Final Score: Indiana 34, Ball State 24
Brief Recap: It wasn’t pretty, but chalk one up in the win column for the Hoosiers. Ball State fought hard all game long and kept it a touchdown game at just over six minutes to go. Fortunately, kicker Logan Justus put the game on ice with a new career-long 50-yard field goal with just over two minutes to go.
Key Moment: With the game still up for grabs late in the fourth, starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. led a drive that would ice it. He milked four minutes off the clock while moving the Hoosiers just deep enough to get Justus in range for the game-sealing kick. Penix also provided the highlight on that drive, a 24-yard run to flip the field and get Indiana rolling.
Key Stat: 2.5. That was Stevie Scott’s average yard per carry in the game. He finished with 48 rushing yards and 2 TDs. Simply put, that number has to be better for the Hoosiers to be competitive in the B1G this season. Ball State does deserve some credit for shutting down the run, but the Hoosiers still want to play through Scott offensively.
Key Player: This goes down as a tie between Penix and Justus. Penix accounted for 393 total yards of offense and threw for a touchdown in the game, but he was not without his mistakes and threw two interceptions. Justus was a perfect 6-for-6 kicking, including 4-for-4 on field goals. Justus also extended his career-long three times in the game, finishing it off with the 50-yard field goal to ice the game.
What it Means: Indiana moves on to face Eastern Illinois next Saturday in what will be the last tuneup for the Hoosiers before beginning B1G play against Ohio State. Michael Penix Jr. did look good and should remain the starter. However, the offense has some things to clean up if the Hoosiers hope to get to a bowl game this season.