BLOOMINGTON — The Hoosiers offense took down the clock and the Ball State Cardinals in its 38-10 home victory.
Sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey and Freshman running back Stevie Scott led the offense while Senior safety Jonathan Crawford and the rest of the Indiana defense kept them on the field. Ball State started the show with a 31 yard field goal on its first drive and Indiana wasn’t far behind. After the first two series, the game was 3-3 and fans of both teams were on the edge of their seats.
Ball State was unable to keep up as Crawford and fellow senior Reakwon Jones held Cardinal QB Riley Neal to short passes and runs. Neal was efficient at feeding the football to his rushers as well as looking downfield, but the Indiana secondary rarely allowed a play of more than 10 yards.
When Ramsey was on the field, he used Scott and true Freshman Ronnie Walker Jr. to keep the ball on the ground and wind the clock down. Scott earned his first touchdown in his second career start just five seconds into the second quarter by punching a one yard run through the Ball State D line. Kicker Logan Justus put the score at 10-3. Justus would go 5-5 for PATs.
The defense then forced a three and out, pushing the Cardinals into punting formation. J-Shun Harris II then caught the punt and beat the opposing special team for an 86 yard punt return.
By halftime in Bloomington, IU held a 24-3 lead as Ramsey got his own rushing score with 22 seconds in the half. When both teams returned for the third quarter, Ball State appeared defeated already. Walker, on his first carry as a Hoosier, scored an 18 yard touchdown for a 31-3 lead.
The final big plays for the day came from Scott with an 11 yard TD in the fourth quarter. Ball State’s lone touchdown came from a 27 yard rush by James Gilbert, also in the fourth quarter.
Ramsey would go 20-27 for 173 yards in the air with no interceptions, targeting Luke Timian, Matt Bjorson and several other receivers throughout the game. He also had 43 yards on the ground and the one TD. Scott fought for 114 rushing yards and two scores, bouncing off defenders and breaking tackles seemingly easily. “He just continues to impress me,” coach Tom Allen said of Scott.
On the other side of play, Jones and Crawford each had five tackles and one sack. The Cardinals were forced to punt eight times, with four in a row in the second half.
The Hoosiers played 26 first downs to Ball State’s 18, were 6-13 on third down conversions and 1-2 for fourth down conversions. The difference in the two offenses were obvious, as IU combined for 457 yards, 202 passing and 255 rushing, while Ball State had 347 on the day.
The undefeated Hoosiers have not been 4-0 since 1991 and they face No. 25 ranked, and Big 10 foe, Michigan State.
“Huge to get the first three,” Allen stated after the game, “That’s what you’ve got to do.”