College football: Cameron Coffman debuts as Indiana’s starter against Ball State
September 14, 2012 11:42PM
Backup Indiana quarterback Cameron Coffman (2) looks downfield for a receiver as Massachusetts defensive lineman Charles Thompson (99) homes in during their NCAA college football game in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. Coffman replaced Tre Roberson who was injured and had to be removed from the field. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Updated: October 16, 2012 6:11AM
Ball State coach Pete Lembo would love to play Indiana every season.
Considering the Cardinals’ recent success in the series — which ends after today’s game in Bloomington — it’s no wonder.
“I would love to see some kind of agreement among the state institutions for us to play some combination of Indiana and Purdue every year,” Lembo said Tuesday. “I see Michigan State is doing that with the three MAC schools in the state of Michigan.
“I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense for us to get on a plane and go play a BCS school when we’ve got two of them here in the state, and I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense for Indiana or Purdue to cut checks to somebody in Illinois or some other state when they could work with Ball State.”
The Cardinals (1-1) have won the last two meetings between the schools, including last season’s opener in Lembo’s first game as Ball State head coach.
It was also Kevin Wilson’s debut for Indiana. And like last season’s game, the Hoosiers will have a quarterback making his first major college start, as junior college transfer Cameron Coffman steps in for injured Tre Roberson.
At least the Hoosiers (2-0) will have a better grasp of Ball State’s defense this time around.
“You know, a year ago we went into this game watching a lot of the Elon film, where the staff was coming from, a little bit of the Ball State to gauge the personnel,” assistant offensive coordinatoir Kevin Johns said. “But I think this defense that we’re looking at is as fast and as athletic as a group as we’ve seen to this point. This is going to be our biggest challenge up to this point.
“Schematically I don’t think they changed a ton from a year ago. They’re a year older, a year stronger, it will be a great challenge.”
Meanwhile, Lembo sees a much better defense from the Hoosiers than a year ago.
“I’m impressed with what I’ve seen on film this year, especially compared to what we saw last year,” Lembo said. “(They’re) much more aggressive than they were last year.”
As for Ball State’s defense, Ohio State transfer Jonathan Newsome will start at defensive end in his first game for the Cardinals. Ball State hasn’t registered a sack this season while opposing quarterbacks have completed 61.5 percent of their passes this season for 558 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions.
Key player: Indiana QB Cameron Coffman. Not to jinx the junior college transfer — after all, last week’s key player, QB Tre Roberson, suffered a season-ending broken leg — but the pressure will be on Coffman in his first start. He put up good numbers last week after replacing Roberson, but Ball State is a much better team than UMass.
Ball State will win if: The Cardinals control the game with their running game. Ball State ran the ball 46 times for 210 yards in last season’s 27-20 win over Indiana, and held the ball 36 minutes and 33 seconds. A similar effort would put a damper on IU’s final nonconference home game of the season.
Indiana will win if: The Hoosiers keep up the pressure. IU has eight sacks already after tallying 18 all of last season. Put enough pressure on Ball State QB Keith Wenning and the Hoosiers can spoil the Cardinals’ upset bid.
Prediction: Indiana 24,
Ball State 20