G.W. Gras

Senior Writer for The Bears Brawl and Lead Host of The Bears Brawl Podcast.

Ball State +17 at Indiana

Over / Under: 61

The Indiana Hoosiers are a team that is decent but can never be at the top of the Big 10 Conference. Of course they say, “never say never” but when Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State are in your conference – the recruiting and competition just isn’t on the same playing field. Add to the fact that you never know what kind of team Michigan State brings to the table, and improving Purdue and Nebraska programs – the Hoosiers are just left out here to be “average at best.”

Source: Corey Perrine/Getty Images North America)

This year’s Hoosier team seems a little bit different and it’s because of two young players in their offense. Wide receiver Miles Marshall, who redshirted in 2018 but played in the Hoosiers game against Rutgers; and running back Sampson James. James is a four star recruit who Indiana should be high on. The 6’1” 220 pound James will get his share of touches but sophomore Stevie Scott won’t be easy to take off of the field. Last year, Scott ran for 1,137 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Defensively, Indiana plays a 4-2-5 and relies heavily on their talented secondary to carry the weight of the offense. Considering Ball State lost quarterback Riley Neal (grad-transfered to Vanderbilt) the passing game is considered to take a step back, which falls right into the Hoosiers game-plan. Drew Plitt is the team’s starting quarterback, but even he has to try man an offense who lost their best offensive player, running back James Gilbert, another grad-transfer, who is now on Kansas State.

Ball State struggled against the run last season, allowing 5.1 yards a carry and 239.7 yards a game. In last season’s match-up, Indiana won 38-10. Even if you take away the special team’s touchdown scored in the second quarter, Indiana would still cover this year’s spread. Also, keep in mind, Ball State’s lone touchdown came off of a 27 yard run by the now departed James Gilbert.

Ball State cannot stop Indiana’s best offensive threat – the run, and will push their luck passing the ball in a one-back set against a pretty talented secondary.

The Pick: Indiana -17