU with a great shot at being 5-0 heading into OSU. Go Hoosiers beat Sparty!

  10. I am honestly somewhat (but most pleasantly!) surprised we are 3-0. I thought there were a lot more questions than known quantities coming in. Therefore, I wasn’t convinced of an undefeated B1G pre-season despite the opponents. All credit to the coaches and players!

    If you suppose (barring what would be massive upsets) that U of M, OSU, and PSU are losses, we need .500 results for the remainder of the schedule. While not easy, that does appear completely out of the realm of possibility. Maybe we can even fare a tad better record-wise.

    Of course, our performance will have to continue to improve commensurate with the upswing in competition of B1G opponents. As others have pointed out already, the big question mark is can we get our dynamic WRs more involved and make defenses respect a legitimate deep threat. That would really help our running game, as I can’t foresee it – even with a more experienced and improving OL compared to last year – continuing to dominate given the quality of teams. I also wonder how well the defense will stand up over the remainder of the schedule.

    Despite the questions, it’s nice to be in this position at this juncture. And, I’ll just add, Penix has a proverbial cannon for an arm!

  11. In a half century + of IU FB faNscination I can never remember a time when I was unable to keep track of all the players IU had on the field. It was challenging at times during the Wilson era. Continued improved recruiting and a RS rule change has energized player development for Coach Allen.
    Dominating the OOC opponents is something I’ve believed essential to the positive future of a good team for a long long time. Allen has all the components in place for that positive future. Really like giving KO return responsibilities to Reese as he is quickly adjusting to the speed of the college game. An Allen coached D always gets better as the season plays through. DeBord called a quality game. He still is cautious but is finding ways to get Whop, Ty, Walker, Reese and young TE’s opportunities. A little more aggressiveness won’t hurt but at least he is testing the water. Got to demand even more from the OL now the B1G is here. PR sure has the skills to keep control of a game. He has much to do with the positive vibe Coach Allen wants the team to project. Can DO!!!
    The buzzards are coming home to roost in West Laughyette. You make your own breaks. IU is, PUke isn’t. Just as it should be.

  12. Unfortunately, I think 123 is correct. But the great irony of The Hoosier Nation’s fan support for Football is that in order to get that “signature win” against quality Big Ten opponents, it helps the cause if IU plays its home games in a stadium filled with supportive fans. The fewer Hoosier fans that show up to cheer IU, the less likely IU is to beat teams like MSU. I’m not even sure if IU can claim that their home field is an advantage anymore! And as thinkaboutit stated, Mallory’s teams produced signature wins and The Hoosier Nation didn’t really care all that much. Fan support was still weak.

    The Purdue fans that chant “IU Sucks” have it wrong. IU does NOT suck! IU is a great school, and IU-B is one of the most beautiful college campuses in the world. However, I’m not sure I could argue the point right now if those classless Purdue fans were to change their chant to “IU fans suck.”

  13. PO- I disagree. In business, if a product isn’t selling, no one blames the consumers. But when IU football isn’t selling, everyone tries to blame the fans. IU has put out a bad product for many years. The fans have been rational- stay home or stay to halftime to avoid having to watch yet another loss. The product needs to be better. The best memories for alumni since the early 90’s are games IU almost won- not even upsets. Just “hey, remember when we almost beat Ohio State?” Or” how about those back to back years we almost beat Michigan.” That simply isn’t good enough. Win games against quality opponents and fans will show up.

    1. 123,
      You frame of reference may be after the times that some of us are remembering. We remember the great teams of the 80’s put on the field by Bill Mallory and still no support. I understand the sales aspect perfectly, but there was what you are asking for and still insufficient support. It goes back further than that into a couple Pont teams of the 60’s and even before then.

  14. 123, the “product” you refer to has not been bad in the previous three seasons. Two bowl games in a row and a near miss last year. Numerous IU players getting drafted and making NFL rosters. Improved facilities, etc. I have certainly been an outspoken (and direct) critic of IU’s administration over the last four decades, so you’ll get no argument from me about the terrible job those administrators have done relative to our football program. But that is changing in several important ways. And in any “relationship,” both parties have a responsibility to do their part. IU is 3 – 0. They are not a top-ten team yet, but they are playing sound football, are competitive with almost every team they face, and put a lot of exciting talent on the field. If The Hoosier Nation wants to see a winning product put on the field, it’s time we start to reinvest in helping that product become a winner.

    1. It’s going to take more that a “signature win” and some winning seasons to change the culture of apathy to IUFB. The problem is generations deep. But those certainly are preconditions for the change we all want to see.

      That IU’s bye date is late in the season (Nov. 3, betwixt Minnie and Mary) is, to my way of thinking, certainly a plus for the Hoosiers. The rest and recuperation to be gathered in week ten are probably a lot more precious than they would be in, say, week three. I’d rather that the bye was a week later, in front of Mich. (coming off of PSU at home), but I’m still plenty happy with Nov. 3.

    2. Po- I have a friend that lives in Columbus, OH. He went to IU but 25 years in Columbus has made him a Buckeyes fan. He always asks “why do you support IU Football when even the IU Administration doesn’t support the team?” It’s a damn good question. Don’t blame the fans for not supporting a team the IU administration isn’t willing to support first.

      1. I guess that’s easier than being an FSU fan and supporting them while their players get arrested all the time. Or being a Penn State fan…for obvious reasons. Then you have Michigan State.

        Lack of administrative support? Yeah, I’ll still support the Hoosiers.

      2. 25 years in Columbus has made him a Buckeye fan rather than his alma mater of Indiana?

        Alma, life had just begun
        But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away
        Alma, ooo….sier
        Didn’t mean to make you cry Buckeye
        If I’m not back again this time tomorrow
        Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really maters
        Nothing really maters

        Anyone can see
        Nothing really maters nothing really maters to me
        Anyway the wind blows

  15. 123’s friend in Columbus (real name Benedict Arnold) may ask logical questions. But it’s a matter of heart, not head, not to mention gratitude for the education and opportunities. If you attended Marquette or DePaul or some other quasi-college which abandoned football, then you are free to adopt any football program which strikes your fancy. And of course, you would choose to be front-runner and adopt OSU, ND, etc. Or, as is the case with a good friend of mine, he has loads of family in Alabama and never went to college, so if he rolls with the Tide you can’t find any fault there. But even the drug-addled Beach Boys knew that you have to “Be True to Your School.” What did OSU ever do for traitor Ben other than dangle the reflected glory and inflated self-esteem available to anyone and everyone living in the town where he or she happened to get a job years ago? Not that I have strong feelings on the subject.

  16. IU is obviously a State University. IU’s administrators ultimately work for the people of the state of Indiana. The Board of Trustees is elected by a part of
    the Hoosier Nation. Alumni should have a lot of influence in how the University is run, with IU Athletics a highly visible part of how those administrators’ are doing their job. If we’re not satisfied with the “product” being put on the field, then we should make sure those administrators are hearing it, and demand change. Not buying season tickets or not showing up for home games, or not writing checks to IU is obviously not an effective way to communicate our dissatisfaction with how those administrators manage the football program. But if people are paying attention, they’d see that IU’s key administration began making significant changes, starting with relatively large upgrades to the football facilities. Show me a Hoosier Alum who has become a Buckeye fan, and I’ll show you a fair weather fan. It’s as easy to root for OSU Football as it is to jump on a band wagon. Watch him closely when IU BB plays OSU for the Big Ten Championship.

  17. IU is obviously a State University. IU’s administrators ultimately work for the people of the state of Indiana.

    Should have told that to Crean when he was attempting to turn it into a private Marquette…via his narrow doctrines/beliefs and using a twitter page with official “state” symbols and images of Indiana University/Indiana Basketball
    Crean wasn’t working for “the people.” He was using “the people” to promote a private belief system and impose it, unnecessarily and inappropriately, upon a public university.

  18. Whatever reason people decide to support/not support, show up for games/stay home, to me is their individual choice. I am interested in seeing if this season is different than the others when we have gone 3-0 even 4-0. Will it continue to build with wins or will we struggle with BTen competition? IU depth has always been a problem in the past as we run out of gas in late 3rd and into the 4th. That is what I want to see throughout the conf. schedule.

  19. Agree…It’s not like early success (against primarily patsy non-conference) isn’t something we’ve been very conditioned to until regular season reality slaps us in the face….again. How did we get duped again?
    That being said, I think this team looks in better condition and with more speed(defensively, offensively, and special teams) than in the recent past. And we have some pretty big boys up front….

    The key in “breaking through” may just be to continue to play very clean/mistake free football. The mistakes(mental and penalties) are doubly detrimental when playing with less depth and overall talent.

  20. CaliHoosier, yes we will “struggle” with Big Ten competition. Yes, we will lose some games to Big Ten teams. But there are three or four Big Ten teams on the schedule this season that we can beat. Given that they lost of ASU, Michigan State is one of those teams that we have a chance to beat.

    I think T.A. is building depth. That’s obvious from this year’s group of running backs and the number of linebackers that have already gotten playing time this season. And so far (knock on wood), IU is pretty healthy going into conference play. We have a good chance to produce a winning season, and people should be motivated to show up and support the team inside Memorial Stadium.

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