Pain was the prediction in Madison, and Ball State was expected to bounce back in a big way against Eastern Michigan.
The only thing that didn’t follow the plan? Seeing Indiana punter Erich Toth nine times in the night cap after five punts in the opening three games for the Hoosiers.
Consider that a sign that things didn’t go too well against Missouri.
MISSOURI 45, INDIANA 28
This just in: the back end of the SEC is better than the back end of the Big Ten.
With a pair of offenses playing in a similar spread hurry-up style, Missouri simply did it better. They bested Indiana in Bloomington by a final score of 45-28. The Tigers piled up 623 total yards on 97 plays from scrimmage. Both teams averaged at least six yards per play, but for a third week in a row, a slow offensive start put the Hoosiers behind the eight ball.
The only difference this time around was the fact that once the Hoosiers got rolling in the second quarter, the momentum didn’t continue into the second half.
After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, Indiana tied the game with 6:31 left in the first half on a Tevin Coleman two-yard TD run. That was the play following a 77-yard catch and run by Cody Latimer.
Missouri then proceeded to score the next 24 points. What seemed to the be the turning point was the best grab of the night. And it was by a Tiger defensive linemen.
Kony Ealy snared a Nate Sudfeld pass intended for a slant route out of mid-air, and then raced 49 yards down the field untouched for a touchdown. That gave Missouri a two-score advantage and the Hoosiers would never seriously threaten again.
When it appeared Nate Sudfeld had a lock on the quarterback position after three weeks, an ineffective start to the second half relegated him to the sidelines. However, Tre Roberson’s struggles might have even further cemented Sudfeld’s status as the Hoosiers’ top signal caller. The offense collected just one first down on the first three drives led by Roberson.
The two would each rotate back in to finish the game. Sudfeld finished with 229 yards passing, going 21 of 39 with a touchdown and three picks. Roberson would lead two late scoring drives, including a 68-yard TD pass to Shane Wynn and a rushing TD. He’d finish with 170 yards of total offense in the second half.
Indiana now heads into a bye week and into Big Ten play, hosting Penn State in its fifth straight home game on October 5th. The Hoosiers also now must find four wins in Big Ten play to reach a bowl game for the first time in six years.
It’s still possible. I’m just not sure I’d classify it as likely.
NOTRE DAME 17, MICHIGAN STATE 13
The box score reflected Michigan State’s style of game. And they still couldn’t muster up enough offense to overcome the Irish in South Bend.
Tommy Rees was held to just 14 completions, and a season-low 142 yards passing. The running game struggled for a second straight week, totaling 82 yards on 32 attempts. However, that’s just over 30 more yards than MSU has been allowing on a per game basis this season.
Credit Michigan State for completely neutralizing the playmakers at wide receiver for the Irish. DaVaris Daniels had three catches, but for a whopping total of six yards. TJ Jones grabbed just two passes, however one was for a touchdown. He’d total just 15 yards of offense.
The Spartans outgained the Irish by 30 yards, but neither side will be boasting about its offensive totals. Michigan State collected 254 yards to Notre Dame’s 224.
The key for Notre Dame was to avoid mistakes, and for the most part, they did. There were no turnovers by the Irish, although an early blocked punt did lead to a short field goal attempt that was summarily missed by Michigan State.
And the only Michigan State miscue, an interception from sophomore QB Connor Cook led to a short field, which was followed by the last Notre Dame touchdown, a seven-yard run by Cam McDaniel.
The Irish continue their homestand with Oklahoma next Saturday.
WISCONSIN 41, PURDUE 10
The Boilers gave you reason for hope and optimism a week ago. Wisconsin ran right over those feelings on its way to the end zone on Saturday afternoon.
The program that has surpassed Ohio State and Michigan as the bringers of destruction and doom for both Purdue and Indiana did it again to the Boilermakers at Camp Randall. The Badgers rolled up 388 yards on the ground, including amazingly identical stellar performances by their top two running backs.
Melvin Gordon had 16 carries for 147 yards, while James White picked up just two yards less on the same amount of touches. Corey Clement was 17 yards away from making it three Wisconsin backs to hit the 100-yard mark in the romp.
Purdue had a brief flurry of activity in the second quarter, capping a 55-yard scoring drive with a Rob Henry 22-yard TD run on a busted play. That was then immediately followed by a Ricardo Allen interception and a field goal to bring the Boilers back within four at 14-10.
It got no better from that point forward. In fact, Purdue’s offense totaled just 50 yards from that moment on, with 54 coming on one drive in the fourth quarter. A quick check of the math equals up to seven drives totaling negative four yards between the middle of the second quarter and the end of the game.
Wisconsin is going to put up those type of numbers rushing the ball against a lot of teams this year. What has to be most concerning for Darrell Hazell is that the offense regressed the progress made a week ago against Notre Dame.
The Boilers struggles running the ball continued, picking up just 45 total yards. Now, 29 yards were lost on sacks by Wisconsin, but still the average yards per carry for Akeem Hunt and Dalyn Dawkins were only 3.4 and 3.8 yards per carry respectively. That’s great for GPA’s, not so much for moving the football.
And Henry was only a 50 percent passer after completing 25 of 40 last week. Purdue averaged just 3.8 yards per pass attempt in the loss.
The Boilers return home for another test in Northern Illinois next week before a bye, then Big Ten play resumes with a visit to Ross-Ade by Nebraska.
BALL STATE 51, EASTERN MICHIGAN 20
The return to MAC-tion was second only to another return for the Cardinals. Jahwan Edwards played for the first time since the opener after suffering a concussion.
His yardage totals weren’t overly gaudy, picking up 81 yards on 15 carries. But his sense for the end zone paid dividends for Ball State, finding pay dirt three times in the win.
Ball State spotted the Eagles an early touchdown, then rattled off the next 27 points. And after blowing an 18-point first half lead last week, Ball State kept pouring it on in the second half.
The Cards racked up 543 yards of total offense, and a week removed from five giveaways, BSU lost just one fumble.
Ball State returns home to play Toledo next week in a key battle already for who could represent the West division in the MAC title game.