Five Factors – Ball State

Courtesy: Herald Bulletin

Courtesy: Herald Bulletin

A more explosive IU offense returned.

Indiana dominated field position.

And the defense forced 3 turnovers.  Again.

Explosiveness

isoPPP Explosive % Yards/play
INDIANA 1.7 11% 6.3
BALL STATE 1.2 12% 5.5

Hey there, explosive Indiana offense. The Hoosiers had some big plays in this one, especially the 2 touchdown passes to Nick Westbrook. The first went for 43 yards and the second was a 79 yard touchdown on a catch and run that put Indiana up 27-0. Sandwiched in between was a Mike Majette 48 yard touchdown run. Between this year and last, Majette is showing himself as a big play back both on the ground and through the air.

Defensively, Indiana allowed a fair percentage of big plays for the 2nd week in a row. Certainly things can be improved upon, but the defense has yet to allow a play over 45 yards. Last year the Hoosiers had allowed 4 such plays through 2 games.

Efficiency

All (close) Rushing (close) Passing (close)
INDIANA 45% 36% 55%
BALL STATE 35% 40% 32%

The Hoosiers were a little sluggish on standard downs, particularly on the ground. Of the 31 standard down rushes, 18 went for 3 or fewer yards.  Of the 20 rushes on first down, 3 were explosive, but the other 17 averaged 1.5 yards per play. As a result, IU found themselves in passing down situations quite a lot. The main stat on this is leverage rate which is the percentage of total plays that are ran on standard downs. Basically, how often are you keeping yourself on track. The Hoosiers were at 64% on the day compared to 62% for Ball State. Last week Indiana was at 71%. Fortunately, Indiana was able to overcome this by being outstanding on passing downs at a 57% success rate in non-garbage time.[ref]Let’s just say things were a little sloppier during garbage time with only 1 success on 12 passing down plays.[/ref]

On the ground, Devonte Williams and Devine Redding were successful on 43% and 42% of their rushes, respectively. It is early, but Williams is establishing himself as the efficient backup with Majette providing more explosiveness.

The IU defense did a great job of limiting Ball State’s offense, particularly through the air. As stated above, Indiana allowed a few big plays, but that’s going to happen. If you take out Ball State’s 4 explosive passing plays, the Cardinals only averaged 3.4 yards per pass play.[ref]Including 2 sacks and 2 turnovers.[/ref]

The Cardinals came out averaging 5.5 yards per rush in the first quarter which obviously isn’t great. After that, Indiana clamped down and only allowed a 3.5 yards per carry average over the final 3 quarters. And that number includes big runs of 13, 23, and 11.

Field Position

Avg Starting FP
INDIANA 35
BALL STATE 20

A huge advantage for Indiana as IU averaged more than 15 yards better field position per drive. This includes 2 starts in Ball State territory compared to none for the Cardinals.   Even taking out the last Indiana drive that came off the failed onside kick, Indiana’s starting field position was their 33 yard line. Six of Ball State’s 13 drives started inside their own 20 yard line.

Finishing Drives

Scoring Opportunities Points Per Opportunity
INDIANA 7 4.3
BALL STATE 4 3.3

This week Indiana was not able to match their 8 scoring opportunities from a week ago. They ended with 7. However, IU did a much better job of converting these chances into points. The Hoosiers came away with points on 6 of the drives with only the last, time-killing drive ending with no points.

On the flip side, for the 2nd week in a row, Indiana only allowed 4 scoring opportunities. The result was 2 field goals, a touchdown, and a fumble. This area of improvement has been quite impressive for the defense.

Turnovers

TURNOVERS Turnovers Turnover Points Added
INDIANA 0 10.8
BALL STATE 3 0.0

There might be something to this takeaway concept. I’ll admit that I was skeptical the Hoosiers could improve that much after they forced 22 turnovers in 2015 to rank 43rd. Given all the defensive problems in 2015, forcing turnovers was not one of them. Fast forward to 2016 and the Hoosiers have improved. This season the defense has scored touchdowns, given the offense great field position, and even prevented almost certain points.

I must mention though, that Indiana only forced one fewer turnover last year through 2 games. While 6 turnovers seems like a lot, Indiana was on a hot pace in 2015 but still finished the season with 2 games of 0 turnovers and 5 games of just 1 turnover forced.

Billy