#13 Indiana State FCS Football 2019 Preview

Indiana State Sycamores
Overall Rank: #13
#4 Missouri Valley
 Indiana State Logo
Indiana State was one of the best stories in all of football last year. During Coach Curt Mallory’s first season in 2017, the Sycamores went 0-11. Last year they turned it around and went 7-4 and were squarely on the playoff bubble. While it was disappointing to miss out on the playoffs, Indiana State won their last five games and head into 2018 with a lot of positive momentum.
2018 Record: 7-4, 5-3
2018 Postseason: None
Coach: Curt Mallory (7-15 at Indiana State, 7-15 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Michael Switzer
Defensive Coordinator: Brad Wilson
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ryan Boyle, QB, 610 yards
Passing: Ryan Boyle, QB, 1,627 yards
Receiving: Dante Hendrix, WR, 681 yards
Tackles: Jonas Griffith, LB, 132
Sacks: Jonas Griffith, LB, 3.5
Interceptions: 3 tied with 1
Other Key Returnees: RB Titus McCoy, WR Dante Jones, WR Dakota Caton, OL Wyatt Wozniak, DB Denzel Bonner, DB Kaelub Newman, K Jerry Nunez
Key Losses: RB Ja’Quan Keys, LB Katrell Moss, DB Jamal Jones, DB Rondell Green
With nine starters back on offense, Indiana State has high hopes of increasing on their 31.7 points per game. Quarterback Ryan Boyle transferred in from Iowa and had a superb debut campaign, throwing for 1,672 yards and 12 touchdowns and running for 610 yards and six more scores. More importantly, Boyle completed over 62 percent of his passes and was intercepted just three times. And with every receiver back who caught more than five passes last year, the efficient and effective passing game will continue. And with Boyle’s year of experience, the passing game could even be more explosive on occasion. But Coach Mallory wants to keep the ball on the ground quite a bit. Indiana State ranked 14th in the FCS with 241.5 yards per game on the ground. Ja’Quan Keys is gone after rushing for 948 yards and 13 scores, but Titus McCoy is ready for a breakout junior season and Toledo transfer Nick Sims should be a fine option as well.
The defense has room to improve after allowing over 430 yards per game last season. And there are some big holes to fill too. The biggest, at least physically, are at defensive tackle. The run defense is very important in the MVFC and it may take a little time before the Sycamores have everything working properly on the line. At linebacker Jonas Griffith returns after tallying 132 tackles last season. Senior Clayton Glasco will need to have a productive campaign in order to help replace Katrell Moss. The secondary returns two starters in Jamal Jones and Rondell Green. This is not a team that will take too many chances on defense, but they intercepted just four passes last season.
The Bottom Line:
Indiana State has a manageable non-conference schedule with a trip to Kansas and home dates against Dayton, Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Illinois. That contest against EKU will be huge with both programs having legitimate playoff hopes. The one conference opponent Indiana State does not face is North Dakota State. That should help with the win column. Games against South Dakota State and Illinois State on October 19th and October 26th could decide Indiana State’s playoff chances and their outside hopes to win a MVFC title.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 241.5 (14th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 161.3 (105, 10)
Total Offense: 402.7 (52, 6)
Scoring Offense: 31.7 (30, 4)
Rushing Defense: 197.6 (86, 7)
Pass Defense: 232.6 (88, 8)
Total Defense: 430.3 (89, 8)
Scoring Defense: 28.2 (58, 7)
Turnover Margin: 0.82 (10, 4)
Sacks: 1.64 (80, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.73 (42, 5)