The Midwest's best "Should-Be-A-Rivalry" is back on display when the Ball State Cardinals visit the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday afternoon.
Each of the last three times the Hoosiers and Cardinals have taken the same field, Ball State has come out on top, with their last victory being a 41-39 thriller at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. This time around, things are a bit different. Kevin Wilson has turned Indiana into a squad with a prolific offense that can do damage very quickly. And by most measures, IU's defense is slowly improving as well. Last week in the Hoosiers' 34-13 road victory over Florida International, it was actually Wilson's defense that kept Indiana in the game. IU's defense created two pick-six's, one of which sealed the victory for the Hoosiers, who trailed the Golden Panthers 13-12 at the end of three quarters.
Indiana's offensive output last week was dreadful by many metrics in last week's win. In 2015, FIU gave up nearly 30 points per game, and even though Indiana outpaced that mark in the end, it was not due to the Hoosiers' offense. Indiana often failed to finish off drives, and struggled moving the ball deep into Golden Panther territory on many occasions.
Overall, Richard Lagow was good at controlling the game for Indiana, but never did much to standout, finished 18-of-27 with 240 passing yards, 1 touchdown and no picks.
On the other hand, Ball State comes in at 1-0 as well after avenging a loss to Georgia State a year ago by going to Atlanta and winning 31-21 last Friday. Sophomore quarterback Riley Neal got the start for Ball State in Mike Neu’s first game at the Cardinals’ head coach.
However, Ball State made most of their impact on the ground. Ball State racked up over 200 yards on the ground, including 160 yards from James Gilbert in the victory.
Neal did struggle at times, finishing 15-for-28 with 130 yards and 2 interceptions, but the Cardinals’ defense stiffened when they needed to. BSU allowed under 275 yards of total offense in the victory.
All this proves that Saturday’s matchup threatens to be another great IU-BSU meeting, as the Cardinals go for four-straight victories over the Hoosiers on the gridiron.