Indiana hosts sunshine and Ball State this Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Indiana is the heavy favorite in their last non-conference game. We’ll set the line on Tom Allen Trashcan Takedowns at 0.5.
1. Stevie Scott total carries – Over/Under 16.5
Freshman Stevie Scott is tied for 4th nationally in carries per game and tops among freshman at 25.5. Part of this was dictated from the monsoon-like weather against Virginia that forced Indiana to rely on a power running game. It worked as Scott ran for 204 yards on 31 carries. That was the most carries by an Indiana running back since Devine Redding’s 35 against Duke in the Pinstripe Bowl. While Scott has proven productive, Indiana must find some complementary rushers and limit his carries. He’s on pace for 306 carries which would have been tops in the nation last year.
2. Nick Westbrook receiving yards – Over/Under 89.5
The junior has gotten off to a slow start in his return from injury. In two games he has just 7 receptions on 10 targets for 59 yards and a touchdown. While his catch rate is solid, his yards per attempt average is very low. Obviously the aforementioned weather played a role in him just having 3 targets against Virginia. Headed into game 3 after a year-long absence, it seems he is ready for a big game. In 2016 he had his first career 100 yard game against Ball State with 3 catches for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns.
3. Ball State yards per pass attempt in non-garbage time – Over/Under 6.39
Against Notre Dame, QB Riley Neal passed for just 180 yards on 50 attempts. That dismal performance was obviously against a tough defense.[ref]The Irish are 4th in defensive S&P+.[/ref] Things were a lot easier in Ball State’s opener against Central Connecticut State where Riley averaged 8.6 yards per attempt. In his career, he is averaging 6.1 yards per attempt. That is not very good although it is barely higher than Peyton Ramsey’s 6.0 career YPA. Indiana’s defense is currently 17th in YPA allowed at 5.0, buoyed slightly by the Virginia game. Since Tom Allen arrived at Indiana, the Hoosiers rank 25th nationally in YPA[ref]When you exclude Liberty who is making their FBS debut this season[/ref] at 6.6. In the 2016 game against Indiana, Riley averaged 7.7 YPA.
4. Indiana punt return yards – Over/Under 25.5
It’s good to have J-Shun Harris back although he has yet to get loose on a punt return. He’s returned just 4, gaining 8 total yards. Last season he had 5 games in which he returned a punt. In 3 of those he averaged 86 return yards and in the other two he averaged just under 5. This one might come down to how many times Indiana forces Ball State to punt. Ball State punted 7 times and faced 5 returns against Notre Dame allowing a total of 24 yards.
5. Indiana total missed or blocked extra point or field goal – Over/Under 0.5
After a blocked extra point and field goal against Virginia, Indiana hosts Ball State on Saturday in what is forecasted to be perfect weather. On the season, Logan Justus is 1 of 2 on field goals and 7 of 8 on extra points. If Justus has any diminished confidence, and I’m not saying that he does, this would be a good game for the IU staff to rebuild that. I’m sure Tom Allen would like to avoid a similar kicking funk that plagued Griffin Oakes during the 2016 season. Although Jared Smolar has handled kickoff duties, prior to the season, Tom Allen and William Inge talked about possibly using multiple place kickers. We’ve only seen Justus thus far.
6. Indiana winning margin – Over/Under 18.5
Vegas opened with Indiana as 14 point favorite. Bill Connelly at Football Study Hall has Indiana as a 19 point favorite.
If you are picking the over, you are picking Indiana to win by 19+ points. If you are picking the under, you are picking Indiana to lose or win by 18 points or fewer.
This over/under is worth 2 points so make it a good one.
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