Ball State started the game with a fast paced offense on Saturday afternoon that got them out to an early 3-0 lead.
Indiana responded with a methodical onslaught from all three phases of the game that has them sitting at 3-0 heading into a marquee prime time week four game against Michigan State next Saturday night.
After the Cardinals moved the ball downhill on their first two drives and took a three point lead, the IU defense made the necessary adjustments and didn’t allow another score until late in the 3rd quarter.
Using a healthy dose of substitutions that involved up to 30 players, the Hoosier defense stayed fresh and shut down the Cardinals. Rested and playing downhill, the IU defense recorded three sacks and six tackles for a loss. Jonathan Crawford and Reakwon Jones led the way with five tackles each.
The IU offense and special teams were not to be outdone.
After IU matched the Ball State field goal on its initial drive, the Hoosiers took a 10-3 lead on a Stevie Scott touchdown scamper from one yard out, capping off a 12-play 69-yard drive.
Next it was time for the Hoosier special teams to shine. Punt returner and fan favorite J-Shun Harris electrified the Memorial Stadium crowd with an 85 yard punt return for a touchdown that was set up and blocked beautifully by his teammates.
For Harris, it was his third career punt return touchdown, matching his three career season ending knee injuries.
The punting troubles continued for the Cardinals on their next attempt. A bobbled catch on the snap allowed Peyton Hendershot to break through and block the kick. That set up a short field and another Hoosier touchdown as quarterback Peyton Ramsey punched it in from 5 yards out. The Hoosiers used that score to go to the lockers up 24-3 at the half.
Ramsey was his efficient and dual-threat self, going 20-27 for 173 yards through the air while adding 6 carries for 43 yards and the score on the ground.
With the defense continuing to produce stops, it was time for a Hoosier youth movement to put things away. True freshman Ronnie Walker, Jr. showed off his speed and then his power with an 18-yard plunge into the end zone the put IU up 31-3 and effectively put the game out of reach in the 3rd quarter.
Walker exploded out of the backfield and then bounced off a would-be tackler at the 2-yard line and spun into the end zone. It was a drive of the future, as fellow freshmen Scott and quarterback Michael Penix were also heavily involved.
Scott followed up his 200 yard game last week against Virginia with an 18 carry, 114 yard performance. He has nearly run for 400 yards on the young season. It wasn’t a flawless day for the freshman, as he lost a fumble in the 2nd quarter deep in Ball State territory.
The teams traded scores in the fourth quarter to put the final margin at 38-10 as the Hoosiers now look forward to the start of Big Ten play with one of the four Big Ten East royals looming.
It is the second consecutive season that Indiana went 3-0 in nonconference play, and the 17th all-time 3-0 start to a season.
The reported attendance was 40,240.
Luke Timian led IU with five catches for 56 yards.
You can view the full box score here.
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